Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys (“The Poly”) is a school that puts people first. We believe that great things happen when a community feels such a sense of “togetherness” that it makes the tough days seem bearable, the good days seem amazing and the impossible seem achievable. At The Poly, our overriding aim is for everyone to feel part of the same family and a sense that we are always there for each other. This is the basis for our success and the reason why we come to work every day.
Our vision is “Success for Everyone” and we live by this. We believe that everyone can achieve far more than they think they can when we work together – you can never be too ambitious. Success for one person will look different to success for another but both are equally important. This is why we are such an inclusive school; everyone is different but everyone is equally deserving of success. This is also reflected in our celebration of diversity. We are a very mixed family and proudly so. We have learned that this brings us great things – tolerance, understanding, celebration of differences. We wouldn’t change this for the world.
Our expectations are extremely high for everyone in our community. This is particularly important for what can be called “the basics” - excellent behaviour, excellent punctuality and attendance, excellent uniform. These basics underpin the success for every student and it is important that we never compromise on them. We are very appreciative that our parents understand this too and this forms a strong partnership to help students do the right thing. This partnership is facilitated through our Pastoral Care system, a system that we can honestly say is one of the best that you will find at any school. Our Heads of Year and their teams of tutors provide the type of nurturing and support that we would all want for our own children. This does not mean that they are soft on standards – far from it – but that these standards are reinforced in a very “human” way. We are strict because we care.
We are a very busy school. We work at a great pace and have an extremely motivated and loyal staff. Many of them (myself included) have been at the school for many years. This is a real strength of ours because students get great continuity and feel that we are always there for them. Our ambitions are never satisfied and we love a challenge. We call this “positive dissatisfaction” - it means that, no matter what we and our students achieve, we always have a desire to do even better. This motivation keeps us going through the tough times and reminds us that, for our students, we always want more. We think that this is a very healthy way to work as we always celebrate our successes but then look forwards and ask ourselves “what next?”
This ambition is one of the reasons why our curriculum is so broad and our opportunities so wide. These include an Extended Schools Programme whereby we open every Saturday and often have over 350 students attending extra classes each weekend. We find that when we model commitment and ambition to our students then they show it back to us and take advantage of the opportunities that we give them.
These opportunities extend to the Sixth Form where we have a very large and successful cohort with a flourishing culture of ambition. Our students regularly achieve places at the top Russell Group universities, including Oxbridge, and also progress into top apprenticeships or directly into work in prestigious companies. Our Sixth Form is co-educational and the presence of girls amongst our senior students really adds to the diverse and positive culture.
You may know that we are lucky to have our sister school - Woolwich Polytechnic School for Girls – right next door to us. This is an equally special school which shares our values but also helps develop new ideas and different practice that we can then learn from. We see the school as the same but different and usefully so – by both schools being creative and ambitious, we can create new opportunities and new strategies that can be shared and improved together. Our family has got bigger and we are delighted to be going forward to greater things together.
My final words are a thank you to our wonderful students. We really are blessed to work with some of the finest young people that we could wish for. Their enthusiasm, commitment, kindness and good humour help create a wonderful culture and it really is a privilege to work with them every day. I do hope that your child joins us and becomes part of our quite unique culture and I encourage you to come and visit us to see for yourself what makes us, in my opinion, a very special school.