We intend for all our students to make wide ranging positive contributions to school, the community and modern Britain and aim to provide a rich set of experiences through a broad and balanced academic, wellbeing and extra curricular provision.
Personal development at WBGS is an integral part of the values that we operate within and forms a framework for the provision of wellbeing, extracurricular activities and the enrichment week. It is reflected in the school values of Endeavour and Excellence. Integrity and Kindness and Creativity and Individuality and the WBGS learner attributes - initiative, collaboration, thinking and resilience - are a vehicle for helping to mould our students into the people who are WBGS alumni. While strong pastoral care and an all round education have formed part of the school’s identity for hundreds of years, relatively recent additions to school life have made each st
Sudent’s personal development a more visible part of the school’s ethos. Examples of these include;
- The WellBeing Curriculum - delivered through daily form time sessions and assemblies to the whole school
- The cross-curricular project
- Philosophy and Debates week
- Careers week
- Whole school Enrichment week
The Creativity and Culture course unique to WBGS delivered weekly to year 9 students (this is a course designed to research and understand the range of cultural influences that have shaped our students’ heritage, while also acting as a vehicle for our WBGS Learner Attributes, and providing opportunity to access creative courses).
These are all in addition to the numerous clubs and societies, House charity events, the sixth form academic blog, school trips, the sixth form lecture series and the emphasis placed on high quality ethical debates in PRE and in English as part of spoken language.
There is a willingness on the part of our students to socialise in a variety of contexts and to develop social skills and mutual respect when engaging with others from a range of different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and to problem solved, as evidenced by the school’s participation in the Alan Sennit Leadership programme and our community focused cross-curricular project in year 10.
Developing the character of our students, not simply their academics is of vital importance and many of our alumni come back to school to deliver the Friday afternoon lectures, representing a true closing of the circle. Part of this is the promotion of equality and diversity and we have responded swiftly and efficiently to modern movements, carefully balancing the line of exploring more toxic elements of masculinity while celebrating who our boys are. Female voices are heard through literature we choose and with debates held together with our sister school. Some A level courses are taught with both female and male students.
We celebrate both our own alumni and the alumni from WGGS. While ‘Everyone’s Invited’ quite correctly placed the issues of women’s sexual experiences in the limelight, as a school we already had these issues high in our priorities; for example, sixth formers receive a lecture from Laura Bates (campaigner and author of Everyday Sexism) and the Our PSHE programme features much on women’s rights and experiences, including menstruation, FGM and issues of consent. Last academic year the Headmaster ran an assembly to all groups about the tragic case of Sarah Everard and looking at male responses to 'women's issues' (ie these are not 'women's issues, but all of our issues). To add to this, we are in discussions with our sister school to run a joint project on consent (details yet to be confirmed) and our Head of PSHE is looking at constructing a PSHE project for lower year groups next academic year that will culminate in a day considering this, as well as other issues relating to feminism and sexual politics. He is also keen to include a lesson for Year 10s on the Incel movement. In short, while this has always been part of our provision, we continue to strive to refine our delivery of these topics, improving both staff and students' education and understanding as part of our long term planning. For example staff debates and conversations regarding how LBTQ+ issues should be taught in school (as part of an ongoing working party relating to PSHE) and Equalities training for staff. Our classroom code (found in the behaviour policy) states clearly that differences of culture, religion and gender must be respected at all times.Schools (and society as a whole) still have much to do to combat harmful attitudes.
PRE and assemblies encourage students to be reflective about their own beliefs as does the year 10 philosophy week which includes debates such as the use of animals and the Holocaust study done by all of year 10 that asks ‘Where was God and Where was man?’ We have cross faith football matches and a shared prayer space in the school so that all boys appreciate each other’s commitment to their own spiritual identity.
Our Creativity and Culture curriculum for year 9s encourages intellectual curiosity and a general understanding of the events that have shaped our world. The course covers Human Civilisation, British Values and Citizenship, Culture and World Power (‘otherness’), responsibilities and values - to ourselves and others - and Cultural heroes; asking who chooses heroes? It also provides access to subjects such as drama, DT, film making, art and music so boys can enjoy and develop their interests these activities even where they are not taking that course for GCSE. This course focuses on issues of morality by educating students for example, as to how the English civil criminal law developed, seeks to highlight opposing views around ethical issues and to help students consider the consequences of their behaviour and actions. On this note, a move towards restorative justice is planned so that we move away from detentions and towards a system where time is spent reflecting and looking to seek a positive outcome in the event of poor behaviour. Understanding how the English legal system and the fundamentales of the British values of democracy works also establishes our intention to turn out students who participate positively to life in modern Britain.
The mental wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance - three years ago key pastoral leaders all completed the Mental Health First Aid challenge, indicating investment in this vital part of teenage health. In addition a proportion of the catch up fund has been allocated to providing an additional member of staff to support the mental health of our boys, the Pastoral Assistant. The role began in January 2021 and the officer focused on one to one mentoring, and when school reopened after lockdown, he worked closely with those struggling to return, crafting individual timetables, supporting parents and where necessary organising TAFs. In addition we have an in-house counsellor and have taken part in a government programme to provide a mental health officer into schools. Learning support offers some of our students resilience and chit-chat workshop to develop and maintain their good mental health.
The school has now completed one academic cycle with the RSE in place and in the whole operating successfully via the medium of our PSHE course. Much work has been done to ensure the school is compliant though it should be noted very little needed to be added to the curriculum in order to satisfy the RSE; much existed already through science, wellbeing and PSHE.