Experiential learning and personal development figure prominently in our Upper School curriculum and we are heavily guided by Pennthorpe’s Core Values. Educational workshops, day visits, sport, outdoor pursuits and residential trips are varied and frequent, building year on year to bring the children along physically, intellectually and culturally. Leadership opportunities abound, building confidence and nurturing healthy self-esteem through the early adolescent years.
Intellect without empathy is a hollow, even dangerous, thing, which is why, at Pennthorpe, we seek to instil more than academic ambition. Ours is a values-led education where pupils truly understand their ability to contribute to society both at a local and global level.
Manners and Citizenship:
Respect for others is the underlying philosophy at Pennthorpe. Good behaviour and manners go hand in hand and form the basis of our code of discipline. We are proud of our traditional attitude to the basic courtesies such as holding doors open for others, saying ‘Good Morning/Afternoon’ and displaying good table manners.
Children who are considered by both their peers or staff, to be outstanding ambassadors of the school, are made Citizens and become part of a pupils Welfare Committee. They are seen as shining stars by other pupils and have an active voice in the school’s pastoral systems.
All pupils in the Upper School have a tutorial at least once a term with a member of the pastoral team, where they will be given the opportunity to discuss how they are feeling on a confidential basis. Tutorial sessions are used to catch up on pupil’s welfare, how school life in both the core and non-academic subjects are progressing, and discuss other issues such as extra-curricular activities, future schools and scholarship preparations.
Every term we carry out a happiness survey with all pupils in the Upper School and use the findings on our happiness tracker so that we can monitor a pupil’s happiness over an extended period of time.
The analysis of the data allows us to identify any themes for a cohort or across the school, which we are then able to address. Individual pupils who have come out with a lower score will have a Tutorial so we can unpick areas causing them unhappiness or worry.
We strongly believe that happiness and emotional well-being should be valued and monitored, just as closely as academic success, and we are committed in our desire to ensure that all of our pupils at Pennthorpe are happy, healthy and flourishing.
Rewards and Sanctions:
There are many rewards to inspire and motivate children academically and children recognise that they are rewarded for both individual success and more importantly, effort. Pennthorpe recognises that children make mistakes and there is a robust system of sanctions, engaging various hierarchies of staff, to ensure that children are able to work within the given parameters as Pennthorpe citizens.
Our leadership system across Year 7 and 8 is designed to offer all of our pupils greater opportunities to shine as leaders and to have their efforts recognised and rewarded. Pupils can apply to be Seniors and consideration is given to a set of criteria based on their attitude to learning, effort in lessons and how they have upheld the Core Values.
Once a pupil has reached Senior status they may choose to apply to become a prefect. They must fill out an application form answering the various questions to state their reasons for wanting to put themselves forward for this position of responsibility. They will then be invited to interview with the Headmistress and Head of Year 8. If they are successful at this interview they will be appointed and must continue to shine as leaders amongst our school community. If they are not successful first time round they will be given feedback and targets and may be asked back for interview later in the year.
All children are allocated to one of four Houses: Baynards, Gaskyns, Pallinghurst and Tismans. Siblings will always be in the same house. In addition to the weekly House Points competition, there are a range of other Inter-House sports, quizzes and music competitions that take place and there is a House Shield awarded each term to the house with the highest points score.
School and Eco Council:
Pennthorpe has a School Council and an Eco Council which are made up from specially elected children from Year 1 to Year 8. Both have a Charter that sets out the rules for our Pupil Councillors to take part in school decision-making. To enable them to be successful in this the school provides resources, training and support, and listens carefully to the council when it makes its proposals. The Eco Council has achieved its Bronze award and is now working towards the Silver Award.
Pennthorpe supports a wide range of local, national and international charities. The organisation of our charity days and events is run by an enthusiastic and committed charity committee. The committee is made up of children in Years 7 and 8 who apply to join and are interviewed as part of the application process. It meets twice a term and the children put forward ideas for the groups and organisations they would like the school to support. The team all have roles that they undertake, and they are the backbone of our fantastic fundraising events!