Welcome to the Bute House website. We hope that our film, which you can view below, will give you some idea of all the wonderful things which happen every day at Bute House. It is difficult to capture the energy, enthusiasm and warmth of the girls and staff team at Bute House, mainly because it needs to be witnessed at first hand in order for you to believe it! However, the film should give you some sense of what we do; I think the girls’ happiness shines through, undiminished by the camera.
I have had the privilege of leading this school since 2012 and I truly believe that I have the best job in the world. The team of staff here are extraordinary. It takes time to build a staff team such as this; every member of staff has the girls’ best interests at the centre of all that they do, from making sure the buildings are clean and safe to providing inspirational lessons. The staff here go above and beyond every day - because they want to. I am fortunate enough to lead a school where staff are professional, talented, keen to constantly develop their skills and knowledge and who care deeply about the girls’ hearts and souls, as well as their minds. There is no room for anyone half-hearted at Bute House; everything is done with a passion! And it is the team’s commitment to working together, their ability to always look forwards and their determination to help each girl be the very best that she can be, that is quite unprecedented in my experience.
Our school is unique. Our non-competitive academic ethos ensures every girl is valued for her own self and that she runs her own best race. But what does this actually mean in practice? It means that the girls are taught in mixed ability groups throughout their time at Bute House. And the girls are of mixed ability; girls who enter the school at 4+ are not assessed at all, and our 7+ assessment looks for girls with the most potential, not necessarily those who gain the highest scores. In fact, at 7+, the discussions and investigations the girls participate in on the assessment mornings are the aspects which we find most useful to decide whether a girl will be suited to Bute. We do not label the girls in any way; there are no sets or streams, no ‘scholarship’ groups and no ranking of the girls. Our feedback to pupils is often verbal or by written comment and not graded by ‘A+’ or ‘D’. Consequently, it is hard for the girls to compare themselves to each other. If you want to know where your daughter sits compared to everyone else, Bute will not be the school for you, or your daughter.
Now, on to sport as parents often ask if this is also non-competitive. No! Our girls love their sport and they love to win! We are fortunate to have fantastic facilities on site and a fantastic team in the Sports Department, but we think that much of their success is because of the girls being such excellent team players. They are so used to collaborating in class, rather than being in competition with each other, that they are highly successful working alongside each other on the netball courts.
Our Learning Powers are also central to what makes Bute House so special. You can read about these on the website, but essentially these enable us to teach the girls explicitly about skills such as empathy, perseverance and resilience and to bring these to bear upon their work and play, both in and out of school.
Finally, we take our charitable status very seriously indeed; we have an extensive public benefit programme, which you can read about on the website. We offer up to six means tested bursaries a year at 7+, so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to come to Bute, and we are committed to being a part of the local community, working regularly with many children in local schools.
All of this comes together to create a dynamic, exciting, rounded and rigorous environment in which girls flourish and thrive and, most importantly, have a great deal of fun. We wrap this up in a pastoral blanket of care and support; these children are being educated to work in a world which, in some ways, we cannot imagine yet. But we believe that being secure and safe in their own skins, and having a strong sense of self and their place in the world, will always be required. So we look after that too.
Please do come and visit on one of our Open Mornings and see for yourself. If you want your daughter to grow up with the mantra that she needs to run her own best race, and the belief that she must use her privilege as a woman in the world to make change happen, then Bute House will be the right place for you.
Mrs Helen Lowe