Visions & Ethos
The Blue Coat vision is the product of many hours of collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. These included: pupils, staff, governors, parents and the wider community. The outcome was the school’s vision that all pupils will leave being ‘Future Ready’.
Future readiness’ for our pupils is built on the foundation of God’s Love. Therefore, we aspire to live life in all its fullness (John 10:10) and to enable others to do the same. (Matthew 22: 37-39)
This encompasses the elements we feel are key to ensuring that the children are equipped to thrive in their future lives, no matter what they may bring. From these, a series of statements were developed to deliver the vision.
To support our vision, we have a core set of Christian values which are:
Learning about Learning
Learners of The Future
Blue Coat's pupils are being prepared for their futures. Every decision we take is with this in mind. For that matter, 'Learning about Learning' is one of the four pillars of our school vision. This means that we prepare children in the what to learn.... but also in the how to learn, so as to thrive in uncertain futures.
But what could this future hold?
We live in a time of exponential change. By the time our children leave education, the working landscape will look very different to them. Many of the jobs they will be entering do not currently exist and the technology that they will be using has yet to be invented. This means that the traditional model of providing children with a set of skills that will last them throughout their working lives, is no longer relevant. We aim to provide our children with the ability to thrive when learning new knowledge, skills and understanding.
Of course, there are opportunities as well as threats that come with this future. There are multiple dimensions to each of these future issues, whether they have implications for employment, health and wellbeing, relationships, wealth, personal fulfillment etc. We are in the business of trying to prepare pupils to solve problems and capitalise on situations that don't yet exist and possibly can't even be predicted.
How do we do this?
We believe that we do so through the personal empowerment of our pupils. Quite simply, this means empowering and enabling young people to make better informed decisions about all aspects of their lives so as to become pro-active, critical, confident and independent in their thinking and decision-making. This has to be matched by a values education that enables every young person to develop a strong moral compass and a desire to 'do the right thing', not just act in the interests of self.
If we achieve this then pupils are inspired, equipped and prepared for a lifetime of continual self-improvement - the very essence of lifelong and sustainable learning.
Learning about Ourselves
For our pupils to embark on a lifetime journey of continual self-improvement, first they must learn about and know themselves as individuals.
Each person is like an iceberg, with only a small amount that we see on the surface, and huge, hidden depths lurking beneath. We encourage our children to consider their own thoughts and feelings in different situations. We also aim for children to be able to manage their own thoughts and feelings, recognising where there may be a challenge and equipping them with the skills to make a difference.
When children are more aware of themselves as a thinking and feeling individual, they can start to take greater control of their own lives by taking action to improve mental and physical health, develop greater emotional intelligence, have a balanced perspective of their self-image etc. Quite simply, they start to become empowered in their choices to become better people.
As special and as important as we deem each child to be, we encourage them to look outside of themselves and recognise their responsibility to learn about other people too.
The quality of the relationships we have is one of the biggest determiners of how happy we are. It is important children learn that they share the world with a huge diversity of people: some may be similar to them but also often different. Moreover, it is important that they respect this diversity and embrace individual differences throughout their lives, whether at work, in relationships or experiencing different cultures both at home or away.
In 'Learning about Ourselves and Others', every child will begin to realise their roles and responsibilities as an effective (and improving) global citizen, destined to make the world a better place for everyone.
Learning with Technology
Technology is a part of our children's present and will be a significant part of their future. We live in exponential times, where technology is transforming the way that we learn, work and live. We embrace the opportunities that this brings, as well as being aware of the limits of screen time.
In order for children to be ready, we need to equip them with the skills to be able to use technology to enhance their lives. However, this is not as simple as teaching them to use current hardware and software. Devices have changed, almost beyond recognition over recent years, so who can imagine what our children will be using in their future l as adults? All we know is that we don't know! This means that we need to help our children to become adaptable problem solvers who thrive when change is presented to them, rather than simply being adept at using the latest apps.
How do we do it?
This comes back, again, to personal empowerment. We present children with the opportunity to solve problems on their own. This is not just in computing lessons, but in every subject area as well as in our play. It is important that we provide children with the opportunity to transfer their thinking across all aspects of school life, so that they will be prepared for life and the different challenges that it brings over different contexts. This means that children are used to transferring and applying the skills that help them into different circumstances and situations. Inter-connectivity of knowledge, skills and understanding within and between subject areas forms a core part of the way that we teach and learn. It deepens our learning and enables us to adapt to new and unknown situations. This is not to say that we do not teach discrete objectives within our computing curriculum. It is just that being "future ready" is much, much more at Blue Coat.
Learning with Spirituality
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
We recognise that there is much more to life and learning than a succession of objectives to be learnt. Children experience the wonder of life first hand and for the first time each and every day. For some this is the wonder of God's creation and for others this is the majesty of nature. Our aim is to give children the opportunity to experience the incredible and reflect on what it means to them.
“God is everything and everything is God.” Baruch de Spinoza
Our spiritual journey does not simply sit inside Collective Worship. It is where we develop our understanding of our interpretation of God. To some this is a Christian God, whilst to others this could be Allah or even a scientific understanding of the Universe. But we all celebrate the wonder of creation in every situation we find ourselves in. It could be through the emotional connection of music, through prayer, through discovering the natural world (and bugs!) in Forest School or even through the beauty of patterns within Mathematics. In other words, our spiritual journey is enhanced at every step of our time in school.
"It's like a window to your soul." Felix
Our children are able to explore their own spiritual journey. They express their feelings clearly and are able to understand what makes them connect to something greater than themselves. The natural beauty of Wotton provides a perfect backdrop to enhancing this connection.