The Friary Ethic

We are very much a school that talks and listens with our students. At times every teacher needs to tell, even direct, but there are also plenty occasions when they need to pin back their ears and take on board a lesson from their students too.

Not so long ago we sat down with our students and talked about what priorities should be central to our school. We thought about what qualities, skills, attitudes and foci we shared a duty to build in ourselves and to help foster within one another.

This journey took us to our FRIARY Ethic:

F is for… Friendship
R is for… Responsibility
I is for… Independence
A is for… Aspiration
R is for… Resilience
Y is for… You

We understood the value of friendship. The availability of others to turn to, to laugh with, and to thrive with. We pictured the dangers that loneliness can bring and how the need to talk, learn and grow together was critical in our personal growth. We saw we had a duty to offer warm companionship to others whether it be in school, in our locale, or online.

We recognised that we have a responsibility for others – our classmates, our colleagues, our peers, our families and our community. We also saw a responsibility to ourselves so that we make sure our lives are full, fruitful, and lived to the maximum. The requirement to give our best, to fulfil our potential, and to enable others to do the same, had to be integral.

We realised we needed to have the strength to be independent when those around us could not be there to carry us. This might be in our study, our social time, when facing a challenge, or raising a victory. We appreciated that at times in life we are on our own, but that this is not a time to fear, but more a time to be strong and deliver.

We visualized our aspirations – our hopes, our dreams and our goals – and the steps we would need to take to achieve them. We saw the difference between wild dreams and focused intentions and identified that we could reach the former if we plotted the steps of the latter. We have watched many of our peers achieve great things and we knew we had the same opportunities in school.

We gritted our teeth as we reflected on the need for resilience – the readiness to not give up, to soldier on, and to keep going even when that going got tough. We discussed the challenges of life – whether academic, social or personal – and we saw there was always a way if we could make sure we kept putting one foot in front of the other and bought into the support around us.

Finally, we looked at ourselves and saw that ‘You’ were important. Firstly, the ‘You’ being the person in the mirror and the need to take care of oneself, to negotiate the tribulations of life, to look after our own well-being, and to value the support around us. Secondly, the ‘You’ as in everyone else: the teacher looking to open minds, fellow students offering challenge or support whilst on the same lap of life, and the families at home who were there at the start and end of each day.

There are certain principles and values we all need to build within our lives to give us the character, the nature, and the values, to grow into adulthood. The Friary Ethic helps to establish that inner morality and to ensure that the foundations are in place for when our students grow into the workplace, wider society, and even parenthood, where they will need to instill that moral compass into their own children as the cycle begins again.

You will see our FRIARY Ethic written large across our buildings, and in our assemblies, our tutor times, our lessons, and our extra-curricular clubs. However, most importantly we want you to see it in our students, because actions always speak louder than words, and success should be judged by what is shown rather than the page of a website.

This is the Ethic we seek to maintain in The Friary and we hope it is one that resonates with you as a child, parent, colleague or wider community member.

Matt Allman