‘Learning is at the centre of everything the School does. In consultation with all key stakeholders, five key characteristics of the AGS Learner have been identified: Ownership, Motivation, Resilience, Innovation and Courage. The development of these skills and characteristics is embedded in teachers’ planning. Students can talk readily about what these words mean and can identify the characteristics in their own learning.’  

Challenge Partners Quality Assurance Review, November 2018

The AGS Learner

AGS Learner defines our comprehensive approach to nurturing the character of our students. Through it, we prepare students for the challenges they will face both within school and beyond – a responsibility we undertake with great seriousness. Our vision is to provide an exceptional education, rich in learning opportunities within an inspiring and supportive environment, developing the character of our students in preparation for their future.

‘(The students) found the AGS learning strategy which identifies five key principles underpinning outcomes for learning (Ownership; Courage; Resilience; Innovation and Motivation) as being really helpful.’ 

Ralph Batten, on behalf of Buckinghamshire Learning Trust, January 2016


Ownership is having the ability to manage your own learning, prioritise and set targets. It includes being a supportive and active member of the school community and having self-respect and respect for others who support the learning process. Students with ownership understand the global world and their responsibility within it. They take care of themselves, respect others and show compassion to those around them. They value equality, diversity, sustainability. Our young people are often society’s best ambassadors for ownership.

  • Students can: Take the lead in organising and managing their own learning. Support the learning of friends and peers.
  • Teachers can: Give clear guidance on expectations for managing learning and support on how to achieve this.
  • Parents can: Help to develop routines for home learning and organising and monitoring from a distance to allow students to become more independent and confident learners.


Brave students try new approaches to their learning. They learn from their mistakes and make greater progress because of this. Courage is finding the inner strength to create your own place in the world. It is not bravado, or victory, battle or daredevilry. It is the quiet ability to do what is right, to admit to self-doubt, to reach out to others to give and to accept help. The bright blue borage flower – this star of nature with its history of courage and endeavour – embodies the everyday bravery of the modern world.

  • Students can: Try new approaches and learn from mistakes. Be brave enough to make mistakes in front of others. Support classmates as they take risks.
  • Teachers can: Establish a climate where risks and mistakes are an accepted, key part of the learning process.
  • Parents can: Encourage new approaches and give own experience of mistakes and risks as a key part of improvement.


Resilience is the strength not to give up in the face of challenge. Resilient learners have the resourcefulness to take learning forwards and carry it through to the end. Let go of old ideas of doggedly trudging onwards. As well as bouncing back, modern resilience is about adaptability and advancement. It might mean changing direction, resting and taking time to recover. It might mean regaining a sense of purpose and then trying really hard again. Our seedling is a strong one with space to grow and flourish, nurtured by the stream not drowning in a torrent.

  • Students can: Persevere when things seem difficult and appreciate that dealing with challenge is a key part of becoming a successful learner.
  • Teachers can: Plan learning that includes challenge for all students and discuss strategies on how to develop resilience.
  • Parents can: Discuss with student how to progress when stuck on a problem, give own experience of resilience in the workplace.


Innovators are creative and adaptable and appreciate the need to assess, review and develop their ideas. They enjoy the freedom to imagine what is possible. Engage your curiosity and discover limitless possibility. Be adventurous with your ideas and embrace opportunity. Innovation happens when you apply your knowledge in fresh ways; when apparently insignificant experiments yield worthy improvements. Take a new approach. Daydream. Enjoy the freedom to imagine what is possible.

  • Students can: Embrace the chances to be creative. Use plans and drafts to explore new ways of approaching learning tasks.
  • Teachers can: Provide learning opportunities for students that encourage them to be creative and discuss the importance of innovation in the development of the subject.
  • Parents can: Discuss creativity as an important skill outside school and share any relevant life/work experiences.


Motivated students aspire to be – and understand how to be – successful through learning. They demonstrate a hunger to learn and to be inspired. Motivation is about committing to your aspirations. Start from where you are. Acknowledge that the passage may be difficult. Gather your resources, determine your direction and navigate upwards towards your own goals.

  • Students can: Regularly reflect on aspirational targets in order to maintain good levels of motivation. Read around subjects to develop greater understanding and passion for learning.
  • Teachers can: Discuss realistic but aspirational targets. Include wider learning and knowledge in lessons.
  • Parents can: Plan rewards for effort rather than just achievement. Discuss and support wider reading and research for enrichment.


AGS Learner

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