Tried and Tested Ways to Create a Positive School Ethos and Culture
an be is a very stressful industry to work in. However for the many teachers who would not consider working anywhere else there are ways to make the job much less stressful. Creating a positive school ethos and atmosphere of your school, nursery, college can have a huge impact on staff wellbeing, retention and job satisfaction. Whilst there are many factors that influence this all staff and leaders can work towards this.
A Positive culture can be described as:
- Inspiration and happiness.
- A Place where people like coming to work
- A place where people show respect for each other
- A place where people feel supported and listened
- Students and families contribute – It is a school community, developing positive relationships with parents and carers can really help reduce areas of potential conflict.
Issues you may need to overcome to develop a positive ethos.
- External factors, such as home life, political input
- Low staff buy in to change
- Entrenched culture and systems
How can you impact school culture
- Lay out a vision for people to follow this could tie in with the school’s mission statement.
- Engagement and communication with colleagues. Encourage people to talk to you about problems. Be ready to support but not take over.
- Model positive attitude at all times.
- Develop respect by practicing what you preach Show you empathise with any issues identified and foster discussion about solutions.
- Challenge poor practice through good communication in a supportive non-judgemental way.
- Maintain a positive attitude at all times – I know I have repeated myself but this really is key.
Advanced Strategies For Creating a Positive School Ethos:
- Meeting in small groups to discuss ethos and current school climate.
- Don’t do questionnaires, they are rarely engaged with meaningfully open to interpretation of questions and don’t reveal people’s underlying beliefs (which what you need to know to change culture)
- Appreciation board/postcards. Praising good practice in an informal way to boost self esteem and wellbeing of staff
- Debriefing after every incident for staff, supportive and show support is available.
Fostering a Positive School Ethos: 6 Tried and True Strategies for UK Schools
Creating a nurturing school environment where students can thrive requires establishing a positive ethos. UK schools have used various proven methods over the years to develop a supportive culture. This section outlines key strategies for schools to build a positive ethos that benefits students, teachers, and the entire school community.
Promote Core Values
- Work with staff, students, and parents to define core values like respect, responsibility, compassion.
- Reinforce these values in policies, assemblies, lessons, signage.
- Recognise students who demonstrate the values.
- Create opportunities for staff and students to work together on projects, clubs, and in class.
- Display and celebrate examples of teamwork and group achievements.
- Make praise, rewards, and recognition of accomplishments commonplace.
- Highlight student achievements in assemblies, prize givings, newsletters.
Involve the School Community
- Consult students, staff, parents, and governors regularly for input.
- Act on feedback to improve school life.
Empower Student Voice
- Facilitate student councils, leadership roles, surveys, and open door policies.
- Give students agency to shape school life.
- Reinforce respect and celebration of diversity in messages and policies.
- Implement anti-bullying and discrimination initiatives.
Creating an inclusive, collaborative, and supportive environment allows students to feel safe, valued, and empowered – key ingredients for a positive ethos. By implementing such strategies, schools can help students thrive and reach their full potential.
How is your school culture? Speak to leadership about reviewing positive school ethos strategies.