School Vision, Ethos and Values

Academy Vision

West Lakes Academy is committed to the creation of a fully inclusive, aspirational, high achieving Centre of Excellence, firmly rooted in the local community. Our vision is to succeed in ‘Changing Lives through Learning’ by providing the very best possible educational opportunities for young people in West Cumbria.

Increasingly personalised learning within a safe and positive environment will ensure all young people are equipped for the challenges and opportunities of adult life in the 21st century. Moreover our students will develop the capacity to contribute to building a strong and vibrant community.

Our ethos is based on high aspirations, expectations and achievements.

Sponsors’ Role

Our co-sponsors are:

  • The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
  • Sellafield Ltd
  • The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)

The role of the sponsors is to support West Lakes Academy as an outstanding place of education with an inclusive ethos that promotes tolerance and respect for others. The sponsors’ expectations are that students will develop into citizens who actively contribute towards the building of cohesive and peaceful communities and are able to represent themselves confidently in all aspects of public life.

Academy Core Aims

The academy will:

  • Significantly raise educational standards above local and national levels.
  • Raise student aspirations and launch them into further and higher education or onto career paths that will realise their full potential and exceed expectations.
  • Promote and nurture community cohesion.
  • Involve and work in collaboration with key stakeholders, partners and the community.
  • Ensure that key stakeholder groups are represented on the Board of Governors, including parents/carers, staff and the local authority.
  • Ensure that members of the academy staff and all those who contribute to academy activities are positive role models for students.
  • Provide a programme of high continual quality professional development (CPD) and training for all members of staff to underpin and sustain improvements in the core functions of the academy.

Academy Core Values

The academy will seek to promote the following values:

  • Hard work
  • Honesty
  • Respect for people and property
  • Self-discipline
  • Trust and fairness
  • Tolerance and compassion
  • Politeness and courtesy
  • Independence and resourcefulness
  • Caring for others
  • Caring for the environment

Student Values

Chosen by West Lakes Academy students:

  • RESPECT – we will treat everyone with respect and tolerate everyone for what they choose to do and believe in.
  • RESILIENCE – we will push ourselves, be determined and keep going in the face of challenges.
  • APPRECIATION – we will appreciate the opportunities and experiences that come our way, be outgoing and cherish life.
  • FREEDOM – we will be aware of our rights as a human being but respect and act on the responsibility that comes with those rights.
  • ACHIEVEMENT– we will strive and have purpose and we will achieve. We will, all of us, succeed.

British Values

There is no place for extremist views of any kind in our academy, whether from internal sources – students, staff, visiting adults, governors etc. or external sources – school community, external agencies or individuals.

Any prejudice, discrimination or extremist views, including derogatory language, displayed by pupils, staff, visitors or parents will always be challenged and, where appropriate, dealt with.  Where misconduct by a teacher is proven, the matter will be referred to the National College for Teaching and Leadership for their consideration.  Misconduct by other staff will be dealt with under normal school disciplinary procedures.

We encourage pupils to respect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.  We ensure that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject in the school and where political issues are brought to the attention of the pupils, reasonably practicable steps are taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to students.

Cultural Capital

West Lakes Academy offers a range of cultural and academic enhancement programmes and opportunities to students.  During Year 7 to Year 11 and in Year 12 and 13, we aim to broaden the cultural and academic experiences of our students.  To provide a wider understanding of our community and our wider community and to prepare them for future destinations, such as universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and exceptional training providers.

In the long term, we see these experiences as stepping stones which will shape future leaders in all walks of life.   Our students are exposed to a wealth of high-end cultural experiences, ranging from exhibitions and museums to theatre trips to science and engineering shows to historical re-enactments, to bespoke lectures at a number of universities. We are also developing our overseas opportunities, as we will be hosting students from Japan and our students will be offered an exchange visit.

Students are taught to think independently, to express themselves effectively and to embrace learning and time is allocated to allow students to start the process of understanding their individual academic pathways. We hope that the majority of our students will enter our Sixth Form, where students are given many opportunities to develop crucial skills needed for successful applications to top universities.  This includes a Russell Group application programme providing expert guidance and individually-tailored academic opportunities for our most able sixth formers. This programme comprises several whole group sessions; additional trips and masterclasses; university visits; an Oxbridge programme; a medical/dentistry programme; fortnightly bulletins and follow-up on a wealth of academic opportunities outside of school; guidance on writing very competitive applications to Russell Group universities; interview practice and advice; learning mentors for Oxbridge.

We are always looking to enhance our students knowledge, experiences and to broaden their horizons, if you are able to provide an opportunity or to share your experiences and benefit our students please do not hesitate to contact the academy.


The academy has a system of rewards which incorporates our values, aims to motivate and inspire students, and develops a culture of positive achievement and behaviour. We believe that it is important for our students to receive the recognition for their achievements, both in terms of academic progress and success in other areas of school life. An important aspect of the academy’s ethos is that the achievements and successes of students of all ability levels and in all year groups can benefit from the rewards process. This helps to build upon individual self-confidence and self-esteem and leads to further personal development.

We provide a high importance to recognising and rewarding success and involving students and parents in ‘achieving excellence’. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play in promoting a positive attitude to the students learning and, together with the academy, celebrating achievement at all levels and in all areas of school life.

A range of rewards exist at the academy including:

  • Verbal praise
  • Comments on work
  • Merits
  • Certificates
  • Postcard/letter sent home
  • Positive phone call home
  • Subject learner of the week
  • Tutor star of the week
  • Head of Year star of the week
  • Principal learner of the week
  • Public display of work
  • Acknowledgement through assembly
  • Acknowledgement through Updates
  • Mini reward days
  • Year 11 and Year 13 awards evenings
  • Certificate/award at the annual summer awards evening

Behaviour and Expectations

The trust, local governing body, principal, academy leadership team and staff of West Lakes Academy recognise that for our students to achieve their full potential there is a need for them to feel safe, valued and therefore able to fully focus on their learning every day. Thus, a clear, shared and consistently applied set of behaviour expectations are required.  We set high standards for our students. We expect students to carry these high standards out into the community.  We expect their behaviour beyond school to be as exemplary as it is within school.