Too many schools put too much emphasis on IQ. They select pupils with this as their primary criterion, and once enrolled in such a school the child needs to adapt to the school’s modus operandi immediately, because few concessions are made for the frailties of the individual. This may suit some, but it does not suit all, even some very able children.
By contrast, in our view cognitive ability is not the only thing that determines a child’s life chances. It makes a considerable difference, and intelligence can change considerably through a person’s lifetime if stimulated appropriately, which not enough people realise, but instead it is one’s character and application that really shape one’s destiny.
This is an empowering message for children and their families. Character is not inherent; it is born of positive experiences and it can be taught. Character attributes of Fairness, Generosity, Empathy, Loyalty, Gratitude, Courage, Engagement, Creativity, Perseverance, Optimism, Self-control, and Curiosity are taught deliberately and with forethought in every lesson, in tutorial encounters and throughout our co-curriculum.
It is not enough to have an assembly once a week in which pupils are encouraged to be nice to each other. Instead, our rewards and sanctions, the way we praise and encourage day to day, and the way we respond to poor behaviour or attitude are underpinned by a Character Education philosophy. “What were you thinking?” is at LWC a helpful and constructive question, because our pupils know that their thoughts inform their actions, their actions their habits, their habits their character, and their character ultimately will determine their fortune.
If a child has the ability to cope with our broad curriculum, and manage 8 to 10 GCSEs as a standard, followed by 3 to 4 A levels, then Lord Wandsworth College can and will draw the best out of them.