Ethos and values

Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterise a community, nation, or ideology. The ethos of Newquay Primary Academy is summed up by our school motto.

OUR SCHOOL MOTTO is Proba Tene (Hold Fast). “Hold fast” is a nautical term that has its origins from the Dutch “houd vast” (hold tight) referring to the importance of securely gripping a ship’s rigging. The term encompasses perseverance and triumph over adversity. Throughout history, sailors have tattooed these eight letters onto their knuckles to remind them that they are strong enough to get through any storm if they hold fast both physically and mentally.

Context

Newquay County School opened at Edgcumbe Avenue in 1910. At that time the school building stood out amongst open fields. The original building still remains there and is now Newquay Junior Academy.

The school motto of the County School was Proba Tene (Hold Fast). It was said to have been chosen because of the time it took pupils from the surrounding countryside to reach the school. Faced with challenges and obstacles to accessing education, pupils were urged to be resilient and ‘hold fast’ to their studies.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of schools in Newquay, The Newquay Voice has published an interesting article: Grammar school memories that have held fast.

Our school motto

Proba Tene was adopted as a school motto by Newquay Tretherras secondary school when it opened in 1954. As part of Cornwall Education Learning Trust, Newquay Primary Academy shares both a site and an educational approach and vision with Tretherras. We felt it was fitting to demonstrate our joined-up approach by adopting the same motto. And although the challenges and obstacles for our pupils may have changed, we believe this motto is as relevant today as it was in the Edwardian era.

In physical terms, to hold fast means to bear down and fight through the storm. There is also an understanding among sailors that when on deck, you dedicate “a hand for the ship and a hand for yourself”. A ship needs every member in an emergency. If you are washed overboard you are no help to anyone. You need one hand to be secured to the ship before you can use the other hand to help your crew. That working hand is used to ensure the ship and all her crew will successfully make it through the storm.

In mental terms, to hold fast means to continue to believe in or adhere to an idea or principle. But let’s not confuse this with being blindly stubborn to fixed ideas and beliefs. It means to stand with your convictions, your truths, your gut, and your heart. It means not being swayed, intimidated, convinced or coerced by outside forces to go against what you know is true and right. Hold fast to your inner voice and be proud to have the strength to be your own person.

Our school values

Our school values are firmly linked to our school motto and help to give our school and our pupils a strong sense of identity.

INTEGRITY: Hold fast to what you know is right

Newquay Primary Academy pupils are given a strong moral compass. They understand right from wrong and have the strength and confidence to follow their moral and ethical convictions. They do the right thing, even when no one is there to watch or listen. They listen to their inner voice and do what is right. They stand their ground and ride the storm out when the voice of others telling them to do the wrong thing is loud and persuasive.

RESPECT: Hold fast to your own uniqueness and value differences in others

Newquay Primary Academy pupils know that we are all created equal, but unique. They acknowledge and value differences in cultures, strengths, abilities and learning styles. They understand that lack of confidence and self-belief stems from the idea that we need to be something more to be who we are. They believe that the capacity, energy and power to be and do everything we want is already in each of us. As they face the storm, they hold fast to who they are, celebrate their own wonderful individuality and respect the right of others to do the same.

RESILIENCE: Hold fast and don’t be afraid to fail

Newquay Primary Academy pupils know that life is full of adversity and challenge. They also know that learning from failure is what leads to innovation and eventual success. A “growth mindset” (see below) enables them to thrive – academically and personally. It brings perspective and enables them to bounce forward in life. When the seas of life get stormy, no matter how strong the storm, they know that this too shall pass, they hold fast to what is right and keep going with grit and determination.

EMPATHY: Hold fast and work with your crew

Newquay Primary Academy pupils connect with each other and understand and share in our humanity. They allow each other to be truly heard and listened to. They always look for the best in others. They are able to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and they don’t pass judgements or make assumptions. They always act and behave with compassion. When the storm comes, they do what they need to do to help their crewmates because they know that putting your team before yourself is the ability that makes us truly human.

REFLECTION: Hold fast and then reflect on your journey

Newquay Primary Academy pupils know that self-reflection brings learning to life. Reflective practice helps them find relevancy and meaning in their lessons and make connections between their learning experiences and real-life situations. This helps them to achieve in school. When the storm has passed, they consciously think about their experiences, actions, feelings, and responses, and then ask themselves questions about what they did, how they did it, what they learnt from doing it – and how they could do it better next time.

Growth mindset

A key concept which shapes the ethos of our school is growth mindsets, based on the work of Carol Dweck. Rather than simply praising success, at Newquay Primary Academy we also praise effort and persistence.

We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. For children who find work easy we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. Our children recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve.

If children have fixed mindsets they find it hard to cope with failure. We teach our children to see mistakes and failure as positive. This makes for a very energetic and inclusive culture. It also has a really positive effect on our ethos and on how children approach learning and support each other. Our pupils strive to improve their personal best rather than seeing coming top as the goal.

Keen to find out more? Listen to this 10 minute Ted Talk by Carol Dweck – the pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, why people succeed (or don’t) and how to foster success.