Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
About Wallingford School
Wallingford itself is a medieval market town on one of the most attractive stretches of the River Thames, the surrounding villages are equally beautiful. It is a thriving part of England and a popular destination for those seeking peace and quiet. The beautiful and historic city of Oxford is a short bus ride away, as is Reading with its busy town centre. We are also an hour’s drive from London for those who enjoy visiting the capital.
Our school is a five minute walk from the town centre, but the site is a very private and pleasant one, where people can feel safe and enjoy their free time. We became a single school site in 1997, so our buildings are in relatively good condition.
This school was established in Wallingford 350 years ago by the merchant tailor Walter Bigg who wanted to endow a school associated with the parish church of St Mary’s. He was born and raised locally and went on to be elected Lord Mayor of London. Although he made good he never forgot his roots and was keen to help others. He left us a trust fund that still exists for the benefit of our young people. We hope to encourage a similar desire to serve the community in our current students. We are proud to have maintained our links with the Merchant Taylor’s Company in the City of London continuously since 1659.
Our community has a strong sense of tradition and high expectations of the school. They, as with all parents, want their children to be safe, happy and successful. We believe we serve the community well, and our students are our best advertisements. They are generally confident, articulate, pleasant and positive about their learning. We do cater for the full range of ability, and some of our students need a hand to make sense of the world, but they are catered for without compromising the learning of others and a very small part of the whole in comparison with most schools. The social mix of the school enables us to teach without worrying about conduct, and lets students enjoy learning within the context of purposeful and pleasant relationships.
We want to send every young person into the world able and qualified to play their full part in it.
Mission statements tend to be very worthy and long. As a consequence few people remember what they are or can state the beliefs that underpin them. Ours can be distilled into two words; able and qualified.
This demonstrates our desire to marry the two principal features of school life; pastoral and curricular.
We want to help develop happy, healthy, positive and well-motivated young people. To achieve this we offer all sorts of opportunities that add to the school experience. We believe in the power of sport to motivate many people, we know how big an impact music can have and we are strong advocates of the learning that takes place in clubs, on day visits and residential trips. We also offer young people the chance to accept adult responsibility as they go through school via councils, prefects and school officers.
We hold that there are such things as right and wrong and good people always try to choose the former, while the latter brings unpleasant consequences.
Those who do their best to act properly, and value their own achievements and talent, are well equipped to lead successful and happy lives.
Results matter a great deal to young people and their families. A community such as ours is capable of achieving excellent results year on year. Our most able academics should be able to compete for places at the very best universities and those with talents elsewhere should have access to as many choices as possible. Many people get on in life by developing skills that do not lead to examination success, but many more successful people do well at school too.
Whatever else we do in school we owe it to families to deliver the best results possible and this is a constant focus of ours. In order to achieve our mission we insist on old-fashioned high standards of discipline with consequences for those who do not respect others or their learning. We try to deliver lessons in an interesting way that takes account of advanced theories of learning and support this with a programme of high calibre professional development for teachers. What goes on in classrooms is our main focus as it obviously leads to well qualified youngsters and our classrooms are orderly, well managed, challenging and usually great fun to be in.