Our Vision and Values

THE VISION:

We cherish all the people in our school

Our aim for them:

 

‘Life in all its fullness’

 

-for us this means people who are flourishing

●people who have the wherewithal to shape their own life well;

●people who take a delight in learning;

●people who are compassionate, who appreciate the value and preciousness of each and every person and all life on earth;

-hence people who help to make the world a better place.

 

 

In the latter half of last year (2018), many parents gave us some really helpful insight into their hopes and aspirations for their children. We have used this feedback (along with feedback from other stakeholders including pupils, staff and governors) to help define a new 5 year vision for the school.

We want the vision to inspire ‘passion’ (a vision is probably a fairly pointless thing if it can’t do this) and, allied to this, we want the vision to be about our community. Minchinhampton is the kind of place that knows its own mind and, as the local school, we want to reflect this. Our school is full of unique, fascinating individuals; it is only right that we aim for our school to be a unique and exciting place.

This time around, as part of the process, we have reviewed all key elements of school policy and practice (for example our approach to delivering the curriculum and teaching and learning as well as relationships and communication) to ensure everything is in sync with the vision. Too often vision statements are cooked up in an afternoon, turned into a poster and left dusty on a wall, while the institution rolls on very much as before. We did not want this for our school. We wanted our vision to be all encompassing and all pervasive; for tendrils from its vision statement to reach down into every nook and cranny of school life.

We aim to communicate this far-reaching vision and its implications to you, gradually, over the next few months. This term we released ‘behind the scenes’ film clips as well as quotes from some great thinkers and statements from the full vision document: this to give you a growing flavour of the thing.

Now we present this, our main feature film, consisting of interviews with year six pupils on their last day, reflecting on their time here. The film is magical – courtesy of the ever so talented Mr Brad

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shaw. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Kind regards
Mr Moss

THE RATIONALE

Commitment & Trust

At the heart of this school’s vision is a commitment to all the people in it and the relationships between them;

…to helping to provide people with what they need in order to thrive, to search for meaning, to engage bravely and have hope, to dream big, live life well and smile plenty.

“We should have reflection, relationships and resilience be the new 3 Rs.” -Dan Siegel

To achieve our vision we need to trust each other…. to find connection… to actively listen to each other… to be kind…to be an ethical community….

‘I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’ -Brené Brown

…to avoid a culture of comparison; instead to nurture courage and humility; to recognise strength and appreciate variety, appreciate differences… to be fascinated by other people,

& Self -empowerment

Ultimately we believe education itself should be about self-empowerment for people, self-empowerment now and for a lifetime. We define education here in its most literal and fundamental sense of ‘e-ducere’ meaning ‘to bring out’ that which is in all of us.

‘Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges. It should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.’ -John Taylor Gatto

…the vision is framed in the present: the premise being that if we want to make the world a better place, we need to start right here, right now…. with the people and the resources we have in front of us; ‘Education is the process of living and is not meant [solely] to be the preparation of future living.’ – Dewey 1897.

…at the same time the vision looks to the long term …both in terms of what can be achieved by the school as well as what can be achieved by the people in it. We are mindful that too often these days people are in the habit of ‘diverting energies from the long term process of building a great (school) to short-term tricks’ –(Collier 2019) ….so we like to imagine how the present could impact on people in 5, 10, 15 years’ time…we want our school to be a ‘life-long learning incubator.’

…it follows that it has to be about all of us, adults and children alike…

…and it follows that we are committed to an education that benefits us all, to a socially just, more equal society. ‘Through greater equality, we gain a world where status matters less…where social anxieties are less inhibiting of social interaction and people are less plagued by issues of confidence, self-doubt and low self-esteem.’ –Wilkinson & Pickett 2019

…our starting assumption is that we are all born with a desire for knowledge and we must do everything we can, as a primary school, to maintain and nurture that desire as well as offer pupils the opportunity to think beyond their own experiences and enable them ‘to think the unthinkable and not yet thought.’ -Bernstein 2000

…it follows that we believe everyone has something to offer….that therefore one size does not fit all. “It’s not how smart you are that matters, what really counts is how you are smart.” -H. Gardner

How does this relate to our approach to teaching & learning?

The vision defines and in turn is defined by the way we teach; by the principles or common threads running through our pedagogy and professional development.

We are all about the learning and we feel strongly …

‘’that to see the act of learning as something not for its own sake but because of what it will get you reduces the wonder of humanity. We are thinking, feeling, art-making, knowledge-hungry, marvellous animals, who understand ourselves and our world through the act of learning. It is an end in itself. It has far more to offer than the things it lets us write on application forms. It is a way to love living right now.”

-Matt Haig

When you stop learning, you stop living.

We are committed to:-

· clarity of learning, including clarity of purpose, clarity of instruction and coherence and consistency in the school’s learning journey.

· fostering people’s (children and adults alike) agency/ autonomy in their own learning; trusting them by giving them the opportunity to play, take risks, innovate, imagine and question; expecting them to engage in self-reflection.

‘If you put fleas in a shallow container they jump out. But if you put a lid on the container for just a short time, they hit the lid trying to escape and learn quickly not to jump so high. They give up their quest for freedom. After the lid is removed, the fleas remain imprisoned by their own self-policing. So it is with life. Most of us let our own fears or the impositions of others imprison us in a world of low expectations.’ -John Taylor Gatto

· staying responsive to needs and interests and research, including teaching which is truly formative—that constantly looks for proof of learning close to the coal face, ‘Formative learning is like an educational positioning system- good teachers:- establish where pupils are at; identify the learning destination; carefully plan a route; make regular checks re progress along the way; adjust course as conditions dictate.’ -Dylan Wiliam

· stimulating engagement and thinking including a strong emphasis on talk and on a philosophical approach to learning.




Vision Quote-6

We run this company on questions, not answers.’ Eric Schmidt (CEO Google)

We are committed to Philosophy For Children: a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. Wisdom for Socrates was not knowing lots of facts, or knowing how to do something but how you use the knowledge you have. It is about fashioning the body and mind to create moral, just people: the method is to question and question until people can clearly defend their beliefs.


Vision Quote-5

‘The mentally healthy person is the productive and unalienated person; the person who relates himself to the world lovingly, and who uses his reason to grasp reality objectively; who experiences himself as a unique individual entity, and at the same time feels one with his fellow man, who is not subject to irrational authority, and accepts willingly the rational authority of conscience and reason, who is in the process of being born as long as he is alive and considers the gift of life as the most precious chance he has.’                                                       Eric Fromm 1956


Vision Quote-4

If you put fleas in a shallow container they jump out. But if you put a lid on the container for just a short time, they hit the lid trying to escape and learn quickly not to jump so high. They give up their quest for freedom. After the lid is removed, the fleas remain imprisoned by their own self policing. So it is with life. Most of us let our own fears or the impositions of others imprison us in a world of low expectations.’

                                                                                                       -John Taylor Gatto

 

Vision Quote-3

‘Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges. It should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.’                                                             

-John Taylor Gatto

Vision Quote -2

The vision defines and in turn is defined by the way we teach; by the principles or common threads running through our pedagogy and professional development.

We are all about the learning and we feel strongly …

‘that to see the act of learning as something not for its own sake but because of what it will get you reduces the wonder of humanity. We are thinking, feeling, art-making, knowledge-hungry, marvellous animals, who understand ourselves and our world through the act of learning. It is an end in itself. It has far more to offer than the things it lets us write on application forms. It is a way to love living right now’       -Matt Haig

 

In the latter half of last year, many parents gave us some really helpful insight into their hopes and aspirations for their children. As I promised we have used this feedback (along with feedback from other stakeholders including pupils, staff and governors) to help define a new 5 year vision for the school. We want the vision to inspire ‘passion’ (a vision is probably a fairly pointless thing if it can’t do this) and, allied to this, we want the vision to be about our community. Minchinhampton is the kind of place that knows its own mind and, as the local school, we want to reflect this. Our school is full of unique, fascinating individuals; it is only right that we aim for our school to be a unique and exciting place.

This time around, as part of the process, we have reviewed all key elements of school policy and practice (for example our approach to delivering the curriculum and teaching and learning as well as relationships and communication) to ensure everything is in sync with the vision. Too often vision statements are cooked up in an afternoon, turned into a poster and left dusty on a wall, while the institution rolls on very much as before. We did not want this for our school. We wanted our vision to be all encompassing and all pervasive; for tendrils from its vision statement to reach down into every nook and cranny of school life.

We aim to communicate this far-reaching vision and its implications to you, gradually, over the next few months. This term we will be releasing clips from a film we have made as well as quotes from some great thinkers and statements from the full vision document: this to give you a growing flavour of the thing. The film clips are magical- courtesy of the ever so talented Mr Bradshaw. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Kind regards
Mr Moss

School Vision Feedback From Our Parents – Aspirations and Hopes for the Future

Thank you for all your feedback.

I have tried to pull together the common words/ phrases/ themes in the feedback we received.

In response to the question:

‘What do you want for your child by the time they leave this school in Year 6?’

What knowledge?

-Maths/ English
-following own interests and passions
-basic/ important knowledge of the world
-for self sufficiency
-of different cultures and beliefs
-self knowledge—emotional/ health/ nutrition
-putting acquired knowledge into practice/ application of
-re community—learning in and about
-that inspires love of learning
-for environmental stewardship

What skills?

-to listen, concentrate,
-social skills/ communication
-be reflective/ to help good judgement
-oracy skills
-to be able to reason and argue
-re how to learn
-creative/ lateral thinking/ innovation
-skills that support a love of learning
-for problem solving
-emotional management…mental health
-skills that support resilience and a growth mindset
-ability to express thoughts and feelings
-perseverance
-collaboration
-relaxation and mindfulness
-language skills—other langauages

What attitudes?

-kindness, politeness, respect, openness,
-empathy, fairness
-friendship
-appreciation of people who look, talk, think differently to them
-enjoy and appreciate everybody in the community
-that anything is possible
-be tenacious/ that mistakes are good
-equality
-value individuality

What sort of young person do you want them to be? How can we help them to become the person you would like them to be when they are 24?

-let them dream big
-encourage them to make a difference to the world
-able to use their initiative
-be optimistic
-appreciate differences..appreciate what they have
-maintains positive relationships, is kind—tries not to judge others
-conscientious
-confident but not boastful
-a good citizen…a free thinker
-someone happy fulfilled positive valued
-open minded
-values connection

We have lifted some wording from the feedback and put it straight into the vision.
(Please know however that the full vision document is detailed and long and in layered so you might not spot them immediately.)

Wording going straight into full vision document:
* ‘Let them dream big’
* ‘smile a lot’
* ‘a curriculum with enough heart and breathing space’
* ‘appreciate what they have’
* ‘appreciate differences’
* ‘make comparisons to what other experience’
* ‘fascinating and awe inspiring’
* ‘learning is an exciting, enriching privilege that surprises, amazes, challenges us’
* ‘Expose them to difference’
*happy about who they are/ at peace with who they are
*integrity

 

Vision Quote -1

We liked this quote from a teacher/ writer. We thought it summed up so much of what we would aspire to and so much of what our parents alluded to in their feedback last summer.

‘We want our pupils to grow into ‘Philosopher Kids’, who are curious to know and to question; who can lead as well as follow; who like to feel, to think; who are notable for their eloquence and willingness to take part in the big conversation of life. We want them to engage thoughtfully in dialogue and argument; to appreciate and make beautiful things; to be confident grappling with difficult ideas; to appreciate quiet reflection and contemplation. We want them to be caring and compassionate- able to flourish both as individuals and contribute actively to the flourishing of those around them.’

Martin Robinson, Trivium 21C

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