Every girl runs her own best race

The non-competitive academic ethos at Bute House is unique and is something of which we are very proud.  It is this, combined with our educational aims, which creates the very special atmosphere here.

The Aims

At Bute House our aims are:

  • To identify and foster every child’s abilities and talents, encouraging her to become a self-motivated learner and a confident communicator.

  •  To help each child to do her best, to reach her potential and inspire her to achieve her personal best within a non-competitive academic environment.

  •  To provide a broad and enriched curriculum which encourages a love of learning that goes beyond what is taught.

  •  To maintain a happy, positive atmosphere by encouraging self-discipline,respect and consideration for others and a sense of community.

The Philosophy

At Bute House we have a long tradition of forward-looking, child-centred educational philosophy. We believe that children learn best when they feel confident and supported, liked and respected as individuals and when their areas of both talent and challenge are recognised and acknowledged by the adults around them.

Bute House teaches girls aged from 4 to 11 who have a broad range of talents, personalities and abilities. At every stage teaching is organised in mixed ability classes to allow each girl to experience maximum personal success in all areas. Our excellent results and high academic standards are achieved without unnecessary competition and pressure and girls are encouraged to discover and celebrate their natural talents, whether these are academic, sporting, artistic, musical or dramatic.

Non-Competitive Ethos - what does that mean in practice?

In line with our philosophy, we never put girls into a situation where they might feel diminished by failure and so there are no marks*, grades, star charts, form order lists, setting, streaming, exams, academic prize-giving, prefects or honours boards - anything, in fact, which publicly promotes one girl above another.

Every child is encouraged to do her best, to set her own targets with support from her teachers, to acknowledge her own progress and be proud of herself, to recognise her personal strengths and weaknesses and not to compare herself with her classmates.  Everyone is treated as an individual, each with areas that challenge her and each with her own talents to be celebrated, whether these are academic, musical, linguistic, artistic, dramatic or sporting. Children are ready to "have a go", to stretch their boundaries, to try new experiences, they are not afraid of failure and are confident in asking their teachers to give them the help they need when they are unsure.

What is the end result?

The most important thing, we believe, is that the girls who leave Bute House are confident, articulate, determined, willing to express their opinions, tolerant and open-minded.  They achieve academic success, no matter what their starting point and move on to schools which will suit their personalities and academic skills.

Secondary school Heads often remark upon their willingness to 'have a go’ because they are not afraid to fail and it is often a Bute House girl who is willing to put up her hand in those first weeks at secondary school when everything is rather daunting and often a Bute House girl who encourages others to step up to a challenge.  

The girls here are also very kind to each other. There are occasional disputes and upsets, of course, but this philosophy enables them to genuinely value, like and respect each other.  It also makes for an extremely happy atmosphere which visitors comment on as soon as they come through the doors - it is, in fact, tangible.

*Girls being prepared for external examinations are of course shown how mark schemes work, undertake various timed tests, are familiar with various styles of examination paper and taught exam technique but always within our philosophy of no undue academic pressure or comparisons with others.