Leighton Park wins national Award for Excellence

29 Nov 2022

Leighton Park has won the national Independent Schools Association (ISA) Award for Excellence in Pupil Personal Development 2022. This is a tremendous validation for the School’s values-led approach, based on Achievement with Values, Character and Community.

In a fast-changing world, it is incumbent on schools to think about how they can best prepare students to succeed, to innovate and to play an active role in tackling the challenges they see around them in the world.

Leighton Park Herts National AwardCommenting on the award Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, CEO of ISA commented: “Leighton Park School inspires the changemakers of tomorrow with their values-based education. This is an ethos that runs throughout the whole school. In the lower school students learn about the importance of personal mindset, at GCSE level pupils investigate global perspectives and young people in the Sixth Form benefit from a character-driven programme. Students are encouraged to understand different worldviews and reflect upon this. Their commitment to the personal development of students is outstanding and is deeply rooted within both the curriculum and extra-curricular activities.”

As well as offering significant programmes for pupil personal development at every stage, from Year 7 to Upper Sixth, Leighton Park supports students to reflect on their own progress and values, and set personal targets. We were the first pilot school in the world to test, feedback and develop the values-based, goal-setting features of youHQ.co.uk – an innovative digital personal development app. This programme works hand in glove with the School’s commitment to supporting the wider community – with Leighton Park winning the national ISA Award for Outstanding Local Community Involvement in both 2021 and 2020. Programmes include our Sports Leaders Award and our Literacy Changemakers programme, where our students support younger children in local primary schools.

Students have relished the opportunities to develop their leadership and volunteering skills in the community, as well as supporting them to develop a strong sense of self and benefit from the proven boost to wellbeing of knowing that they have helped others. 90% of our students reported that they believed that focusing on their personal development has made them more motivated to further improve their own personal skills and attributes, while 94% of teachers believed the process had helped facilitate meaningful data-driven discussions with their tutees about personal development.

Matthew Judd – Head, commented: “This is an amazing outcome and external validation for Leighton Park and reflects the hard work of the entire community to ensure that pupil wellbeing and progress is at the heart of everything that we do.”

Nicky Hardy – Deputy Head Pastoral, enthused: “I am thrilled that our bold, strategic approach to pupil personal development has been nationally recognised. Our fantastic staff deliver an abundance of  first class personal development opportunities in and outside of the curriculum.  Students are given dedicated time to reflect upon their own character and to develop an authentic desire to serve and support their community.”

Leighton Park has received several accolades in the last two years. The most recent UK Government analysis shows that the school’s Sixth Form leavers achieve the best academic progress in Berkshire, while the Independent Schools Inspectorate awarded it Double Excellent in January 2022 – the highest possible attainment for an independent school. The School was awarded Best Co-ed School 2021, South East England in the Education and Training Awards, while also picking up the national Independent Schools Association (ISA) Award for Outstanding Local Community Involvement for the second year running. In 2020, the school won the national Award for Excellence in STEAM Education – reflecting the school’s strong reputation for teaching creative problem-solving – combining the analytical skills from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), with creativity from the Arts.