Head's Introduction

We are Change Makers

Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, Head

This is an important moment for Stowe as we look ahead to the next 100 years and it is with great enthusiasm that we present our vision for the Stowe Group.

Change Makers effect a lasting and positive impact on their school and society. Stowe’s history of progressive and enlightened thinking has inspired our strategic planning which has been developed in extensive collaboration with pupils, teachers, support staff, parents and governors.

It is our ambition to create Change Makers: future-proofing pupils so that they are agile, ambitious and ready to face the challenges presented by a volatile, unstable, complex and challenging world. Our pupils will continue to excel in exams and will compete for places at the most competitive universities, but they will also be furnished with a tool-kit which prepares them not just for a life of tests, but the tests of life.

Stowe has been sustained by the strength of our proposition: we firmly believe that everyone has the potential for excellence – the jewel within – waiting to be unearthed, burnished and then dazzling the world. Stowe is set in the most sublime surroundings and is the most perfectly preserved example of the jardin anglais. The place is infused with the spirit of the Enlightenment which balances rights and responsibilities, equality and inclusion, so that we treat each and every pupil as individuals.

We are committed to academic excellence in teaching and learning and pupils routinely exceed initial expectations. Intellectual enquiry, academic curiosity and love of learning lie at the heart of education in the Stowe Group. The curriculum has been carefully designed to promote critical thinking, independent learning, creativity, innovation, breadth and depth. We stretch and challenge Change Makers to prepare them for entry to the best universities in the world and equip them to flourish and thrive as adults.

The Stowe Award encourages everyone to participate in sport, art, drama, music, taking advantage of the plethora of exciting co-curricular opportunities: we want Change Makers to experience the state of flow which comes from complete immersion in an activity or task. There is a strong tradition of service as pupils develop a lasting sense of moral and spiritual responsibility within a caring pastoral environment: Change Makers consider the rights and needs of others and strive to become the best version of themselves: their aim is to make the world a better place.

Change 100 demonstrates the Stowe Group’s commitment to social mobility by raising an endowment of £100m to fully fund 100 life-changing bursaries. These bursaries create transformational opportunities for pupils who would not otherwise be able to access a Stowe education. The Stowe Group benefits from this influx of talent and society gains as our Change 100 beneficiaries fulfil their potential to become Change Makers.

A culture of continuous improvement has fuelled our success – a commitment to local, national and international partnerships; engaging in dialogue with all our stakeholders, responding positively to constructive criticism and using marginal gain theory to measure incremental progress; a belief that intelligence is not fixed – everyone is born curious and we learn through trial and error; learning is learnable and we can succeed and flourish if we develop the appropriate competencies and skills. The best teachers inspire their pupils by lighting fires, not filling buckets, and we take pride in our culture of coaching and mentoring – the guide by the side, not the sage on stage.

Character can be taught, sought and caught when schools prioritise virtues such as grit, resilience, conscientiousness, empathy, gratitude, humility and respect. Everyone understands that it is what we are able do for ourselves which determines our levels of success: we abhor a culture of learned dependency while ensuring that pupils and staff have the support they need to thriveOur signature Wellness Programme helps everyone develop their self-awareness and emotional health.

Stowe’s talented and committed workforce is our greatest strength: teachers pass on their love of learning by providing expert subject knowledge and guidance in a safe, nurturing environment which prioritises pastoral care, personal development and individual well-being. The Stowe Group recruits, retains and develops outstanding teachers and support staff who work to deliver the Change Maker ethos: we change ourselves, then change others and together we can change the world.