“The family atmosphere is lovely and the importance the school places on respect for each other is lovely to see.”
“The school is caring, friendly, supportive, welcoming, happy and exciting.”
“They are like family and all look out for each other.”
Parents' Questionnaire comments
At Balshaw Lane, our ethos is to have a safe, happy and supportive environment which enables children to thrive and become confident, rounded individuals. Relationships are absolutely key to this: we have strong, respectful relationships between adults and children, and also between adults. These relationships foster confidence, trust and respect. Our children thus learn to voice their opinion, challenge and express their feelings in the knowledge that they will be supported.
Our ethos is underpinned by our School Vision and Values.
At Balshaw Lane, governors and staff work together to have a clear school vision to which we are all dedicated.
Although simple in wording, our vision has been discussed and honed over the years so that we have clarity in our purpose as a school.
Our School Vision
To enable each child to fulfil their potential
academically, creatively, emotionally, physically and spiritually
in a safe, happy and supportive environment.
In recent years, we have amended our focus values because staff identified some aspects which the children need support with:
Appreciation: for the smaller things in life; stopping to notice; finding beauty around us; countering the consumer culture.
Mindfulness: taking time to pause; stopping to look instead of rushing; looking after our mental health.
Aspiration: building on our previous work from Enterprise Weeks; encouraging possibilities for future work; not limiting ourselves. In our lessons, we will aim to link the learning to how it could be used in future jobs so that the children see its purpose.
We focus on a value each month which is explored through assemblies and class discussion. The monthly value may be linked to other national events or multi-cultural festivals.
Our School Values
Kindness (inc Friendship)
Courage (to do the right thing)
Honesty (inc Trust)
Mindfulness (self confidence)
British Values, as defined by the government, are democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. At Balshaw Lane, we believe strongly that our pupils’ understanding of these values will enable them to participate fully in modern, multi-cultural Britain. We want our children to live confidently and work alongside other people from different backgrounds, faiths and/or cultures.
How we promote it
- Our pupils participate in voting for the annual School Council election
- Our pupils have the opportunity to volunteer for roles such as school prefect, PAL (play leader) and digital champions.
- The children participate in charity fundraising events, often suggesting them themselves eg carol singing for Derian House, crocheting for Marie Curie.
- Democracy is also promoted through daily decision making, debate and RSE lessons.
- National events linked to democracy are explained and discussed in assemblies. In recent years, these have included the General Election, Scottish referendum, Brexit referendum, local elections and the US election.
- The UK Schools Parliament Week has been marked, using the resources provided. The House of Commons loan box has been used to create a role play with Speaker of the house and opposing MPs. This led to lively and engaging debate.
- Our local MP Lindsay Hoyle has visited the school for Q&A sessions.
- Pupils are taught about the freedom of speech and that people can have differing opinions.
The rule of law
- Our behaviour policy demands high expectations of pupil conduct. At the start of each year, these expectations are discussed in classes and interpreted in positively-worded class rules. In this way, the children have ownership of the shared expectations.
- Through our RSHE lessons, our pupils are taught how to earn trust and respect and are supported to develop a strong sense of morality; knowing right from wrong and doing the right thing even when it’s difficult. Our 1Decision scheme helps the children to focus on making the right choice.
- We have close links with our local police PCSO who visits school. The younger children meet police officers through their ‘People who help us’ work, including parents who are in the police.
- The children learn about laws which keep us safe through road safety and bikeability.
- We have strong relationships at Balshaw Lane, which mean that the children feel confident to express themselves and share their opinions in a respectful way.
- Through our school values and RSHE lessons, children are taught about personal responsibility , choices, ambition and aspiration. They are encouraged to follow their personal interests in art, sport etc.
- The children are taught how to keep themselves safe, including online. This is done through computing lessons, online safety days, assemblies and via work with external agencies eg police, NSPCC.
- Mutual respect is an expectation of all and is promoted through daily life at our school.
- At Balshaw Lane, we have strong, respectful relationships between adults and children and between children. This was commented on by Ofsted at our last inspection. There is an expectation that we listen to each other and value each other’s opinion.
- The children are taught, via assemblies and RSHE lessons, how to actively listen to each other, show interest and support each other.
- The children are taught the skills of working together and getting along. We use our Learning Powers to support this work as they help the children to express how they work.
- The children gain awareness through learning during Black History Month, International Women’s Day and work about ‘different families, same love’.
- Stereotypes are challenged and explanations are used as an educational opportunity. The staff received Stonewall training to support this work.
Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
- Pupils learn about a range of faiths and beliefs and how this understanding enriches their life experiences. Similarities are highlighted rather than differences.
- High behavioural expectations mean that any comments, which show a lack of understanding or potential prejudice, are tackled, for example if between children or during class discussion.
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs is promoted through the RE curriculum. Pupils learn about different religions, places of worship and festivals.
- Special assemblies mark different festivals eg Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Holi.
- Visitors broaden the children’s awareness and understanding eg local clergy, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu visitors. Visits are arranged to different places of worship: local church, mosque and Manchester Jewish museum.
Our School Motto
In recent years, the children have been inspired by Greta Thunberg's climate change protests.
The upper KS2 classes participated in climate change protests at Chorley Town Hall, engaging with local councillors, journalists and local MP Lindsay Hoyle.
Following on from this, we amended our school motto to 'Be the Change' to foster the feeling of individual passion and responsibility for our world.
We have a school song called 'Be the Change' which we regularly sing as it encapsulates this passion to 'make a difference'.
Our school 'Green Team' is building on our Eco Silver Award and working towards the Green Flag Award.
'Be the Change' also links with changing how we view ourselves and aspiration.
Our Learning Powers
Several years ago, the children sometimes struggled to verbalise how they needed to work.
We decided to help them make these skills more explicit.
The Year 5 & 6 children designed characters to represent 'Learning Powers'.
These are now used during lessons and discussed explicitly as part of ongoing work.
The Learning Powers are painted in the hall and on display in every classroom.