A Culture of Learning

Wallington County Grammar School’s culture and ethos flows directly from its motto: Per Ardua Ad Summa, Through Difficulties the Heights. This motto reflects the fact that life, education and being a young person in the 21st Century are far from easy - they are full of challenges and setbacks that must be negotiated, worked around and learned from. It does, however, also point towards the knowledge that, if we are able to accept these difficulties and succeed in the face of them, we can achieve anything we put our minds to whether it be becoming an exceptional scientist, musician, actor, historian, poet, athlete, statesman, artist, politician, CEO or friend.

At Wallington County Grammar School, we believe that, in order to fulfil our motto, we must exhibit four core values above all others. They are:

Commitment – We aim to always be determined to learn and succeed, striving to be both passionate and ambitious whilst being prepared to accept and respond to feedback from whoever we are fortunate enough to receive it from. 

Compassion – We aim to always show respect and kindness to those we meet in life, supporting them when they need it and empathising to always make sure we make decisions in the interests of others over ourselves. We recognise that we are all part of the Wallington family and community and will do all we can to further our common cause.

Courage – We strive to always be resilient, learning from failure and seeking support when we need it. We want to be adventurous, constantly seeking out new and exciting opportunities and never being afraid to ‘have a go’ if we don’t know an answer. 

Creativity – We will always be curious, thinking deeply about concepts and problems and thinking imaginatively to generate ideas and solutions. We aim to become scholars – never a student of mathematics but a true mathematician, classicist, musician, philosopher or economist.

 

Our Teaching Ethos

As teachers, we believe that all lessons should embody our Vision for Learning that acts as a framework for great teaching in our context. This vision has been co-constructed with staff, students and parents and is comprised of the following branches:

Engagement – Using a wide range of teaching styles to enthuse students with a passion for the subject.

Progress (over time) – Using dialogic marking and assessment strategies to communicate how students can improve and then ensuring this is acted upon.

Progress (in lesson) – Using questioning and other Assessment for Learning strategies to assess learning and adapt teaching in response.

Challenge – Personalising learning so that all students are suitably challenged and supported in meeting that challenge.

Relationships – Encouraging resilience, independence and confidence through high expectations, praise and team work.

Deep Thinking – Always going beyond surface learning to explore the subject and develop a love of scholarship and thought.

This vision informs all teacher planning, monitoring and evaluation within Wallington County Grammar School. We believe that, if we can ensure all lessons contain these ingredients then our students will learn exceptionally well and will achieve the very highest outcomes in their examinations and destinations.

 

Our Leadership Ethos

We here at Wallington County Grammar School believe that there are leaders of learning in every classroom. All staff and students lead in WCGS by modelling our core values and helping others in doing so by providing feedback and support as part of the close team that we are. As school leaders, we strive to fulfil WCGS’ leadership framework described in our appraisal booklet as follows:

Delivering - Takes ownership of their team and takes pride in its contribution to the school's vision - Brings energy and enthusiasm to what they do - Manages their budget effectively - Plans effectively for the team's short, medium and long term future - Is committed to seeing things through.

Teaching - Understands how students learn best - understands components of both great learning and of great teaching - models high standards in their own teaching - knows the needs of all the students their team is responsible for - regularly observes others and gives effective feedback on their teaching.

Buffering - Effectively mediates between SLT, middle leaders and classroom teachers/ form tutors - interprets and promotes the school vision - is positive and has consistently high expectations of themselves, colleagues and students - establishes and maintains orderly systems - communicates regularly and clearly with their team.

Scanning - Keeps their specialist knowledge up to date - pioneers new ideas and sets an example - regularly makes time for reflection - has an up to date knowledge of current thinking in relation to their area of responsibility - makes informed and judicious decisions.

Supporting - Regularly analyses performance data to ensure their team and the students in their care are making progress - is self-motivated and motivates others - involves others in key decision making - works to develop them self, others and the team - contributes positively to the wider life of the school.

Challenging - Asks probing questions of others and encourages others to do so of them - directs others and is authoritative in doing so where necessary - rigorously monitors performance - frequently benchmarks performance and monitors consistency and standards - challenges mediocrity.

By following this framework we ensure that all leaders make decisions and act at all times to ensure the wellbeing and progress of all students within the school, ensuing our core purpose as professionals is fulfilled.

Conclusion

If all staff, students and stakeholders of Wallington County Grammar School embody the culture and ethos described in this policy then our happiness and success can know no limits. Our students will be not only achieve far beyond their already high aspirations but will do so being happy, contented and well-rounded individuals. As staff we can find great joy in making this happen and can know that all aspects of our job helps them get there – we can know that we have made a real difference and helped thousands of individuals be the best they can be in our lifetimes.