Building a Strong Foundation: 7 Practical Approaches for a Successful Year

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Kevin Rossall
Deputy Head Teacher (Wellbeing) and Whole School Designated Safeguarding Lead

Over the summer, we hope that all our students and families had the opportunity to recharge their batteries, spend quality time with loved ones, explore new places, and pursue personal interests. It is essential to take a break from the rigours of academic life to ensure that we nurture our overall well-being. We trust that the summer break has provided a time of recuperation, enabling everyone to return with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

As we start the new academic year, we aim to set the tone for success, not only academically but also in terms of personal and social well-being. With this in mind, we have identified seven practical approaches that will help us begin the year on the right note, aligning with the core Dulwich Values of Kindness, Open-mindedness, Resilience, Confidence, Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility. Let's explore these together:

DCB values displaying on stairs

Kindness: Engage in Random Acts of Kindness

Start the year in the right way, as active community members as we encourage everyone to perform small acts of kindness each day, such as helping a classmate, showing empathy towards others, or expressing gratitude. These gestures can have a significant impact on fostering a positive and supportive community.


Open-mindedness: Embrace Diversity and New Perspectives

It is essential to create opportunities for students to learn about and discuss different cultures, beliefs, and perspectives, maybe based on your experiences over the summer break! We encourage respectful discussions, engage in cultural exchanges, and celebrate the richness of our diverse community.


Resilience: Set Goals and Overcome Challenges

We hope to guide students in setting realistic SMART goals for the academic year. Encouraging them to persevere and develop resilience when faced with obstacles. It is essential for success to learn to recover from setbacks and seek opportunities for growth and learning.


Confidence: Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small Acts of Kindness

Recognise and celebrate achievements (as we will in the school community), both academic and non-academically, all of which are to boost students' confidence. We hope to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones, take on new challenges, and embrace a growth mindset.


Integrity: Foster a Culture of Honesty and Integrity 

Promote academic honesty, emphasizing the importance of ethical behaviour, citing sources, and avoiding plagiarism. We always encourage students to demonstrate integrity in their interactions and decision-making especially amongst the examination year groups but also as part of our value system.


Respect: Embrace Respectful Communication and Active Listening

Try to recognise the value of respectful communication, including active listening and constructive feedback. We encourage you to appreciate diverse perspectives and engage in open and honest dialogue.


Responsibility: Cultivate a Sense of Responsibility

We urge students to take ownership of their learning and actions, from day 1 this year. Hit the ground running. Aside from academics also try to be responsible citizens, promoting sustainability, community service, and ethical behaviour both within and beyond the school.


With these practical approaches in mind, we are confident that the new academic year will be a successful one, filled with growth, learning, and positive experiences. Together, let us create an environment where students thrive academically and personally, living by the values that define us as a community.