Creating the conditions in which all our students can be successful is a very exact science. Success is fuelled by optimism, a disposition to believe that, with enterprise and hard work, our best shots will be rewarded. How do we foster such a spirit?
We do it by working hard to make every student feel safe, understood and valued.
Knowing what you do about schools, you understand that individuality can thrive only in the most rigorously administered and attentive community. Our students are at a stage in their growing up when they can make life difficult for themselves and for others, so it is crucially necessary for us to spot a problem early and nip it in the bud. Our students are also at a stage when they unexpectedly reveal a talent no one ever knew they had. Again, we need to be there for them at once, to urge them on and celebrate achievement. There are vital lessons to be learned from both failure and success.
We have systems and structures and staffing levels, of course. We have monitoring and reporting and appraisal. Information is rapidly shared. And we listen. Students have their say in the school council. Parents tell us we respond rapidly to their concerns. Ofsted inspectors like the way we do things.
Above all, we have a powerful culture of kindness and friendship. We have values which are preached in Chapel and pervade everything that happens here. Everyone is valued equally; day students treated exactly the same as boarders.
Ellesmere is a school built on sound, shared values, and it is from these values that the notable happiness of our community derives. We never stop working on this.