The importance of positive staff relationships

The quality of the relationships between staff in school impacts on their ability to work together effectively and to model positive relationships to the children. The relationship between the class teacher, teaching assistant and support workers in their class need to be harmonious to ensure they are able to work together effectively. The relationship between staff working in the same

class needs to incorporate open and honest communication along with mutual respect and appreciation. This can be demonstrated in front of the children so they are able to experience the impact of relating to other people in this way. When children have experienced living with disharmony and conflict they are more receptive to noticing this in other relationships.

If the relationship between staff is one of mistrust, resentment and animosity then this may be witnessed by the children through verbal and non-verbal interactions. When a child feels there is conflict between staff they may become preoccupied with trying to resolve this, rather than engaging with their learning. This may occur if a child is familiar with playing the role of peace maker and negotiator at home. Some children are very tuned in to relationships and will recognize atmospheres and behaviours between staff that can make them worried and anxious. Children need school to be a haven where they feel safe and protected and any negative feelings between staff and a difficult atmosphere will prevent this from happening. There are opportunities to show children how to manage feelings and conflict between people through the relationships between all staff across the school.

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