Facing your Waterloo... It's a test of character

Another excuse to indulge my 'guilty pleasure'...

Last week marked the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo...

Battle of Waterloo battle scene


It was therefore very fitting that I spent last Thursday evening in the grandeur of Wellington College, established in 1853 by Queen Victoria as the nation's memorial to the 'Iron Duke' a year after his death.

Arthur Wellesley 1769–1852 1st Duke of Wellington by Thomas Lawrence

Wellington College

I was there with Alun Jones, Principal of St. Gabriel's, at the Education Excellence Awards, where we had been shortlisted for the best State-Independent School Partnership Prize.

Alun Jones and Derek Peaple with Johnny Ball

And I'm thrilled to say that we won! Thrilled because the award recognises the additional value that our work together has added to our students' learning experiences for the last twelve years. I've blogged about this in the past...


And it was even more of thrill to receive the award from the legendary Johnny Ball, who we are now hoping will join us for a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) masterclass for students and parents early next term. Think of a number!

Johnny Ball Think of a Number

Waterloo is of course widely seen as one of the moments that define British Values and Character. Both metaphorically in terms of symbolising our doughty, 'never say die' spirit and, more practically, in protecting our nascent democracy from unwanted Gallic imperialism at the hands of Napoleon. Zut Alors!

British Values and Character Education.

Two concepts that are currently at the forefront of debate about what it is the role of schools to deliver.

I hate the idea that I've ever 'taught' anyone to be a better person.

It's also been a theme a number of previous blogs, where I've described my view of a discrete lesson in 'Character' as an abomination!

No, our character education at Park House is far more holistic and cultural in its approach, with a values-themed emphasis running through and beyond the curriculum. I'm very proud that it has featured in this month's influential report on effective delivery from the leading cross-party think-tank, Demos as a best practice case study. The link below takes you to our case study...


I therefore like to think that Character development at Park House is, in a number of ways, 'consciously natural'.

It's reflected in students having the courage and confidence to Express themselves  creativity as individuals, as reflected in this week's amazing Art Exhibition...

Art Exhibition 2015

It's at the heart of our Student Learning Conferences, where also this week students have come together as group to constructively express their views on what makes great learning and articulate the values that they believe should shape their learning community...

Student Learning Conference

And it's reflected in the positive way in which students engage with and then take forward for themselves the opportunities that they are offered... Like the Year 7 Recreational Running Group I learnt about this week. Students being given the chance to shape the content and style of learning they experience, and responding with the most remarkable levels of maturity....

Recreational Running

My, My...