Students460 pupils aged 7-11
Top character qualities developed
“Our interest in youth social action began when staff noticed that some students not only struggled to acknowledge the positive aspects of their lives but had developed a sense of materialistic entitlement for their contributions. We took inspiration from other schools (such as Wellington College’s ‘happiness curriculum’) as well as the Action for Happiness organisation then researched and tested theories on looking at life positively. The result was ‘Steps to Awesomeness’, which celebrates appreciation, positivity, kindness, setting goals, courage, participation, exercise and community service. Our children work through the steps at bronze, silver and gold levels. As part of the gold level, children can become “Guardian Angels” which involves Year 6’s looking after younger pupils in the playground and helping them with their reading. Once a student receives an award they can proudly wear an “Awesome” badge on their uniform.
The project quickly picked up momentum and now you see children wearing their badges with pride and helping each other to achieve. We’ve tried hard with these badges not to create an alternative system of material reward (the very thing we were seeking to combat!) but it’s clear that the work is making the children feel good as well as look good. Reflection is an essential part of the programme and students must record their achievements and feelings.
Because our children are primary age, we’ve focused on bringing the community in to us. Local parish church members come in to help with reading and we hold tea parties at the school for people in our community. However, our choir also performs at the parish lunchtime concert series on a regular basis and sings at retirement homes at Christmas – music has proved a valuable and accessible tool with which to engage with community members.
We are in the midst of a radical change that includes embedding youth social action in the curriculum, for example our Heroes project which culminated in the Pride of All Saints Awards. We believe it’s really important for schools to recognise the value of social action and character education alongside academic
achievement.” – Alison Wyld
Find out more about what we do through our website.
All Saints Junior School is part of Whole Education. Find out more about how your school can get involved.
“When you enter the school, one has a feeling of well-being. The tea-party was a delightful experience. It was such a pleasure to see the children enjoying serving and looking after their guests. Older children showed great care towards the younger ones and consideration for everyone.”
– A guest from a community Tea party