Principal’s Blog – Principle 1: Sweat the small stuff

In the first of the series examining our 15 King’s Bolton principles, we examine ‘sweat the small stuff’. Before half term, we had four visitors to our site, three candidates for the Site Manager role and the Head of Maths at Little Lever. Although we only had 25% of the students in school today each person asked the same question. How do you get the students to behave like this?

The answer is relatively straightforward to explain – at King’s we ‘sweat the small stuff’. We pay attention to the tiny details because we know what impact they might have.

Take for example the tie. Any fictional state school on TV (Grange Hill, Ackley Bridge, Waterloo Road etc) will be rife with poorly done ties. I have often wondered about the effectiveness of the schooling these fictional students receive. Is there a direct correlation between the quality of tie and the quality of education? Maybe and maybe not? So why at King’s do we care about the tie?

The answer lies in what message would we be sending to our students by not challenging these small details. We want our students to strive for excellence in all they do, be that academically, extracurricularly and even in their appearance. We know that when they go for their first job interviews these small details might be the difference between securing a job or not. It shows that we care deeply about them and their futures. 

Although the answer was straightforward the application is far from it and requires a high level of attention to detail from all staff. It means from the moment staff enter the building to the moment they go home they need to be alert. When challenging the students it would be very easy to sound petty and damage relationships. However, by remaining respectful, narrating the why and being consistent we know the students will largely respond positively.

It takes a mammoth amount of effort from all of us to create and maintain the King’s culture, sometimes we are too close to see how impressive it is and it takes an outsider to remind us. So, we will keep sweating the small stuff – it’ll be more than worth it in the end.