In schools we talk about our USPs. If some are unfamiliar with yet another acronym (there are so many in education), a Google search suggests that USPS stands for ‘United States Postal Service’, which is self-explanatory, or ‘United States Power Squadrons’ which is something to do with boats. Clearly this does not help much. As I’m sure many of you will know, USPs in our context stands for Unique Selling Points (or Proposition). This term was originally used in the 1940s to explain a pattern of successful advertising that might convince customers to switch brands. In other words, a definition of one’s personal brand in the marketplace.

So what are our USPs? If you look at our published information, you will see the following words much in evidence. Academic Ambition, Individual Pathways and Success and Value.

The key word in Academic Ambition is the second one. We believe that academic success, our core business, depends on our students being ambitious to be the best they can be. Thus motivation, empowerment and confidence are crucial elements in the excellent progress and exam results our students achieve. As is the willingness to take risks. We must aim high, not fearing to fall short if we can learn from the process.

Individual Pathways speaks to our understanding that every person is different. Different learning styles, different motivations (that word again) and different passions. We may seek similar objectives such as high grades, self-discipline, leadership and teamwork skills – the list can go on and on – but what we know is that every student needs a different pathway to get there.

And so to Success and Value, from the Einstein quote, ‘not to be a man only of success but also of value’. AKS students learn about, and experience, having a positive impact on people (and the world) around them. Increasingly university admissions tutors and employers are looking for that sense of social responsibility that marks the most valuable students and employees out from the crowd.

Of course we do not have a monopoly on these aspirations but, put together, these ingredients make ‘the AKS difference’. They help to explain our character, our brand of education. We believe passionately that these are educational principles that best serve our young people.

M H P Walton