Open, honest, supportive relationships
Improving students’ relationships with teachers has important, positive and long-lasting implications for both students’ academic and social development. (Sara Rimm-Kaufman, PhD, and Lia Sandilos)
Teachers and students at Friends’ address each other using their first names. This reflects our culture where everyone is valued, respected and approachable, and sets a tone and a foundation for the development of supportive relationships throughout the school.
Throughout Morris and in Year 7, children are in the same class for all of their lessons. Teachers and students to get to know one another very closely, which helps students to feel confident to seek help or guidance on social, emotional or academic issues. Any issues or concerns relating to a student’s wellbeing identified by specialist teachers or parents can also be discussed directly with the class teacher and vice versa. These open, honest relationships also allow a restorative practice approach to behaviour management.
In the High School all students are allocated to a vertical tutor group, consisting of students from each of the four year levels. The group has a tutor who takes on a primary pastoral role for this group for the duration of their time in the High School. A similar tutor group system is used during the two years at Clemes.
In addition a range of buddy and mentor programs are put in place to support students new to the school or country to establish supportive relationships.
At Morris there is a formal process for supporting respectful behaviours. In the High school there is a formal process, documented in the High School (p 18) and Clemes (p 12) Handbooks, for due process to follow for unresolved disrespectful, innapropriate or unsafe behaviours.