Athena School caters for secondary age pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
The purpose of the Athena School is to engage with our pupils in the most effective way possible in order that they can learn how to behave appropriately in learning and social situations.
All members of staff (learning support staff, office staff, kitchen staff, caretakers and cleaners) must understand their role in achieving this aim.
Teachers at Athena School are accountable for the learning and progress that pupils make. All other staff are under the supervision and direction of teachers and line managers. All members of staff are accountable to the senior leadership team. (Details of each member of staff’s responsibility will be set out in individual job descriptions which sit within this framework.)
Our teaching and learning policy, behaviour management policy and SEN policy set out the detailed expectations of all staff but the following essential features underpin all these policies.
Everything that staff do within the school is related to the needs of the pupils. All staff need to be pupil focused, open, honest, and positive and have high expectations of pupils’ potential.
We accept and understand that what pupils present is only the tip of an emotional iceberg and they each have a history which we cannot understand without communication and discussion. It is only through this discussion and detailed understanding of their motivation that we can begin to support positive change in our pupils. We understand that early childhood development underpins personal and social development and that for most of our pupils this has been fractured, missing or in some cases abusive. It is our purpose to repair, replace and move forward as much as possible with all pupils.
We do not accept behaviour cannot change. We do understand that every behaviour has a meaning. Our planning for pupils in school needs to at this deeply personal level. This has to take into account individual motivators.
We embrace the concept of a hierarchy of need; learning can only take place when these are met. In planning for progression we all understand that we build on previous learning and pupil interests.
All of our success will hinge on the effective relationships between adults and pupils. We are effective when we understand that we need to be empathetic, forgiving, appropriately challenging and driven by a generosity of spirit. By doing this we generate trust. All staff adopt a professional approach in which they are willing to suspend the desire to have their own needs met in the interest of meeting the needs of our pupils. We are consistent, insistent and persistent in all our interactions with pupils. The learning environment must be stimulating engaging, challenging, relevant and immersive. This will insure that children can learn to develop personally, socially and emotionally.
We recognise that chaotic confrontational incidents provide us with unique opportunities to engage with pupils on a psychodynamic level to help them to reframe and internalize appropriate strategies to get their needs met.