‘Ambition, Respect and Participation’ is at the heart of a new diploma launched by Giggleswick School to reward the all-round achievements of its students.
The school will continue to offer GCSEs, A Levels and BTEC courses, but the Giggleswick Diploma will go further – recognising each child’s efforts in the classroom, their academic progress and their participation and development in co-curriculum activities.
Deputy head Anna Wood, is overseeing the project. She said: “We really think it’s important to highlight the all-round nature of education and not lose sight of the whole child.
“Academic progress is clearly very important to us, but we also know that learning happens both inside and outside the classroom. We strongly believe education is more than just numbers and grades.
“Traditionally there’s been an academic curriculum and an extended curriculum – such as all the sports, music and drama clubs – but in reality, we’ve always seen it as one curriculum designed to bring the best out of each child.
“The Giggleswick Diploma ties it all together under one umbrella, with sufficient breadth and balance for each pupil to help them become a well-rounded individual.”
The independent school, which is set in 215 acres of glorious Yorkshire Dales countryside, offers a huge range of more than 70 co-curricular activities with its Creative, Active and Service (CAS) programme. As well as several team and individual sports, students can take part in art, languages, music, media, maths and drama clubs, participate in outdoor pursuits (including the school’s own mountain bike track), or be part of the Combined Cadet Force or Duke of Edinburgh Award.
To CAS, enrichment has been added (CASE) to become a super-curriculum. This brings in other clubs and societies, academic competitions, online learning and external commitments such as representing the county or region in sport or an orchestra.
Anna added: “The key message is we want to show each student that they’re valued, no matter what their strengths. We want everyone to participate in all areas of CASE to ensure that they have broad skills and to help develop their self-confidence.
“Our diploma recognises that our pupils are developing all aspects of our Learner Profile and will leave us as skilled, proactive, creative and resilient individuals.”
The diploma will be weighted at 70% for academic effort and progress, and 30% for CASE. Anna explained: “The majority of points will be achieved for academic effort and developing a strong work ethic, which is key to future success. One of my favourite phrases is ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’.
“We also want to develop a growth mindset that promotes acting on feedback to improve performance.”
There are four levels for the diploma – Foundation for the junior school, Lower School (Years 7 and 8), Middle School (Years 9, 10 and 11) and Sixth Form. Within each diploma stage there will be three levels of achievement – Pass, Merit and Distinction.
Anna said: “For the earlier years, we want the CASE participation to be wide across all areas, but if they have a particular talent for sport or music, in the advanced diploma pupils will be able to score double points in specialist areas.”
She added: “We really hope the diploma will be warmly welcomed by students and parents. It will be a great way to show their all-round education to prospective employers or universities, and give them something to show for everything else they do at school rather than just a piece of paper with their exam results.”