The Leader in Me - Fair Isle Primary School
Fair Isle sits in a recognised area of disadvantage in Kirkcaldy, with some SIMD statistics being higher than the Fife average and indeed Scotland. We have a roll of 408 and an FME of 46%.
In August 2013 we started Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People programme, with the staff being trained first and then the children. Everyone embraced the programme fully and by June 2014 we hosted our first International Leadership day. The Leader in Me is the children’s programme which provides children with a framework to lead and manage themselves. Once taught it becomes an ongoing process of internal change which becomes part of a lifelong journey of self -reflection and personal development.
In April this year Fair Isle achieved Lighthouse status and became the first school in the UK and only one of three in Europe to achieve this internationally recognised award.
As you enter the school inspirational quotes are on display which help children to think differently about what can be achieved by making the correct personal choices Habit 1 - Be Proactive, planning with the end goal in mind, Habit 2 - Begin with the End in Mind and prioritising tasks, Habit 3 – Put first things First. These are the personal victories.
As you go round the school the corridors and classrooms are lined with displays and photographs evidencing how the Habits are an integral part of Fair Isle to increase pupil resilience and ambition.
Habits 4 and 5 (think Win, Win and Seek first to understand and then be understood) are now used to settle argument between children encouraging them to find their own solutions to the issues. .
Children now think far more about working together to get the best results, Habit 6 – Synergise. Through really listening to each other with their ears, eyes and heart, Habit 5 – Seek first to Understand and Then be Understood, the children are more able to resolve conflict situations and find a solution that suits both parties, Habit 4 - Win, Win. Habits 4 and 5 are used to settle arguments between children encouraging them to find their own solutions to the issues without always relying on the adults in school. Adults will help facilitate discussions if absolutely necessary. This changes the focus from disciplining the children to discussing with them what can be done to resolve the conflict. This helps them to self- manage and discover their own leadership within.
Finally, Habit 7 is Sharpen the Saw which teaches how important it is to look after ourselves in mind, body and soul.
The school has worked on a number of school wide goals which are linked to the 7 Habits. This year we have had a school uniform challenge to encourage all children to wear the correct uniform. This links with Habit 1 ‘be proactive’ and helps the children to make the correct choice and self-lead. By July 1st
95% of children were wearing uniform.
Getting to school on time was a second goal and this highlights the need to focus on Habit 3 (Put First Things First) to make sure that they are not distracted in the morning and end up being late for school and missing out on their education. Punctuality improved from 71% of pupils being on time to 78% by the end of the session. Children were not taking responsibility for their belongings and we had a huge with lost property. Last year we had 7 bags of lost property, this year we had 4. These goals are part of a cultural shift which involves not just the children but parents/carers too.
We have also run parent trainings in the 7 Habits and to date 17 parents have taken part. Parents also learn through their children by attending assemblies, open days and class visits in addition to when they are at home altogether.
The school has a team of Senior Leaders who are in Primary 7. They have to apply for the post and go through an interview process and not everyone is successful. Dealing with disappointment is a key life skill. From the successful Senior Leaders a Head Boy and Head Girl are elected.
Apart from the 7 Habits developing self- confidence children are given the opportunities to speak publicly. Children who have led tours of the school since embarking on the 7 Habits have been described as confident and eloquent.
The school was described by a visitor at our recent Leadership Event as vibrant, inspirational, calm and a welcoming place for children to come and be educated. We are extremely proud to be the first school in the UK and the third in Europe to achieve Lighthouse status.