Avonwood Ethos,Values and Aims
Ethos and Values
At Avonwood we see it as our moral imperative for all children, regardless of background, to achieve their very best. Our children read classic literature, study modern foreign languages, experience the science of dissecting organs and even learn a new musical instrument every year as a right, not a privilege. These high expectations enable us to develop and deliver a curriculum rich in carefully sequenced and embedded powerful knowledge. We expect teachers to deliver lessons with that fulfil this expectation whilst living up to our ambition of inspiring wonder and intellectual curiosity.
Our curriculum is at the centre of every education decision we take at Avonwood. We do not see the curriculum as a finished product, far from it. On a weekly, termly and annual basis we review plans, consider our intent and make sure we deliver the very best academic and enrichment diet to our children. All curriculum areas have a subject lead that is responsible for the design, implementation and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of this area.
If ‘powerful knowledge’ is the head of our school, then reading for pleasure and progress is its heart. Our school environment and curriculum crystallises reading for pleasure as a valued and purposeful part of our curriculum. We agree with the view of Thompson (2020) when she states the importance of becoming a reader who teachers and a teacher who reads is a pedagogy with far reaching consequences. Reading progression is carefully mapped to provide opportunities for exposure to a wide variety of genres, authors of different backgrounds and a mixture of classic and contemporary texts. Every afternoon we 'Drop Everything and Read' to end our school day with a high quality whole class reading session. We wholeheartedly believe reading is the golden key to unlocking the potential of every child’s success.
We are honoured to be the only United Nations Earth Charter Primary School in Europe. We believe it is vital that all children have an understanding of their responsibility as global citizens and our eight Earth Charter principals are referenced throughout our curriculum and daily life. From the importance of peace and respect for all living creatures through to the consideration of the past and future of our planet, this ethos gives our Avonwood curriculum a very current and relevant perspective that all stakeholders within our community hold strong. This runs deep within our "Avonwood DNA" and is optimised by our school mantra... it starts with one!
Avonwood is an exceptionally positive, happy and inspiring place to learn. Children are excited to come to school to discover the rich learning experiences teachers have planned each and every day. It is this nurtured thirst for learning that has been carefully engineered through the awe and wonder of our curriculum that we feel makes Avonwood such a unique, academically rich and special place to grow and learn.
'The Avonwood Way'
At Avonwood Primary school we have curated a series of "We believe" statements that relate to our everyday expectations and values.
United Learning Framework for Excellence
Avonwood Primary School is part of the United Learning Trust. Though working within this group of schools we subscribe to the 'Framework for Excellence'.
What is the Framework for Excellence?
The Framework for Excellence sets out the principles which all United Learning schools work to. These represent our agreed view of the distinctive approach to education of our group of schools and the characteristics which lead to excellence when exemplified in the right way. The Framework will be the way we set standards for ourselves and assess our progress.
As well as this, we are using the Framework for Excellence to create a supportive tool which can be used to drive school improvement. It contains examples of the very highest quality practice drawn from schools across the group. Each of these includes resources, such as lesson ideas and materials, which schools can use to improve their practice.
The Five Principles
The Framework for Excellence consists of five principles:
‘The best from everyone’
Our aim is to bring out the best in everyone. So we must expect the best from everyone, all the time. Every child is a special individual, capable of extraordinary things. Who can know the limits of any child’s potential? So, we expect unreasonably – we constantly challenge children to do what they think they can’t, to persist, to work hard and to be at their best.
From every adult we expect the same: that they are at their best, expect unreasonably of themselves, are determined and resilient and pass those expectations on to the children in all they do. We act with the utmost love, care and good faith – the highest standards come with the greatest attention to the wellbeing of all.
Our most important purpose is to teach young people things they would not learn outside school, which free them to think and act more powerfully in their lives. Words and numbers are our most powerful ways of representing the world. Mastery of language and fluent mathematical skills are therefore our top priority. We aim to prepare young people to make a success of their lives: a core entitlement to subject-based learning; the development of talents; an understanding of work and society.
Worthwhile learning is often hard. Inspiring teaching is what gives access to difficult concepts and the thrill of intellectual discovery. Powerful knowledge is not static or backward-looking. It includes the ability to critique, challenge the status quo, think and learn.
‘Education with character’
Academic success is very important. Exam passes are an important aspect of that. But there is more to a good education. Our schools also aim to develop character, compassion and service. Young people are expected to contribute to their school and to society; to try things which they think they cannot do; to persist in the face of difficulty; to become resilient in overcoming obstacles; to manage themselves; to work independently on things which challenge them; to work with others and in teams; to be courageous and caring; to lead.
We want young people to look back on a joyful schooling which has inspired and challenged them, given them wide opportunity and prepared them for the ups and downs of life.
‘Leadership in every role’
Our children are leaders of the future. We expect them to start today – taking advantage of structured opportunities to lead and taking responsibility for themselves and others. Every adult in the school is a leader. In every word, tone and gesture, they set direction and expectation. We expect every adult to take responsibility and the initiative to do what is right for the children.
All those in formal leadership positions create the climate in which others work. They demand the highest standards, build a performance culture, develop their teams and create the space for others to lead. All leaders listen, grow relationships, act with integrity and care and expect the best from themselves and others in building a happy, confident school.
However good we are, we can be better. We constantly look for improvements, and implement them with pace. We look for ideas for improvement inside the organisation and out; we observe one another; we steal good ideas with pride and look to make them better; we work together to improve.
We always look at the evidence, and are rigorous in evaluating impact. We stop or change things which aren’t working; we improve things which are. We aim for high leverage: high impact for low effort and low cost. We constantly look to have more impact for less cost and effort and to spend every pound wisely.