Our aim as a school is to foster the aptitudes and nurture the growth of each child.
We understand education to mean all that a child learns from the world of school. We believe that emotional and social well-being and growth, self-esteem and confidence are inextricably linked with academic progress.
We believe that respect for children, faith in children and an ability to see the world through their eyes should inform our teaching and our care.
If we care about children, we will wish to spot and develop a talent, notice and respond to a need, discover and resolve any unhappiness. If we evidence this care, children will feel secure and valued, and will value themselves and others. From this secure base, they will grow to relish challenge, willingly take risks and discover their strength of spirit.
Our ways of knowing about the children are carefully designed to ensure that the ‘noticing’ of talents, of difficulties, joys or concerns is very thorough and is thoroughly communicated.
From the outset, we identify those who are most able, ensure they are challenged and translate their gifts into achievements, just as we discover a child’s difficulties and take early steps to offer support. During the children’s holidays, we spend several days reviewing each child’s progress and making an individual plan for each child.
Although entry at Kindergarten is not selective and at other stages we seek only to ensure that a child will cope happily with the challenges of a strong academic curriculum, around twenty scholarships are gained to senior schools each year. That said, the same joy is felt by the staff when a child has overcome difficulties to pass any exam to senior schools as when our children gain top academic awards. It is the joy of knowing that we have met the needs, fostered the aptitudes and nurtured the growth of each child.
The curriculum throughout the school invests richly in the children’s expressive development. Through specialist teaching from the Kindergarten upwards, the children achieve outstanding results in Drama, Music, Art, Design Technology and Sport. We spot and nurture all such talent for children to become their best selves in the fullest sense and because the arts do so much to foster our children’s growth.
The children’s social and emotional growth is a key concern with the very young and, recognising the significance of children’s emotional well-being to their learning, we have developed our unique ‘Emotions for Learning’ project to help our children to understand themselves and each other, to think creatively and problem solve effectively.
We encourage our children to find their ‘voice’ and to understand that they can make a difference. As they grow, all children are given responsibility, be it caring for a younger ‘buddy’ or working in one of the children’s committees for the Community and Charities or for the Environment.
We believe that belonging to a genuine community is of immense value to children and to families. When prospective parents are given tours of the school by the children, we hope that they will be struck by the children’s sense of ‘belonging’. The same sense of belonging is evidence at events organised by the Parents’ Association, the School’s Services in Preparation for Christmas in the St John’s College Chapel, which many past pupils and parents continue to attend, and at the many plays, concerts, parents’ evenings and other events which fill the annual calendar.
The support we receive from parents is exceptional, as is the quality of our communication with them. Informal discussions, formal meetings, written accounts of progress which always invite parental response are all part of a much wider spirit of community in which we share our commitment to children.
Our education is about the whole child. It is a wonderful gift to a child to grow knowing that who she is, how she feels, how she comes to possess and express herself, to read and respond to others, matter at home and at school as much as what she can do. Such children will become independent learners, creative thinkers prepared to question, with their curiosity very much alive. Such children inevitably get the best from themselves and achieve very highly within and beyond the classroom, as ours do. Such children will develop a real generosity of spirit, will know and care about how to get the best for others, as ours do. Such children will do well when they are with us and when they are long beyond our shores.