A values-led education

Student chatting with classmate

Quaker ethos

130 years ago Leighton Park was founded on Quaker principles that today are considered best educational practice for any school; respect, integrity, simplicity, equality, peace, truth, and sustainability. Quakers believe in the immense potential of each individual.

As a leading values-led school, we create unrivalled opportunities for personal development and character education while working with partners to create a better world. This focus draws on the impressive history of Quakers who set up forward-thinking companies like Cadbury and Rowntree; very successful businesses that also treated staff and suppliers fairly and created social good. Equally important, Quakers helped found leading charities and campaigning organisations, such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Picture from 1890 at Leighton Park

Quaker roots

Although only a small number of students and staff are Quakers, it is our Quaker roots to which we owe our forward-thinking approach to education. These values provide the foundation for some of the long-standing, distinctive aspects of Leighton Park life, such as our holistic curriculum, the value placed on individuality, our strong sense of community and the collective moments of silence that punctuate the school day, offering students a much-needed opportunity for reflection.

An academic paper from Bristol University evaluating the Quaker approach to education in 2016 concluded: “Quaker schools are authentically Quaker. It is clear that the shared Quaker values translate into a learning environment in which students feel they are respected and listened to. This in turn helps to create positive relationships with teachers which results in a greater orientation towards ‘deep-learning’.”

Notable Quakers

The Obama family sent their daughters to a Quaker school and some better known Quakers include the actress Judi Dench and the confectioner John Cadbury, whose family helped establish the School in 1890. The inimitable James Dean was raised in a Quaker family. The Quakers won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.

Giving our values currency and purpose
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Leighton Park leads the UK for its commitment to outreach and partnership work, winning the prestigious national Independent Schools Association (ISA) Award for Outstanding Community Involvement in 2021 and 2020, the only time a school has won an ISA award two years running.

Developing kind and compassionate leaders for the future is an important part of how we give our Quaker values currency and purpose. Our mutually beneficial partnerships with community and educational organisations give us insight, strength and courage to look within and strive for a fairer, better society.

Read more about our outreach work +
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Our Quaker values
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Our Quaker values are embedded throughout the life of the School and our students appreciate the moral compass they offer within and beyond the community. Watch our video to find out what they have to say about our STRIPES: Simplicity, Truth, Respect, Integrity, Peace, Equality and Sustainability.

Play
Decorative stone work at Leighton Park

"It remains a Quaker-run school as the majority of governors are Quakers and, although no member of the Friends remains on the staff and only penny numbers of pupils are Quakers, the school lives by and exudes those gentle, civilised and socially responsible values. Few who leave here take nothing of those with them, and many see them as a guide for a healthy life."

Good Schools Guide

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