The West London Free School aims to be one of the best schools in the country, renowned for academic excellence, and capable of giving all children a classical liberal education, no matter what their background.
- High aspirations, with a firm emphasis on academic attainment
- A classical curriculum, including compulsory Latin up to the age of 14
- Strong discipline
- Small class sizes
- A competitive atmosphere, particularly when it comes to Games
- Outstanding pastoral care
- Active parental and community involvement
- Specialising in Music
- A broad range of extra-curricular activities
- Encourage all children to be confident, hard-working and ambitious, regardless of background
- Transmit a core body of knowledge to all pupils
- 100 per cent of pupils pass at least 8 GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths, English, English Literature, at least two Sciences and a Foreign Language
- Get as many pupils as possible to stay on in the Sixth Form and do a sufficiently demanding course of Sixth Form study to progress to a good university or embark on a good career
- Attract and retain outstanding teachers
A Classical Liberal Education
By a classical liberal education we mean a rigorous and extensive knowledge-based education that draws its material and methods from the best and most important work in both the humanities and the sciences. The aim of such an education is not primarily to prepare pupils for a job or career. It is more to transform their minds so that they are able to make reasonable and informed judgments and engage fruitfully in conversation and debate – not just about contemporary issues, but also about the universal questions that have been troubling mankind throughout history. We want children to leave our school with the confidence that comes from possessing a store of essential knowledge and the skills to use it. We believe that independence of mind, not compliance with socio-economic expectations, is the goal of a good education.
We believe the main focus of our curriculum should be on that common body of knowledge that, until recently, all schools were expected to teach. This is the background knowledge taken for granted by writers who address the intellectually engaged layman – the shared frames of reference for public discourse in modern liberal democracies. Sometimes referred to as “intellectual capital”, at other times as “cultural literacy”, this storehouse of general knowledge will enable all our pupils to grow to their full stature. Passing on this knowledge, as well as the ability to use it wisely, is what we mean by a classical liberal education.
Below is a list of some books which have influenced the philosophy and approach to teaching at our school.
- Christodoulou, D., Seven myths about education (Routledge, 2014)
- Hirsch, E. D., Cultural literacy: what every American needs to know (Random House, 1988)
- Hirsch, E. D., The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them (Anchor, 1999)
- Lemov, D., Teach Like a Champion 2.0 (Jossey-Bass, 2015)
- Peal, R., Progressively Worse: the burden of bad ideas in British schools (Civitas, 2014)
- Roediger, H. L., (et al), Make it stick: the science of successful learning (Harvard, 2014)
- Willingham, D. T., Why don’t children like school? (Jossey Bass, 2010)
7 Principles of a West London Free School Lesson
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