For our second installment of the #DreamBig series, we’re delighted to hear from Autumn MacAulay, Head Teacher at Raigmore Primary School. She tells us how they have enabled all of their children, including Armed Forces pupils, to #DreamBig whilst at school:
“At Raigmore Primary School we recently involved our children in the development of our renewed school vision and values.
What came through loud and clear from our conversations was the importance of supporting our children to aim high, shine bright and dream big. That we must make sure to do all that we can, as a whole school community, to give our children at Raigmore Primary the best possible experiences that will stay with them beyond their primary school years. Our vision statement evolved naturally from our discussions;
‘Together we support, nurture and inspire all of our children to be their best; now and in the future!’
Alongside our vision we have our school values ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe, Honest and Kind’. Our values encourage our children to be more reflective and support them to develop essential social and relationship skills which they can take with them throughout their life journey.
At Raigmore we listen to the children (really listen!) because by listening we involve and engage them and create a sense of belonging. We have a climate that encourages the children to talk, question, listen to one another, learn from mistakes and take responsibility. Their voice matters. The children take part in daily emotional check-ins, they contribute to the planning of their learning, resolve disagreements and fallouts through restorative conversations and discuss whole school next steps. These emotional check-ins, we know can be really important for Armed Forces children in particular when they are coming up to or during a deployment or transition allowing them to open up with school staff and peers about how they might be feeling & how best to support them.
This place of belonging and being listened to is really important as it provides the security to be able to dream big. While this approach applies to and supports all of our children, it particularly benefits our Forces children. Many will attend multiple schools throughout their primary education and creating a genuine sense of belonging is key when they arrive to us at Raigmore. We want the children to feel warmly welcomed, a valued part of our community and in an environment where they can build positive relationships and be listened to. This way we hope to avoid any feelings of isolation and not ‘fitting in’ which could in turn have a real detrimental impact on their self-esteem.
We provide many creative opportunities for our children to shine. We have a large outdoor learning area where children have the chance to develop forest skills such as building camp fires, whittling wood, weaving and cooking. We also have our ukulele band with nearly 30 children. They started with little or no experience just last year. They went on to be first prize winners in their category at this year’s Inverness Music Festival. We are also very proud of our production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ this year. Can our Raigmore children do Shakespeare? Of course they can, and they did ! The children were involved in the whole production from delivering lines and singing songs to designing costumes and painting sets. One of our Forces children stole the show in the role of Prospero.
High expectations exist for our children at Raigmore to achieve academically – because we believe they can! We monitor our assessment data carefully so we are able to intervene at the right time with the right support. When Forces children are arriving to or moving on from us it is important to know and understand where they are in their learning. This allows for smooth transition, limits interruptions to their learning, avoids any gaps in learning and enables them to pursue their learning goals.
We provide additional support to our Forces children in literacy and numeracy if they need it and provide opportunities for them to share their experiences of being part of an Armed Forces family.
We visibly recognise and celebrate the achievements and successes of our children. We listen, support and nurture. We promote diversity, life skills and creativity as much as knowledge. Our Forces children come from far and wide. We are so lucky to have families from many different countries and cultures, the diversity of which enriches our school. We have enjoyed many in-school celebrations with Scottish pipe bands and Fijian singers and dancers. We value the children for who they are and believe in their potential to achieve. Inspiring them to shine their light!
Raigy Stars – Dreaming big and shining bright!