“You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.”
– Martha Graham
Set upon 60-acres of stunning parkland just a 25-minute train ride from the buzz of Central London, Leighton Park School embodies the breadth, depth and quality that has become synonymous with UK education. Offering a distinct, co-educational boarding experience for students aged 11 to 18, Leighton Park celebrates student individuality and inspires them to become active learners who achieve their full potential.
Here, students benefit from a rigorous curriculum that is innovative and engaging, with the school fostering an ethos that urges them to think in an independent, critical and creative sense. It offers a wealth of options when it comes to crucial GCSE selection, while its visionary Sixth Form means students can customise their education to best suit their needs, selecting either the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBD) or A Levels. In the globally-reputed IBD, the school has been ranked in the UK’s top three for boarding schools hosting a small student cohort and top five overall, with around 20 students participating each year. The success of the school’s approach is demonstrated by 94% of its Sixth Formers achieving their first university choice last year.
One thing that separates Leighton Park from other schools in the region is its exceptional infusion of STEAM; a natural progression of the traditional STEM strategy, which emphasises student interaction with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths-based disciplines, to also focus on the Arts. This approach complements the school’s particular strengths in the sciences, mathematics and the creative arts, including music, film and art.
By hosting a number of innovative, cross-cutting programmes, the school prepares students for success in an ever-changing world, where many jobs in today’s diverse employment market may no longer exist in 30-years’ time. As such, Leighton Park’s STEAM programme takes a problem-solving, interdisciplinary approach, instilling students with the tools needed to develop solutions to today’s most pressing issues.
“Although there is a greater national drive to promote STEM-related disciplines…at Leighton Park we have extended this into a new ‘AGE of STEAM’, placing the Arts at the centre of STEM,” says Karen Gracie-Langrick, the school’s Deputy Head of Academic Studies.
“We strongly support a curriculum within which students have access to arts and creativity, gaining the knowledge, skills and experience, which is made possible by the performing and visual arts, film and cultural learning,” she explains. “As noted by the Cultural Learning Alliance, 2017,” she adds, “there is a strong connection between arts education and increasing opportunities for children to meet their potential, raise engagement and self-esteem.”
The school’s overall synergy with the blossoming STEAM community is undoubtedly gaining pace. It already hosts its own STEM Hub in collaboration with STEM Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire; an event attended by industry leaders and key professionals from the likes of Cisco, INTEL, BION and Pfizer. On top of this, alliances with experts from UTC Reading, Reading Girl’s School and Kendrick bolsters ground-breaking initiatives to encourage young women to get into STEM, empowering female participants through events like the IET Women in STEM talks.
In alignment with Leighton Park’s integration of the Arts within the traditional STEM structure, the school has also forged creative links with Pinewood Studios, Yamaha and the National Film and Television School (NFTS), the likes of which you’d be hard-pushed to find anywhere else in the world.
Leighton Park’s adoption of STEAM ensures students receive an equal balance of problems-based and creative education, cementing its position as a pioneer of innovation. The deliverance of well-rounded education in a holistic learning environment highlights the school’s dedication to student achievement and success.
But Leighton Park stands out in plenty more ways than one; established 125-years ago on the respected principles of Quakerism, the institution fosters the ideals that are deemed great practice for any forward-thinking school. By demonstrating valuable traits like respect, integrity, simplicity, equality, peace, truth and sustainability, students here are granted the ultimate foundation for a fulfilling adult life.
This unique teaching strategy imbues a sense of leadership, critical thinking and risk-taking in all students, inspiring them to be a force for good in a fast-moving world, all the while embodying the school’s Quaker ethos.
The very essence of Quakerism is to comprehend the causes of social injustice, social unrest and fear, and working hard to nurture a just and compassionate society that values every person and encourages them to value individual strengths. From this derives an innate desire to serve those most in need; a passion deeply ingrained in the school’s CAS (Community, Action and Service) programme.
As a co-educational boarding school, the average day at Leighton Park runs from 7.30am-9pm, giving boarding and day students the time to learn, reflect and try new things. A central Quaker value lies in living adventurously, with an impressive co-curricular programme that gives students the chance to discover and develop their most impassioned talents through the medium of academic study, sport, school trips, the arts, or via the school’s comprehensive skills development programmes.
“Our positive approach to life and education provides us with the energy and enthusiasm to look for the good in each individual,” Nigel Williams, Head of the School concludes.
“This prepares well-rounded and confident students with the wide variety of skills and experience so valued by universities and employers,” he adds. “Through their academic endeavour, sport participation, charity work and event organisation, our students become self-motivated and fully equipped with the skills they need to succeed in their future studies and careers.”