Aims and Values
Welcome to Sir James Smith’s School
Sir James Smith’s School has a simple motto that runs through everything we do:
Aspiration, Ambition, Achievement.
As a school we believe in keeping things simple and in that spirit have two simple aims; we want all pupils to be happy and we want them to be able to make interesting choices when they move on to their post-16 studies, whatever they may be.
Happiness can be a difficult idea to pin down. The definition that resonates most with what Sir James Smith’s school is aiming for comes from a teacher who knew a thing or two about being unhappy. In the 1980’s, Irish teacher and journalist Brian Keenan was kidnapped in Beirut and held hostage for over 4 years, most of that time being spent on his own. Upon his release he wrote about his experience and defined happiness as having three parts:
The chance to learn new things…
With no way of knowing what was going on in the world around him it is easy to see why he thought this was a key ingredient for happiness. Here at Sir James Smith’s all pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum. A curriculum delivered by specialists who are always looking at how they can share their passion for their subject with all of the pupils they teach in the most engaging and challenging ways possible. Every pupil at Sir James Smith’s will discover that which they truly love by being exposed to the broadest range of subjects for the three years of Key Stage 3 before choosing what they want to focus on at GCSE. Outside of their five brilliant lessons a day, a comprehensive extra-curricular programme covering everything from the performing arts and cookery to motor sports and design will give every pupil here the opportunity to develop a love of learning.
The opportunity for exercise…
Stuck in a small room for over 4 years as a hostage, again, it’s easy to see why this was a key ingredient for happiness as far as Brian Keenan was concerned. At Sir James Smith’s we know the value of being active and the importance of physical activity to our all-round wellbeing. Pupils at SJS compete in sports locally, regionally and even at a national and international level. For those not motivated by traditional sports our Physical Education curriculum and extra-curricular offer provides every opportunity to discover that which they truly love when keeping active by offering the broadest range of physical activities from survival skills to yoga.
The care and companionship of others…
Solitary confinement for many years made this an obvious addition to his list of ingredients for happiness. Here at Sir James Smith’s the relationships pupils build are of the upmost importance. We are a small school with a truly comprehensive population where everybody is valued and everybody has a voice. Whether it’s through our School Council or the opportunities we take to celebrate success, the work of promoting positive relationships is ceaseless and part of what makes Sir James Smith’s the truly wonderful place it is.
In addition to wanting our pupils to be happy whilst they’re here, we want them to be able to make interesting choices about what they will do when they leave and to know just how much possibility is out there waiting for them. All pupils will have opportunities to broaden their horizons through travel and experiencing foreign cultures during their 5 years with us. From their first day here through until their final exam all will get the very best careers advice and guidance from within and without and be instilled with the belief that there is no limit to where their ambition can take them.