Our task is to enable our children and pupils to develop knowledge and values as set out in the curriculum. Everyone who provides schooling in Sweden must comply with the same steering documents.
The values that preschools, schools and recreation centres are responsible for every child and pupil developing are described in the Education Act and the curriculums Lpfö 98 and Lgr 11. All the activities in our preschools and schools must reflect these values.
• The inviolability of human life
• Individual freedom and integrity
• The equal value of all people
• Equality between women and men
• Solidarity with the weak and vulnerable
We have a common interpretation of this task across the whole of Vittra and a common picture of the culture we need to build and maintain in order to achieve our vision of conscious and responsible citizens. We call this the Vittra culture.
Our work on the culture in our preschools and schools is based on our three core values: inclusive, clear and responsible. It is by being inclusive, clear and responsible that we build a strong community in which our children and pupils can feel secure and eager to learn. The task of building up and maintaining a good culture needs to be constantly ongoing, strongly prioritised, carefully planned and closely monitored. At Vittra we therefore also have shared methods and activities to support this process in the form of a particular attitude, a code of conduct, a Start-up period and a daily assembly. At Vittra we have a clear system for our work, based on our division of the school year into six periods. After each period, we assess our operation and the psychosocial working environment in order to make targeted interventions if required.
Plan to combat discrimination and degrading treatment
Under our legal obligations, we draw up a plan to combat discrimination and degrading treatment at every unit and for every operation (preschool, preschool class, compulsory school and recreation centre). The plan includes an assessment of the previous year’s actions, and a section that focuses on promotion, prevention and counteraction. The plan also clearly sets out what we do if an incident occurs. We draw up the plan at the beginning of the calendar year, so there is a plan in place when the children start in August. We begin the school year in August by surveying our learning environment, both physical and psychosocial, in order to prevent offensive behaviour and harassment and plan the promotional activities for the year. Every Vittra unit publishes its plan on its website.
Our core values lay the foundation for the culture and the attitude that runs through all our preschools and schools. The way that the core values are incorporated into everyday life, in the form of a shared attitude, must be discussed and defined at each individual unit and in each group during the Start-up period. Every member of staff needs to fill our shared values with meaning and, in dialogue with colleagues, clarify what is expected from everyone. The children and pupils then need to have the same opportunity. This is all written down as “Our shared attitude”, with the three core values as headings.
Attitude is discussed and followed up continuously in the lessons and in all activities throughout the year. Every day and/or week, any incidents that occur are assessed according to our shared attitude. This shared attitude should also include situations online. By constantly highlighting inclusive, clear and responsible actions, we boost the culture we wish to achieve.
Code of conduct
The headteacher is responsible for ensuring that the school draws up a code of conduct that is then followed up every year in December. This is done with the participation of teachers and other staff, plus representatives of the pupils and their parents/guardians. The code of conduct then applies for the whole calendar year until the next December, when it is followed up as part of the work on the annual plan to combat discrimination and degrading treatment. The code of conduct reflects the individual needs of each school.
The code of conduct applies to everyone at the school. It may, for example, contain school rules on clothing, such as outerwear, to ensure a pleasant indoor study environment. Other rules might relate to issues that affect class concentration, such as what to do if you arrive late.
The code of conduct is made available to everyone at the school, for example on the website, in the Vittra book, in tutor rooms and in the cloakroom.
Like attitude, the code of conduct is followed up continuously in the lessons and in all activities throughout the year. Any breach in the code of conduct must be dealt with and not ignored. The aim of the conversations that take place and the measures that are taken is to give the pupil the support they need to change their behaviour and follow the agreed school rules.
Here at Vittra we divide the school year into six periods. The first of these, the Start-up period, is shorter than the next five, lasting around four weeks. At preschool we sometimes have two Start-up periods per year, according to need. The preschool’s Start-up period is also sometimes longer than four weeks. The Start-up period looks like any other in terms of timetable and teaching, but in addition it has a specific purpose that can be split into four parts.
The purpose of the Start-up period is to:
• Culture: Lay the foundation for the culture that we want in the preschool/school.
• Structure and procedures: Create clarity with regard to our structures and procedures.
• Current situation: Gain a clear overall picture of each child/pupil’s current situation ahead of the development review.
• Communication with the home: Lay the foundation for continued good collaboration and communication with parents and guardians.
During the Start-up period, we focus on pastoral care in the tutor group and then in the work team, in order to finally build a good culture throughout the preschool/school. We work on the culture in various constellations as a natural part of the teaching in all the timetabled subjects. The Start-up period is also when we carry out all the development reviews and the subject reviews.
The purpose of the daily assembly is to create a sense of community and a good school culture, to take time to plan the week and to bring up matters relating to the knowledge requirements. During the assembly, there is also time for discussions and exercises linked to attitude and the code of conduct.
The assembly gives the children and pupils a clear structure and a comforting introduction to the day. As in other lessons, the assembly addresses current events, thoughts and questions from the individual, the group and the wider world. Many incidents of harassment and bullying take place on social media and outside school, which is why it is important that we handle and deal with these incidents immediately, and the assembly can provide an ideal forum for this.
During the assembly, we practise permissive and exploratory dialogue, and methods for preventing conflicts and dealing with them when they do occur. We raise awareness of personal values and develop the children’s and pupils’ communication skills and the other skills necessary for handling relationships and groups.
The assemblies in the school should have a direct link with the core content of the syllabuses in Lgr 11 and chapters 1 and 2 of that curriculum. In preschools and recreation centres, the timing and scope of the assembly is determined by local needs.