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Aims & Ethos Policy St James Senior Boys School Aims of the Policy The principal aims of the ‘Aims & Ethos Policy’ are to: Fully inform the whole school community of the Aims and Ethos of the St James Senior Boys School. Provide a reference document against which the day-to-day operation of the school can be judged and measured. Background to the Policy The St James Independent Schools were founded in 1975 on the initiative of a group of parents who, as a result of their philosophical studies at the School of Economic Science in London, wanted a school for their children which would provide both the best in traditional British education, plus a non-denominational education which would emphasise the unity of all mankind. Leon MacLaren, a former barrister and Senior Tutor at the SES, guided the early development and established an independent charity, the IEAL, to oversee the growth of junior schools, which in time have developed stand alone senior schools for boys and girls. (The senior school for girls is located in Olympia.) The St James Senior Boys School moved from Twickenham to a 32-acre site in Ashford, Surrey in 2010. Over the past decade the school has more than doubled in size and now serves pupils drawn largely from the local community, although a small boarding establishment also remains. Aims & Ethos Policy V3-DJB October, 2010 Page 1 of 6 Philosophical Ethos The School is philosophically inspired, drawing on both Western and Eastern traditions. It welcomes pupils of all faiths, as well as those who profess no faith tradition. (See Admissions Policy). The main Western influence is from the Platonic tradition. This provides the School with its four core values: courage, self-control, justice and wisdom. The School motto – Calm, Courageous & Strong – chosen by the pupils themselves, seeks to embody the spirit of those virtues. The Platonic tradition also influences the process of teaching. Teachers are encouraged to follow the ideal that the pupil is already a ‘complete’ person and that the need is to draw out – educere (Lat) – this completeness. (A guidebook for teachers on this process, and on the philosophical approach to teaching, is available on request.) The main Eastern influence is drawn from the Sankara tradition of India ( 8th Century) and is known as the Philosophy of Unity, or Oneness. The essence of this philosophy is the recognition that every person has within them the same Divine spirit. Because of this we share a common humanity and are all members of the same human family. The ‘place’ where this Oneness is met most obviously and fully is in the silence of stillness. The practice of meditation, contemplation and prayer for 10 minute periods twice daily, plus short regular periods of stopping and pausing between activities, are practical approaches to experiencing this philosophy. The ethos encourages the evolution of respect, tolerance, understanding and knowledge of all religions and ensures that all pupils and staff are treated with equality. The philosophical approach is core to our practical application of the concepts contained in ‘ Every Child Matters.’ Aims & Ethos Policy V3-DJB October, 2010 Page 2 of 6 The School employs a Church of England Chaplain to conduct three to four assemblies per term and to hold beginning and end-of-year church services, plus a carol concert at Christmas. These are whole school events. The policy is that all children of all faiths should learn something of the main religion of the British nation and all pupils, of whatever faith, are expected to attend. Assemblies, which are held three times a week, contain prayers from both Eastern and Western traditions, including the Lord’s Prayer. An ‘Assembly Book’, containing readings from the great religious faiths and philosophical traditions represented at the school, is used on nearly every occasion. The pupils and leader of the assembly read from the Assembly Book antiphonally, and a short conversation between pupils and teacher frequently ensues. Principal Aim of the Education The principal aim of the education is to allow each boy to grow into a man who is a master of his worldly profession and family life, who values truth and goodness, and who develops good character, simultaneously. It is to lay the foundations for stability and steadfastness in life. The approach seeks to be fully holistic, achieving growth in the boy’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual worlds. To become a man, the boy will need to meet the finest ideas, use his reason to determine their merit, open his heart to serve the needs of those around him and grow in strength and confidence to do what is right and useful. To achieve this, he will have to be at peace in himself and with all others. He will have to learn that every human being is of enormous value and that, despite our many differences, we share at our essence the same Divine nature. Aims & Ethos Policy V3-DJB October, 2010 Page 3 of 6 Secondary Aims of the Education In the academic realm we seek to prepare pupils to sit GCSE and A-level examinations and to “achieve more than they think is possible.” Our policy is that having taken the course of study and attended to it satisfactorily, the boy should sit the examination. We aim to ensure that each pupil achieves the necessary academic success which opens appropriate tertiary education opportunities. For most pupils this will mean university. Our aim is to ensure that each pupil is guided into the right course of study which will further maximise his potential and open possibilities for him to find full personal satisfaction and fulfilment. We aim to introduce pupils to the finest material from both East and West and to encourage them to learn how to consider, evaluate and discuss it in the pursuit of wisdom. We rate highly the ability of boys to speak in public, especially without prior preparation. We aim to develop each pupil’s powers of reason and strengthen his ability to make good choices. We aim to develop pupils’ powers of attention. With strengthened powers of concentration, learning becomes efficient and enjoyable. In all actions he will be able to focus and the knowledge within him will be able to be drawn out. To achieve this he will need some measure of self-control and our education, particularly in the Lower School, aims to nurture this. We aim to encourage open-hearted service and care of others. This engenders respect for our common humanity. We seek for our pupils to become “givers” to society, not “takers”. We aim to ensure that all pupils receive the best advice possible on careers and gain a fully rounded view of all possibilities. We aim to ensure that they are introduced to ideas of leadership and the value to society of charitable and community service. Aims & Ethos Policy V3-DJB October, 2010 Page 4 of 6 We aim to inspire a love of beauty. We value attention given to good handwriting and careful presentation of work. We aim to provide every pupil with the chance to express his artistic, musical and dramatic creative skills. We aim to introduce pupils to the great cultural ideas and artistic expressions, including the 15th century Renaissance, to meet the finest English literature and sing uplifting and wholesome music. We aim to inspire an understanding of justice. We value the voice of the pupil through the Student Council and the right of the pupil to speak his mind at Headmaster’s Question Time. Our disciplinary system is designed to engender a reasonable response from the pupil, and if an injustice has occurred, the pupil is encouraged to query it. We aim to engender the spirit of courage, including the courage of the pupil to say what he thinks, so long as he then does what he says. Physical courage is also important and with full consideration given to health and safety rules and regulations, we aim to give pupils opportunities to test their own strength through outdoor pursuits and activities. We aim to raise the awareness of the immense possibilities of endeavour across all fields of human experience. As part of this, we would seek to illuminate numbers of positive role-models to follow. We aim for the pupils to foster good relations with each other and with teachers. Where a dispute arises, the pupil is encouraged to resolve it through dialogue. We aim to create opportunities where older pupils can care for younger ones and take responsibility for ensuring an harmonious life for the whole School community. We aim to encourage understanding of current affairs and the role of national institutions in the conduct of a civilised society. We aim to evolve responsible citizenship, including a knowledge of Law and essential household economics. Aims & Ethos Policy V3-DJB October, 2010 Page 5 of 6 We aim to introduce pupils to the importance of healthy living through an organically inspired vegetarian diet, regular exercise and care of the physical body. Policy Written by: David Boddy Reviewed by: Headmaster and SMT ………………………………………… Approved by: ………………………………………… ………………………………………… Date: ………………………………………… Aims & Ethos Policy V3-DJB October, 2010 Page 6 of 6
"Aims _ Ethos Policy V2-DJB"