The culture of the school that I work in is what gets me up in the morning. I work in a school where the positivity, friendliness and respect of all staff, from the lunchtime supervisors to the headmaster, is tangible. For me, this makes my school a brilliant place to work and, I hope, be educated in.
I am not saying that the culture is the most important thing in a school, but it feeds ultimately into how the children feel when they are in our care and how the parents feel that they can let their guards down, be honest and have a strong relationship with us. One of my lecturers during my PGCE told us that the fundamental thing children want is to feel appreciated and liked. This is a comment that has become important in my pedagogy, and I absolutely believe that as a school we do this through our culture and values.
Our values are at the heart of everything we do. I know that if I need to talk to anyone from raising a concern to sharing a successful lesson, I will be listened to and supported by whomever I talk to – this again feeds into having a positive culture.
The positive culture is carried forward into staff development; our appraisal system is fair and constructive. I have never been in work moderation meetings that are so positive and where the staff are genuinely excited to look at different children’s work -even at 6pm on a Monday night.
We support and respect each other: this enables us to pull together when the pressure is on and to know that if you are having a bad day there is always someone who will listen to you. My colleagues are also constantly inspiring me – staffroom chats inevitably end in idea and experience sharing. I constantly feel driven to do better and take risks with my teaching in such a supportive environment.
I feel so lucky to work in such a vibrant and supportive culture and genuinely love going to work every day.
Nicola Goscomb is a primary teacher at Denmead School in Middlesex