“Free to be ME” is our school motto, and it is perfect for BPS in my humble opinion. It serves as our guiding ambition for how we want our children, staff, parents – everyone – to feel as part of our community. It celebrates everyone as an individual, celebrates difference and reminds us that diversity makes the world exciting and interesting.  Knowing that our children leave BPS with this knowledge and belief as a central pillar of their character, makes us very, very proud. 

Of course, you would expect me to feel this way, so in the spirit of diversity, I would like to share the opinions of other people much more important than me – the children! We welcomed a team from United Learning this week as part of a group-wide study into behaviour in schools and staff wellbeing. We were asked to participate as BPS ranks right at the top in positivity surveys of these areas across the whole group… something we are also very proud of! A selection of children were interviewed as part of this study and their responses were very special.  

The children from all year groups spoke with unanimous affection about their school, their teachers and each other. They talked about a school where mistakes are considered a part of life and people are treated fairly and with kindness. They talked about our stepped boundaries for managing behaviour and were positive about how this works and how it is tailored for each different situation. They told the interviewers how they feel “Free to be ME” but most heart-warmingly, they were able to express the understanding and empathy that everyone is different, that everyone needs different support sometimes, that people react and feel differently to each other – and that was OK. I find it quite remarkable that children so young can recognise this, but our children go even further; they accept, tolerate and support it. That is different! 

Our children, our staff and our school are not perfect (sorry if that comes as a shock!) and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are human and we get things wrong.  But at BPS we know that we learn by overcoming difficulties, managing challenges and resolving conflicts. These can be frustrating at times, but they are very necessary learning opportunities. They promote understanding and acceptance. They prepare our children to make, and be, the difference in the world!