We will encourage all members of the school to have the power and aspiration to seek truth, knowledge and understanding by acquiring skills to think independently in order to take responsibility for their own learning. This will enable members of the school to become successful, adaptable learners, who will become responsible, caring, moral citizens able to make positive contributions to the local and global community.
What this means in practice
Students in lessons will take part in a variety of learning activities that will reinforce that aspect of the mission statement which talks about seeking truth, knowledge and understanding, independent thinking and students’ responsibility for their own learning. Across the curriculum we challenge students to develop their own learning in a positive, structured way. For example, in most areas of the curriculum we encourage students to develop problem solving skills, including the need for perseverance to continue to find answers to difficult problems.
Research projects are very much part of thinking independently. Students are encouraged to use a variety of different sources to come to a conclusion. Sources may include traditional paper resources such as books, the use of which we very much encourage. We endeavour to develop digital literacy so that the students can use ICT in an effective way to carry out research and draw conclusions. We embrace the use of new technologies in lessons such as iPads and Smartphones to encourage more spontaneous research into a topic.
All of this is reinforced outside the classroom. Extra-curricular clubs like the STEM Club will encourage students to think in practical ways to solve problems. In many subjects, homework projects are given with guidance so that students can organise themselves to carry out research and write up the project. Thus independence is very much encouraged.
The school has always promoted what is now being called fundamental British values in encouraging students to become responsible, caring, moral citizens. The school promotes democracy through discussion and debate in subjects such as history, RSD and English. In addition, each tutor group elects Year Council representatives who in turn feed into the whole school Student Council. Discussions at Council meetings include aspects of our new build, lunch times, transition arrangements and staff feedback to students.
The rule of law is at the heart of our ethos as a school so that students know the differences between right and wrong. Our Behaviour for Learning code, with its stepped consequences, reinforces the rule of law. The assembly programme reinforces the school ethos as students engage in the theme of the week in both year group and tutor group assemblies. Class discussions and debates across the curriculum reinforce the importance of justice.
The school promotes individual liberty, thus allowing students the freedom to choose, again encouraging them to choose what is right. The importance of liberty as against slavery is promoted in subjects as English, history, RSD and geography. Students are, however, also encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, as well as taking responsibility for organising fund raising events. Helping in the community is also encouraged through the Student Council and in the past, the enrichment programme.
The mutual respect for those with different beliefs is encouraged. In line with the 1988 Education Reform Act, school assemblies (or acts of worship) are in the main Christian, but tolerance is shown to those with different beliefs. Religious Studies also has a strong Christian basis, but the study of other faiths also takes place so that students understand the basis of belief of different religions and how these beliefs affect people’s lifestyles. Awareness of different cultures comes through strongly across the curriculum in subjects such as performing arts, art and design, languages, geography and English Literature. In addition we seek to celebrate and encourage student individuality and to support anyone in our community who may feel part of a minority group, be that due to race, religion or sexuality.
All of these values are promoted outside of the classroom. Our involvement with Team Kenya is reinforced throughout the school year in assemblies and lessons, and we now have had students who have been to visit and work with the students of Arina Primary School. We have strong links with a school in China, and we regularly receive parties of Chinese children, and we have taken parties of Sixth Formers across to China to visit the school.