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 call these principles “testimonies” and do their best to live by them, actively living out their values rather than obeying a set of beliefs. They recognise no barriers of colour, class, or gender and are accepting of those of all religions or none. Quakers believe in the immense potential of each individual.
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’.”
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.