School Policy Statements
All schools are encouraged to set out their aims and objectives; these are sometimes expressed in a series of broad statements, sometimes encapsulated in a ‘mission statement’.
While a school may set out its aims in these broad terms, it is necessary to amplify them in more precise statements of objectives; whole school policies are part of this translation from philosophy into action and theory into practice.
All schools, therefore, require a set of policy statements to provide, amongst other things, a frame of reference within which to operate.
In practice, there exists a set of core policies, common to all schools, which remains relatively constant e.g. Homework, Uniform, Assessment etc. Beyond the core, schools create additional policies to address their own particular needs or to meet changing circumstances e.g. Information Communication Technology, Admissions, etc.
Once established as such, statements of policy remain relatively unchanged with the passage time; although in no way should they be viewed as immutable since due account must be taken of change. The focus of attention frequently becomes the application of the policy i.e. the procedures deriving from it, which will be amended in the light of experience.
There is no such thing as a definitive ‘check list’ of policies since that would imply a status quo situation; policy creation will, therefore, be an occasional activity in the life of a school. Policy review, on the other hand, will be a regular feature.
There are various models for the creation of policy whose suitability will vary according to culture and circumstance. The particular series of processes which the school adopts leading up to the policy statement is crucial if the latter is to be understood and accepted by all those charged with its implementation. Once established as such, whole-school policies must be seen in application at all levels, guiding and shaping the life of the school and essentially, improving the quality of learning experienced by our pupils.