Values are what you do when nobody's looking

At Watson’s, we’re proud of our culture. 

We talk about the fact that we give our pupils ‘the freedom to discover who they really are,’ but what does that mean? 

One way of explaining it is through our four values. 

We’ve spent time over the last two years learning to articulate our values, an exercise involving pupils, staff, and parents. 

Values are important. They’re not a plan, they’re a reflection of who we are. We often say that values are about what you do (or how you do it) when nobody’s looking. 

Let’s explain them: 

Aim High: We challenge ourselves and encourage excellence

Let’s be clear, Watson’s is a school that challenges and encourages our pupils rigorously, in order to achieve academic excellence

We champion the idea that pupils must take responsibility for their learning, including building an understanding of how they learn most effectively. 

Our teachers are inventive, and inspiring. They make use of digital wherever it enhances learning and teaching, while much of what we do enriches our pupils’ experiences by getting them beyond the classroom. 

For our pupils, we have great academic ambition (they do, too!) and our examination track record is superb. Pupils at Watson’s are encouraged to be ambitious for themselves. Our open presentation policy gives them the freedom to choose the courses that are right for them and we do not prevent any pupil from taking a subject at examination level.  We make decisions based on our pupils, not on league tables. 

Be Kind: We support each other to be confident, engaged and ambitious

It might seem the most simple idea in the world, but do you ever get the feeling that people have sometimes forgotten the most basic mark of humanity? At Watson’s it’s a simple message: be kind

Sure, we want our pupils to achieve great success whether that is academic, sport or the arts, but it’s about more than that.  

At our school, your child will be encouraged, we’ll believe in them and challenge them to be better every day. 

But what’s success if it comes without humility, empathy, or kindness?

So yes to confident, engaged and ambitious young people, but not at any cost.  Success is nothing if you can’t smile with others. It’s the mark of a person. 

Join In: We create a diverse range of opportunities and enjoy the freedom to discover who we really are

The ‘freedom to discover,’ sits at the heart of our campaign messaging for pupil recruitment, but what does it mean? 

At Watson’s, we have over 150 enrichment or extracurricular activities for our pupils to participate in. There’s over 25 individual sports, multiple choirs, orchestras and bands, a raft of opportunities on the stage, and so much more including the environment, politics, science and technology, and even unicycling. 

But this isn’t extra-curricular or opportunity for the sake of it. 

We believe our pupils succeed when they’re fearless about failure and when they discover what they love. That’s what ‘join in’ means at Watson’s: give it a go, try it out, find your own path. When you do, the adventures - and possibilities - are endless. 

Respect All: We care for others in an environment where all of our voices are valued and respected

When we say that Watson’s isn’t a ‘top-down’ school, don’t mistake that for a lack of discipline. 

But, here’s the thing. Watson’s works best when we encourage different ideas, listen to others, and do so in an environment where respect is at the heart of our way of life. 

Our pupils are encouraged to think for themselves, and we don’t think that’s ever a bad thing, because where you have respect and tolerance, you have the right culture. 

That approach isn’t just here in Edinburgh, but globally, where our pupils have the opportunity to travel, to learn and to understand other cultures - not just our own.