Towards Understanding

The crest and motto of Shaw House School.
The crest and motto of Shaw House School, courtesy of its Facebook page

How far a motto describes the ethos of a school is a matter of some debate, but I rather liked the crest I saw on a recent visit to Shaw House School: “Towards Understanding.” Humble, unambiguous, purposeful, it perished with the school in 1985 when the buildings were discovered to be unsound.

The land was passed to Newbury County Council, which opened a state secondary on the same site in 1999. A new school, with a new motto:

Personal excellence and collective responsibility

I don’t want to labour the point, but I wonder if the waters have not been muddied when the schoolchild who went to school knowing that he was expected “to understand” now goes “to be personally excellent and collectively responsible”?


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