GST Heads build their schools’ identity and vision on the three shared pillars of proud traditions, wide horizons and high achievement. Each school is very different but has palpable family resemblance expressed in many ways including:
- the quality of relationships
- the expectation that every pupil will reach national norms as a minimum
- a constantly developing physical environment.
All Heads have the support of a dedicated education lead and access to the whole HQ team.
GST schools do not teach young people to know their place, but rather to discover their talents and passions and to take their places in society, making a difference through leadership and service wherever their futures may take them.
GST staff build aspiration amongst students to be the next generation of artists, scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, sports professionals and political and business leaders. Breadth of provision and diversity of ambition go hand in hand.
The success of this approach is evidenced in the fact that pupil progress is ‘good’ in all GST schools and in more than half it is ‘outstanding’. At the outset we took on eight schools in failing categories and three requiring improvement. Now four schools have been judged securely ‘good’ by Ofsted and we await their validation of our judgement that at least two are outstanding. None is in a failing category.
Our financial management is of a high quality, evidenced in two consecutive unqualified audits from one of the leaders in the field.
We take a strategic approach to asset management with an estate plan designed to deliver the Trust’s vision using the principles of ISO 55000.
Our board has strength in education, enhanced by strategic, commercial and financial expertise.
As a Trust we share a conviction that great schools are built on rich extra curricular programmes and high quality pastoral care as well as an inspiring curriculum, expertly taught. We know there are no limits for pupils and staff where commitment and enjoyment go together.
Throughout the year there are a number of Trust-wide events that each school takes part in:
The Griffin Sports Festival, hosted by Nicholas Chamberlaine School and led by our Director of Sport with a staff team from every school. Five ‘new’ sports form the basis of fierce inter-school competition and the event is officiated by representatives of national sports bodies
Shakespeare Schools Festival, a National Theatre project which sees every school direct and produce a Shakespeare Play which is performed in a public theatre. This is led by our Director of Performance with a staff team in every school.
The Pantomime. A partnership with Greenwich Theatre, with a professional cast supported by three teams of Stantonbury International School students and performed in the SIS theatre, the GST pantomime is attended by children from every school as well as being hugely popular with residents of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area.
Founders Day, raising funds to support a cause chosen by students and connected with the theme of the year. In every school the day centres on community: what it means to be a part of GST and on citizenship so that students experience in practice the difference they can make individually and collectively. This often lights leadership sparks in our pupils.
The Griffin Science Symposium is hosted by Stantonbury International School and revolves around the theme of the year. Eminent scientists come from the John Innes Centre and the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London to give lively talks, demonstrations and workshops to students in years 6 and 7 from all schools
The Griffin Arts Festival (GAF), established in 2014. All schools run two weeks of events which include performances and activities open to their local communities. In addition, Year 5 and 12 students compete for places to enjoy the London Experience hosted by Willow Brook and Riverley: 5 days of intensive visits to national arts venues, workshops with professional choreographers, performances by poets and musicians, a student-composed opera (with help from our Director of Music) and art exhibitions and workshops in collaboration with well-known galleries led by our Director of Art. The London week ends with our very own Last Night of the Proms concert which itself is preceded by performances from our schools.
So, every year children know what they have to look forward to in terms of Trust-wide experiences as well as a host of in-school events and activities. By the time they leave primary school, pupils have begun to discover their inner musician, artist, poet, scientist, philosopher, sportsperson or campaigner. That voyage of discovery continues at our secondary schools, which is why the GST strategy is to have through education in all our geographical locations so we truly build foundations for life.