Aims and Ethos
“…highly satisfied parents tell us the school not only finds something each child is good at but does so with aplomb.” The Good Schools Guide
Bishop’s Stortford College is a wonderful place of learning – a place where children have exceptional opportunities to become fulfilled, skilful and happy young people. Ensuring this process of all-round growth - academically, morally, spiritually, athletically, and creatively - is our aim.
Every pupil is encouraged, taught and challenged to fulfil their true potential, by being immersed in an environment of discovery and wholehearted participation. We strive to allow time and space for academic work to be balanced by sport, music, drama, and a diverse choice of other activities including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme in the Senior School, service to the community and opportunities for leadership.
We hope that an appreciation and a love of creativity will remain with them for the rest of their lives, and we make sure that each pupil has the chance to join in and try new experiences, whatever their abilities and interests.
Our aim is that our young people, as the result of an education here, should be able to contribute constructively to society and play a full role in it, whatever their chosen path.
"The ethos created reflects the placing of strong personal development and high achievement in fields academic, creative, sporting or musical at the heart of the College’s vision and practice." ISI Inspection Report
Promotion of British Values
Bishop's Stortford College recognises not only the importance of allowing pupils to flourish academically but we also embrace our wider role in preparing them for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum. Part of our role in that preparation is ensuring that we promote and reinforce British values to our pupils; democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs as part of Building Confidence for Life.
Appetite for Learning
Confidence lies at the heart of successful learning.
Small classes, an emphasis on individual needs and teachers who will go that extra mile ensure that every pupil at Bishop’s Stortford College, from Pre-Prep School to Sixth Form, receives the time and attention needed to develop the confidence and desire to learn for life.
Your child will be surrounded by adults who love to learn, love to share their learning and strive for the very best in all they do. The enthusiasm and example of our teachers, in class and beyond, is inspiring and underpins the College’s vibrant atmosphere.
"Pupils are avid and enthusiastic learners. They think critically and creatively, showing a spirit of enquiry and a thirst for knowledge." ISI Report 2011 – Pre-Prep School & Junior School (now known as Prep School)
"The quality of teaching is excellent, enabling the pupils to achieve high standards in their learning." ISI Report 2011 – Senior School
"Pupils have a real appetite for hard work and their efforts are rewarded…" Good Schools Guide
Breadth of Experience
Breadth of experience is woven into daily life at Bishop’s Stortford College. As a day pupil or boarder your child will be immersed in an environment of wholehearted participation and discovery.
There is time and space to pursue high academic standards whilst enjoying a wide involvement in sport, music, visual arts, drama and many other activities.
Horizons are widened beyond our campus by a wealth of trips and expeditions, either to enhance academic learning, to contribute, in the Senior School, to The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, or for sheer enjoyment and shared experience.
We take great pride in our sporting heritage and a successful record and reputation, founded on the principles of excellence and enjoyment. Pupils at Bishop’s Stortford College benefit from expert coaching and outstanding facilities.
Our aim is to strike a balance between excelling at the highest level with our most talented pupils whilst ensuring that every pupil has the opportunity to benefit from good coaching and to succeed. Whilst striving for success, all pupils learn that fair play and good manners are just as important as winning.
To play sport well takes commitment, discipline and adaptability. To refuse to give up in the face of defeat takes determination and perseverance. At whichever level it is played, sport at the College aims to build true character, the benefits of which are taken into life well beyond school.
Please explore the various sections of the College for more detailed information about the various sporting opportunities at the College, and in particular, our Elite Sports Programme.
“With the encouragement of the coach, my talent was spotted and developed so I now play in the College A team and for the County.” Louise
In our family of three schools, each part has its own distinctive character, shares a common caring ethos and provides a wonderful continuity of education, without losing the excitement of moving to the next stage.
Children learn their attitudes, values and approach to life at least as much from observing those around them as from textbooks. We believe that cultivating a sense of belonging and spending time with good role models are essential ingredients to your child’s development as a person.
Given the diversity within the College, there is huge scope for bringing different people of different ages together to learn from each other and enjoy each other’s company.
Sixth Formers volunteer to give up an hour of their time each week to mentor and inspire our younger pupils in the Senior School. Senior School pupils helping in Pre-Prep School or taking over the reins of a Prep School history lesson to teach a shared curriculum topic, Prep School pupils mentoring their younger “French Buddies”, reading with Pre-Prep School pupils and musicians of all ages coming together for the annual Ensembles Concert are just a few examples.
Such encounters are inspirational and empowering for all concerned… the younger ones look up to and love the older ones’ attention; the older ones love the feeling of being able to share their knowledge and experience.
"...pupils have a wonderful skill-set: a combination of confidence without arrogance, considered intelligence, an appetite for hard-work and play, and a seemingly refreshing openness." Good Schools Guide
"Within this environment, we aim to develop well-rounded, adaptable and interesting young people who are confident but not arrogant, self-assured but not complacent, and who have a sense of responsibility and care towards others." Head of the Junior School (now known as Prep School)
"One of the special things at the College is the relationship between staff and pupils. The teachers are really supportive and friendly. They always seem to find the time to help you." Eleanor
Nurturing the Spirit
Since its foundation in 1868, Bishop’s Stortford College has had its roots in the Christian faith.
In this less certain age young people often have a less well defined faith or none at all. Encouraging all our pupils to address their core values, both ethical and spiritual, through dialogue and debate is an important part of our work, overseen by our College Chaplain.
A forward-looking attitude blended with the timeless values of integrity, loyalty, responsibility, courtesy and consideration nurtures a natural awareness and concern for the needs of others. A concern that is reflected through both small everyday gestures and large scale local and global projects; a concern that extends well beyond school life.
"Spiritual awareness is outstanding. Pupils demonstrate a well-developed sense of identity in a safe and secure environment that allows them to be themselves." ISI Inspection 2011, Senior School
Matters of Faith
The College is proud of its Christian heritage and seeks to promote matters of faith from a non-denominational perspective that is sensitive towards pupils of other faiths and none.
Morning Assemblies are led on a weekly rota by the Headmaster and Chaplain, and may involve input from other members of staff as well as presentations by students and occasional visiting speakers.
Staff are expected to attend school assemblies in the Memorial Hall on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays. Gowns should be worn for these occasions. Academic hoods are generally only worn on Speech Day at the end of the Summer Term.
Matters of faith are presented in a way that invites students to listen to the faith of others, ask questions and reflect on their own faith journey in an open-minded way.
Discussion is warmly encouraged. The aim is to help students develop an appreciation of Christian beliefs and its role in the making of our society, whilst supporting them in their everyday life.
The College strongly believes that faith and service to others go hand in hand, thus there is a strong ethic of encouraging students to serve and consider others in the College, local and worldwide communities.
Although the College has a Non-conformist foundation, the present Chaplain is not affiliated to any one denomination and is keen to work with members from all walks of faith. Consequently he has links with other denominational church leaders in the town and is keen to point parents in the right direction if their children are considering confirmation.
Pupils, staff and parents are warmly invited to join with the boarding community in attending the Boarders’ Evening Service which takes place at 6.15pm every Sunday during term. There is also a weekly prayer breakfast for staff on Wednesday mornings in the dining room and an opportunity for prayer and meditation in REST on Friday lunchtimes. Twice a term on Saturday mornings the Chaplain hosts a parents’ prayer breakfast in REST.
In addition to formal gatherings, the Chaplain is available to all members of the College community as a place where matters of faith, the heart and mind can be discussed confidentially.
Upon the College Crest are the Latin inscriptions; ‘VERBUM DEI’ – the Word of God & ‘SOLI DEO GLORIA’ – Glory to God alone; a clear declaration that Bishop's Stortford College’s foundation is firmly set upon Christ’s teaching and Christian principles. It was founded in 1868 by a group of prominent Nonconformists who wanted to establish a public school “in which Evangelical Nonconformists might secure for their boys an effective and Christian education on terms that should not be beyond the reach of the middle class generally”.
From the start, its founders worked to break down barriers between people and to respect individual conscience, as it sought to provide a “religious and liberal education”, which was reflected in its combination of boarding and day pupils and determination to play a role in the local community.
Whilst the world has changed drastically in a century and a half, the founding principles of the College founders underpins all that we seek to do in the chaplaincy, offering a relevant and understandable exploration of the Christian faith whilst breaking down the barriers within and outside the College. The Chaplaincy Centre welcomes all of any faith or none.
The Chaplain is Ian Morris (aka “Mogs” in the Prep School or “Mr. M” in the Pre-Prep).
Marks of Chaplaincy Life
The Chaplain’s work is governed by the overarching principle of demonstrating Faith In Action. His role is to walk alongside, listen to, encourage and support the pupils, parents & staff of Bishop’s Stortford College. In addition to ad hoc and arranged individual tête-à-têtes, the Chaplain provides opportunities for members of the College to see and hear Faith In Action by participating in a range of activities from prayer to practical service.
The Chaplain’s role is governed by four marks:
Support - Whether you belong to a religious tradition or not, the Chaplain is available for you. If you would like to see the Chaplain confidentially, just ring (838673) or drop in to REST. If he can't see you right away, the Chaplain will make an appointment.
Prayer - The Chaplain will always be pleased to pray for, or with, you. Requests for prayer can be made in person or by email. The Chaplain leads the staff prayers on Wednesday from 7.30am during breakfast in the dining room and over lunch on Fridays in REST. Twice a term there is a Parents’ Prayer Breakfast in REST on Saturday mornings from 8.30-9.30am. All parents who would like to pray for the College or receive prayer are very welcome to join us for croissants and bacon rolls.
Teaching - The Chaplain is primarily a teacher, who has the privilege of teaching children across different age groups in the classroom and assembly halls.
Worship - There are weekly Chaplain’s assemblies in each of the three schools of the College, and a Sunday Evening Service which usually meets in the Memorial Hall. There are also other services to mark special events:
WoT! Prep School Assembly
WoT! (Worship on Thursday) is a lively assembly hosted by the Chaplain’s alter ego, “Mogs”. Game shows, stunts and drama are used to look at how faith impacts our lives and the world around us.
- WoW! Pre-Prep Assembly
WoW! (Worship on Wednesday) is led by “Mr M” where tales and themes from the bible are brought to life for the youngest members of the College.
- Senior School Assembly
The Chaplain leads Senior School assemblies on Tuesday mornings. Senior School assemblies are more formal in style that seek to raise questions for the school to contemplate as well as looking at contemporary issues from a Christian perspective.
- Boarders’ Evening Service
On Sunday evenings, the boarders (and anyone one else from the College Community) have the opportunity to meet in a relaxed setting and participate in a blend of formal and informal styles of worship and reflective, meditative experiences.
The Chaplaincy Mission Statement
We actively encourage an open and friendly atmosphere where all views are respected in a spirit of generous hospitality. We seek to be positively involved in all areas of the College and to work in close liaison with student support services.
The Chaplaincy at BSC focuses on four interrelated areas:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care...not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be” (1 Peter 5.2); caring for all, especially those in any kind of need.
Whilst recognising the excellent and invaluable work done by other pastoral agencies, the Chaplaincy will always want to offer spiritual support to students and staff. The Chaplaincy does not offer a professional counselling service, but recognises that those who choose to seek help at the Chaplaincy might do so because they are looking for spiritual support and a less formal approach to listening. The Chaplaincy will always want to affirm the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, but will also want to help people find their own spiritual path.
The Chaplain will:
- Provide a welcoming and safe environment for all Chaplaincy users
- Be available to listen and/or offer spiritual counsel to any who ask for it.
- Co-operate with all student support services
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John1.14); demonstrating that no one is so ordinary that they cannot become extraordinary when the life of Christ is recognised in them.
The Chaplaincy is at the heart of the College and is a visible reminder of our Christian history and heritage. In recognition of this the Chaplaincy has a special responsibility to find appropriate and relevant opportunities for worship and prayer, and personal and public celebrations and commemorations.
The Chaplain will:
- Provide appropriate and relevant opportunities for worship and prayer, drawing on the rich resources of traditional and contemporary forms.
- Lead, support and promote College charitable activities.
- Keep the profile of the Chaplaincy high by being visible around the College and keeping publicity up to date.
“And whether they listen or fail to listen...they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 2.5); speaking the truth without fear or favour in all circumstances, particularly when speaking up for marginalised and unrepresented groups.
Chaplaincy has a special responsibility to speak for the Christian foundation and ethos of the College in the life and structure of the institution and to remind the institution of its obligation to reflect the values and teaching of Christ. This will mean being a ‘voice of conscience’ in the institution’s life and ethos by standing up for what is right, especially when internal politics and personal interest might only produce what is expedient, and speaking out for those who might find themselves marginalised by the institution.
The Chaplaincy will
- Actively participate in the formal and informal structures of the College.
- Support those campaigns, charities and missions which highlight those who are most in need
4. Teaching & Learning
“faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10.17); encourage and build up in faith in others by teaching the Good News of Christ to any who desire to hear it.
Chaplaincy has a special responsibility to offer Christian teaching; for those who are already committed Christians that teaching must challenge and inform so that faith can be strengthened and deepened; for those who are enquiring about faith that teaching must help them discover the Christian faith for themselves; for members of other faith communities there must be the space and support to learn about their own faith in a safe environment; and for the institution there must be relevant faith based information that will raise the level of religious literacy across the institution.
The Chaplain will:
- Provide opportunities for enquirers to encounter Christian teaching including enquirer courses
- Be a resource for religious literacy across the institution.
- Provide opportunities to share Christian teaching in each of the schools and seek to engage with the local community
Ian Morris July 2018