Lancing College – A Coherent Educational Philosophy

Lancing College – A Coherent Educational Philosophy

Lancing is first and foremost a college in the sense that life here is collegiate – we all care about each other and look to support and develop each member of our collegiate community. It is also, essentially, a boarding school where all, irrespective of where they lay their heads at night, benefit from the all-inclusive care and support of a boarding education.

It’s difficult to quantify the magic of a Lancing education. It’s more than the sum of its parts and it is the safe and supportive environment in which students grow that allows them to become dynamic, adventurous, caring individuals, each on their own incredible journey. Underpinning this, however, is a coherent view of what education is about and how the various elements of a Lancing Education cohere and combine to allow each to grown in their own way.

The Core

At the heart of what Lancing does is the sense of community and collective support that lays central to the Lancing experience. This expresses itself in numerous ways:

  • The boarding house at the heart of all we do – meeting children from other schools, fostering and continuing links from old school too if this is desirable, continuity of care, support and guidance of older students, highly attractive place to live – a home away from home.
  • Partnership between family and school 
  • Membership of a year group
  • The chapel and the spiritual life of the school
  • Our embodiment of Woodard values as senior school
  • Our family of schools and our lifelong commitment to our relationship 

Essential attributes of learning

These are core threads that run throughout the school and which cohere with our programme of pastoral care to ensure continuity of personal development whatever the academic programme, preferences and attainment of the individual student. They include:

  • Personal reflection and target setting – we ask students – and formalise it via reporting, to assess their own strengths and weaknesses and to seek a programme of personal development over the time with us, to grow as reflective individuals.
  • We support this via the presence of a personal tutor – they have a dedicated, timetabled slot at least once per week and often meet more regularly than this. Parents and HMMs in communication with this person from early choices about GCSE options to university preparation and individual support and extension.
  • A dedicated ‘learning to learn’ programme – formalised as a timetabled class initially and then embedded in departments, allows tuition and practice of the core attributes of successful scholarly practice e.g. how to find, assess, interrogate and use information sources, how to reason, organise one’s studies, work with others. For those with a specific learning difficulty, this is augmented by a further personalised programme of support.
  • A dedicated personal, health, social and economic programme also timetabled and specifically taught, complemented by learning to learn and tutorial systems but also complemented by sessions for parents, guardians and teachers too. A wide range of outside experts also come in.

The Academic Programme

Lancing is a place of scholarship where students learn with integrity. We teach students to think deeply, for themselves and for the right reasons, underpinned by the essential attributes of learning above. The college is no exam factory and teachers do not simply teach to the test. Our learning is deeper, excellent examination results a wonderful by-product of the more profound and long-lasting scholarly rigour that underpins all we do.

Flexibility and optimal challenge for each student allows all to get the best education possible. At A Level, for example, a student may study anything from three, four or five A Level subjects up to the end of their final year, with the addition of an Extended Project qualification as a supplement or a replacement for an A Level within these parameters. The emphasis is on a dynamic, challenging and supportive curriculum, not a ‘one size fits all’ model.

Integral to the Lancing academic programme at all year groups is the central place that we place on independent learning projects such as our Third Form Project programme, the many opportunities to produce independent subject projects in the GCSE programme, the Heresy Project in the Lower Sixth, winning Oxbridge and other essay prizes and competitions and the wide array of Extended Projects produced by Sixth Formers.

The Co-Curriculum

Learning in a vibrant boarding school suffuses all of the elements of college life. In order to become the impressive people who go on to lead fulfilling and successful lives, our students have to experience a number of life changing opportunities. We give great thought to our wider curriculum, the co-curriculum, offering a vast array of opportunities. We have identified the following areas as places where we seek to offer all students challenges and opportunities:

  • Spirituality – the annual chapel life of the college; a considerable array of visiting speakers including an increasing range of speakers of other faiths, traditions and perspectives; pilgrimages; opportunities for personal reflection and retreat; confirmation classes; funded travel scholarships to allow personal reflection.
  • Physicality of course, competition is good but we view the physical challenges as being sometimes collaborative particularly via team endeavours but, moreover, always a chance to compete within oneself, to develop personally, be that as a member of a national or international side or, for example, in recreational rock-climbing or equestrianism. Physical challenge is about gaining health, well-being and personal growth.
  • Creativity is an area where we believe all can benefit. At Lancing, our musical, artistic and dramatic traditions are longstanding but the wider embracing of creative approaches to life might include creative and dramatic writing, engineering and design projects, journalism, coding and entrepreneurship to name but a few of the opportunities for creative thought and expression that Lancing life is all about.
  • Leadership and collaboration – takes many forms and we are encourage all of our students to be leaders and members of team, be this from working on a shared project to captaining a sports team, guiding possible new students around the site, getting involved in the recruitment of new staff, joining student committees to have a say in the running of the school or taking a central position of responsibility such as a prefectship or Head of House role. 
  • Stewardship – takes many forms, from working within our wider community, through the students’ extensive Outreach programme to care for and appreciation of the incredible environment we live in. Students are given a wide range of opportunities to appreciate their wider community and environment at a local, national and international level and are encouraged to develop themselves through direct activity.
  • Futures – Lancing students think beyond the immediate moment. Integral to their present education, we equip them with the skills to succeed once they have left us and plan for this in a wide variety of ways through opportunities to prepare for future studies, participate in a work experience and careers education network, pursue additional, vocationally related education and experience and gain the skills needed to navigate your way into the global job market.
  • Autonomy  in line with the individual spirit of inquiry and scholarship that lies at the heart of our approach to education, Lancing provides tangible means by which students of all ages can seek to extend their ability to think for themselves. This can be via planning independent trips and expeditions, supported by our generous travel award schemes, working on long-term projects, organising one’s own internships or attending summer schools or working on individual projects beyond school and over holiday periods to planning their own finances and budgets. The guiding rationale behind this facet of the co-curriculum is that, over time, students approach the levels of independence sufficient to thrive at university and in their first jobs with confidence.