Our Educational Philosophy
“… so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing; that the old ways of doing things don’t work; and that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick; that our society and democracy only works when we think not just about ourselves, but about each other...”
Above all else, we want our pupils to grow up to be happy and kind people, to understand the world they live in, to learn what it is to be human, to respect and consider the views of others, to develop a moral compass and to care for others. From the very first day they walk through our gates – full of enthusiasm and curiosity – we aim to nurture and develop our pupils’ excitement for learning, so that they take this forward with them in their lives beyond Woodlands. Feeling a sense of achievement and enjoyment every day at school is critical to this. We need to enable all our pupils to feel positive connections and associations with the school, to value their own worth, to feel that they can achieve, so that they can move on to the next phase of their education – ready, excited and motivated to succeed.
It is imperative though that our pupils do not see the world through rose-tinted spectacles. As all adults know, life can be tough and harsh at times and we have to build children’s resilience and character to enable them to face these with bravery and level-headedness.
Our curriculum should focus on providing children with quality and depth of knowledge and skills, alongside opportunities to practise and apply this in meaningful ways, to empower them to take control of their lives to tackle and challenge any disadvantage they may experience themselves or witness for others. We have a moral duty to provide equality of opportunity to all, to promote inclusivity and accessibility, so that the knowledge and skills we prioritise in our curriculum, reaches and shapes all our pupils.
Woodlands has a strong place in the community of Tonbridge and we want our children to feel proud of this. They should experience how communities work together and support each other, by taking responsibility, showing care and determination to collaborate. It also matters hugely to us, that our children experience and understand the diversity and wonder that the world within and beyond Tonbridge offers – in terms of its people and its physical and human landscapes. At the age of four, our pupils’ worlds are small and will be focused on their families and school, but as they become older, their sense of community and the world they live in, as well as their understanding, feelings of connection and responsibility to it, should grow and grow.
In an age of widening gaps between the haves and have-nots, we must focus on developing social capital for families and the community. Social capital refers to the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively. We believe that it is our moral and social duty to ensure pupils find their place in the world, contribute more effectively and connect people together. The generations of the future must be more active and influential than those in the past have been, in terms of their social awareness and the impact on the environment and that has to begin here with the learning we give them at Woodlands.
Read about Our Unique Context next.