Norton College’s Ethos

Norton College prides itself on creating a bespoke curriuclum to suit the individual needs of all its pupils. This stems from the philosophy which was developed and instilled by the former Educational Director,  Ian Hardicker.

This came from both Ian’s 20 years experience as a SEMH Head teacher as well as the inspirational speech by Ken Robinson about changing the future of Education.

Whilst I’m relatively new to Headteaching. I have spent the majority of my career working with pupils with challenging behaviour. Ever since I trained as a Geography teacher I have been interested in how children learn and ensuring they can achieve to their full potential.

Multiple Intelligences

One of the theories I have always believed in was Howard Gardeners’ Multiple Intelligences. In his 1983 book,  Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences Howard proposed that there is not one fixed type of intelligence but everyone had 9 different facets of intelligence.


Although people may have a strength in one or two of these, they will still possess elements of the others. I have always felt that this is a much more holistic way of supporting a young person by helping them to identify what their strongest intelligences were,  but to also help develop those that needed improving.

So what is the message?

Last week I went fishing with two of our pupils and another member of staff. I know very little about fishing as I gave up when I was a boy after I accidently killed a fish over 30 years ago.

During the time I was there, one of the pupils was able to pass onto me his tips and knowledge about fishing and he helped me catch the fish below, my biggest ever!

He showed me that he was completely in his element in the natural environment, being one of his strongest intelligences.

This got me thinking that at Norton College, we have a unique opportunity. We should endevour to work out with our students what their strongest intelligences are and play to these strengths.

This first involves building positive relationships and trust. Then building self-esteem; changing mindsets; developing resilience and finally supporting our students in taking risks. This will give them toolkit they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do in the future.

Crispian Woolford

Head Teacher.