What happens when mistakes are made?
The phone rings. It’s the school. It seems your child has got themselves into a spot of trouble. Chances are, the first thing you want to know is how the school plans to deal with it. For some of parents on the Board, that dreaded phone call is a familiar experience.
The Board is reviewing policies relating to student behaviour and management of that behaviour. Policies can sound like one giant ‘yawn’ yet the process is far from boring. Our school needs policies to deal with a wide variety of circumstances. Policies have a real impact on the lives of our students, their families and the staff at our school.
It would be easy to create policies that simply stipulate rules and the consequences if those rules are broken. However the school’s mission is not simply to ensure students behave. Our school plays a significant role in supporting the development of young humans in preparation for them to contribute to our society as adults.
When a student makes poor choices, consequences certainly form a part of the discussion, however our policies need to be designed to go beyond a simplistic ‘punishment to match the behaviour’ approach.
Policies need to be designed so that attempts are made to understand what is going on in the life of a student, determine what support is needed to help them manage their challenges in more constructive ways, and what appropriate consequences should apply that will help that young person learn from their mistake so they make better choices next time.
It is a complex and challenging task that makes for interesting conversations, including questions like “How do we define fairness?” “What is justice?” and “How can we be consistent while still being flexible enough to consider individual circumstances?”
Policy discussions might sound boring, yet they are interesting, thought-provoking conversations that emphasise just how vital careful policy design is to creating a safe learning environment that supports our young people to grow into their potential.
If you are interested in learning more about the St Mary’s Board, please contact Margaret Neville (firstname.lastname@example.org 07 4044 4207) at the College Office and she will help arrange a time for you to have a chat with one of our friendly Board members.
SMCC Board Member