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Case study | Sawston Village College | ASPIRE Framework

“The difference in me is phenomenal”. This is how one pupil described the impact of the character-building education at Sawston Village College. The school culture is built around the principles of the ASPIRE ethos. Devised by staff and pupils, ASPIRE represents the qualities the school team has identified as essential for their pupils to succeed in school, further education, employment and the wider community: Achieving, Self-motivated, Positive, Independent, Respectful and Engaged. ASPIRE permeates life, work and learning at Sawston. It informs teaching and learning (in particular, supporting pupils to become independent, self-motivated learners), pastoral care and extra-curricular provision.
 
ASPIRE is promoted throughout pupils’ life at Sawston; in fact, beginning at primary school. The extensive ASPIRE-themed transition programme involves all local Y5 and Y6 pupils. Y7 induction activities give pupils time to reflect on what ASPIRE means for them; the Learn to Learn programme is designed to help Y7 pupils develop the ASPIRE qualities. Pupils follow an arts and sports-themed programme that builds mutual respect and a positive attitude to challenges and new experiences. All summer school pupils earn their Bronze Arts Award even before they start of“The difference in me is phenomenal”. This is how one pupil described the impact of the character-building education at Sawston Village College. The school culture is built around the principles of the ASPIRE ethos. Devised by staff and pupils, ASPIRE represents the qualities the school team has identified as essential for their pupils to succeed in school, further education, employment and the wider community: Achieving, Self-motivated, Positive, Independent, Respectful and Engaged. ASPIRE permeates life, work and learning at Sawston. It informs teaching and learning (in particular, supporting pupils to become independent, self-motivated learners), pastoral care and extra-curricular provision.
 
ASPIRE is promoted throughout pupils’ life at Sawston; in fact, beginning at primary school. The extensive ASPIRE-themed transition programme involves all local Y5 and Y6 pupils. Y7 induction activities give pupils time to reflect on what ASPIRE means for them; the Learn to Learn programme is designed to help Y7 pupils develop the ASPIRE qualities. Pupils follow an arts and sports-themed programme that builds mutual respect and a positive attitude to challenges and new experiences. All summer school pupils earn their Bronze Arts Award even before they start officially in Y7. Parents, too, attend a closing celebration event.
 
The ASPIRE values are presented on every page of pupil planners, promotional posters are in every classroom, they are built into the curriculum and pastoral care, and weekly assemblies are built around ASPIRE values, illustrated with real life case studies, philosophical context and practical advice.
 
Student leadership is a considerable strength of the college. The character-building Arts Award is available to all pupils in the school, requiring independent leadership of primary pupils. The Pupil Forum gives authority and autonomy to pupils. Initially, there were three forums, each with a different focus area; now there are seven, with all four new forums established by students in the areas of international affairs, human rights, sport and the arts.ficially in Y7. Parents, too, attend a closing celebration event.
 
The ASPIRE values are presented on every page of pupil planners, promotional posters are in every classroom, they are built into the curriculum and pastoral care, and weekly assemblies are built around ASPIRE values, illustrated with real life case studies, philosophical context and practical advice.
 
Student leadership is a considerable strength of the college. The character-building Arts Award is available to all pupils in the school, requiring independent leadership of primary pupils. The Pupil Forum gives authority and autonomy to pupils. Initially, there were three forums, each with a different focus area; now there are seven, with all four new forums established by students in the areas of international affairs, human rights, sport and the arts.
 
The rewards and celebration culture at Sawston is also based upon the ASPIRE values. Pupils earn credits for demonstrating ASPIRE qualities in lessons and around the school. Half-termly celebration assemblies publicly celebrate these achievements and the annual Rotary-sponsored Community Spirit Award is given to the student who has shown the most selfless initiative and dedication to school and community activities.
 

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