School Aims & Ethos
Our Aim is to prepare young people to become active, caring and confident citizens who lead rewarding lives. We will do this by helping each young person to flourish within a school community which is committed to:
- Providing outstanding learning opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum;
- Creating a safe and caring environment in which every young person enjoys learning;
- Promoting equal opportunity for all members of our community, regardless of their ability, background or culture;
- Developing an awareness of our world, celebrating diversity and promoting a concern for the environment.
We want every student who leaves Beaumont to do so with a sense of pride in their achievements, an awareness of their responsibilities and a sense of appreciation for all the opportunities they have experienced.
It is hard to explain the essential character (or “ethos”) of a school to those who have not attended or taught there. Yet, beyond the exam results and inspection reports, this is the one thing that will define the school experience.
OFSTED’s Lead Inspector described Beaumont School as ‘A breath of fresh air’ in the post-inspection feedback session on 20th March 2014 and we wanted to try and explain the ethos behind this comment.
To do this we asked our students, staff and parents to tell us what they think makes their time here special. We have used these thoughts to reflect on our school’s history, philosophy and community within the context of our ever-changing social and educational landscapes.
From this we have created the following statements, which, we hope, will explain our ethos.
Our History – serving our local community for over 70 years
Beaumont School is an intrinsic part of the community in the east of St Albans which it has served for over 70 years. We retain and build on a legacy of providing one of the best state educations in the country and we are open to all local students. We make a lifelong, positive, impact on the lives of all those who attend and work at our school.
Our Philosophy – “to enjoy and excel” – Elizabeth Hitch, Headteacher
Our success is built on nurturing thriving communities of students, staff and parents who share a common spirit – to enjoy and excel. These things may seem effortless but are built from the dedication of generations of staff and require our closest attention. Our leadership, therefore, takes pride in:
- making our students’ academic and extra-curricular achievement and – equally - their wider development, our first priority
- protecting the independence which has enabled us to be a nationally successful school
- retaining the courage to put the long-term success of our students before the short-term expedience of national targets
- managing the school efficiently within the resources received and acquired
- caring about and supporting every student and member of staff as an individual
- preserving an environment of mutual respect and camaraderie between staff and students
- being inclusive and fair to all students regardless of means or prior attainment
- encouraging student responsibility and personal choice from the earliest years
- retaining a modern, trusting and team-orientated management system which encourages new ideas, variety and interest, and
- celebrating all of our successes whilst recognising that modesty and balance are vital to preserving our community spirit.
With these things in place, we will bring out the best in everyone at Beaumont School.
Our Student Community – “inclusivity yet individuality” – former student
We provide local students in the east of St Albans with one of the best state educations in the country. Our students succeed beyond school in education and work, across all aspects of society. This is possible because our students learn within a safe, happy community in which:
- every student is included
- students are treated and cared for as individuals and are expected to treat others the same
- there is a shared expectation of high achievement, enjoyment, fairness and mutual respect
- student friendship and team spirit are encouraged as well as individuality and diversity
- students and staff share a strong sense of mutual respect and camaraderie
- students are encouraged to develop and express their own opinions on a wide variety of topics
- students are offered a meaningful choice in their studies and extra-curricular activities, and
- responsibility and trust are instilled early and developed throughout the years.
We place the highest importance on valuing our students as individuals and preserving this supportive, inclusive and fair community.
Our Staff Community – "valued and trusted" - teaching colleague
The success and well-being of our students is wholly dependent on our teachers and support staff. We attract and retain the highest quality teachers and support staff because we offer the chance to work with a thriving student community and within a thriving community of fellow educational professionals. This community is characterised by:
- a trusted, teaching body of high-achieving experts within which there are many role models
- a dedicated support staff with a ‘can-do’ attitude
- a teaching body that offers a variety of teaching experience levels but is underpinned by long-tenure staff
- teachers and support staff with the personal skills, perseverance and resilience to teach and care for the students as individuals
- an environment of mutual respect between managers, teachers, support staff and students
- dedication, passion and enthusiasm for specialist subjects
- dedication, passion and enthusiasm for extra-curricular activities
- inclusion, team work, friendship, mutual respect and a sense of fun, and
- a management approach that is trusting, supportive and encourage new ideas, variety and risk-taking.
All the other Beaumont communities depend on the staff and ensuring their strength is critical for the continued success of the school.
Our Parent Community – "supportive and trusting" - Beaumont parent
The parents of our students represent our closest link to the community in the east of St Albans. We recognise that this is a constituency in which many are affluent but many are not. The common bond is that they place their trust and expectation for their children’s education with us. Our parent community is characterised by:
- the inclusion of all families without assumptions of means or circumstances
- their support for both academic and extra-curricular activities at school and at home
- their commitment to preserving the community spirit of “enjoy and excel”
- relationships with the staff community which are based on trust, mutual respect, responsibility and reason
- open, honest and direct dialogue, and
- a willingness to contribute or volunteer to support the staff and student communities.
The trust and support of our parent community is built on decades of commitment from the leadership and staff. It anchors our school to our community in the east of St Albans and challenges us to meet the expectations of each new generation. We recognise that as each parent community evolves then this trust and support needs to be renewed.
Our Future – “preparing our students for the 21st century, not the 19th“ – staff member
Our ethos characterises the aspects of our school we believe to be special and which will endure over the coming decades. However, the success of Beaumont School is not just based on these enduring traits but also on the school’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Our school communities have thrived through the introduction of co-education, comprehensive schooling, the national curriculum, OFSTED, increasing financial constraints, and the transition into the era of academies. We have succeeded because our communities have always been forward-looking and willing to change; and our leadership has guarded our independence to set our own direction. We look forward to remaining a modern, independently-minded school willing to be judged on the long term happiness and success of our students whatever path they choose.
Promoting 'British Values'
We believe that we fulfill our statutory duty to promote British Values through our commitment to achieving our school aims and by sharing our ethos within and beyond the Beaumont community.
A summary of how the objectives from the schemes of work for PSHE / Life Skills and Citizenship promotes discussion and adoption of “British Values” is outlined below:
Government and Elections
- Discussion about the suitability of different types of voting
- Outlining the way our Government is formed
- Other ways that countries can make decisions (other forms of government) including direct democracy (voting on specific decisions), dictatorship and oligarchy (political system governed by a minority). Students consider the fairness of each system.
A Good Citizen and what is Citizenship
- What it means to be an ‘active citizen’
- How we participate in school and in the wider community
- Rules and why we need them
- Rights and responsibilities: how our rights and responsibilities change as we get older.
The UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
- Learning what the UDHR is and gain an awareness of inequalities around the world.
Identity and Discrimination
- Exploring the range of identities within their age group and how our society is multicultural.
- Learning how to communicate (i.e. through giving examples) what the difference is between ‘luxuries’ and ‘rights’
- Demonstrating knowledge of current affairs stories which involve the rights of children and/or adults.
Me and the Law
- Understanding police powers and how they can be applied
- Understanding the purpose of the criminal justice system in relation to young people
- Understanding the role that magistrates play in the Criminal Justice System
- Understanding and justifying their decision
- Considering whether we need new approaches to punishment.
Prejudice and Homophobia
- Understanding what homophobic bullying is
- Considering various types of homophobic bullying
- Understanding the impact this has on young people.
- Gaining knowledge of the different types of crime
- Categorising the causes of crime as social and/or economic factors
- Identifying strategies that could reduce levels of crime.
Million Makers Preparation
- Engaging in enterprise activities whilst raising funds for The Prince's Trust at the same time.
Freedom of Speech
- Understanding what freedom of speech means
- Appreciating that people have different opinions about freedom of speech.
- Understanding what a forced marriage is and what it is not
- Understanding the cultural context of forced marriages
- Recognising where to get help if this happens to me or anyone they know.
- Developing an understanding of the Criminal Justice System.
Crime and Society
- Understanding that citizens have different opinions about handling youth crime
- Giving opinions about how society should deal with young criminals involved in serious crime
- Ensuring all students within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrating how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the students.
Whole School Activities
House activities and “Student Voice”
Using opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values and provide students with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view.
- Mock Elections held at General Election time, many PSHCEE lessons enable students to express their own views across a number of issues.
Considering the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by students, in promoting fundamental British values
- Examples include, the Prince’s Trust “Million Makers” project, Rob’s Festival, the Beaumont Inter-House Bake off, music recitals at St Peter’s Church and other local venues, the Year 8 Book Project with primary schools.