Invictus Education Trust was created in March 2015 by a group of like-minded schools: Crestwood, Ellowes Hall Sports College, Kinver High and Ounsdale High. Leasowes High School joined us in Autumn 2016, which has further strengthened an already thriving Trust.
The name ‘Invictus’ is carefully chosen; the dictionary tells us that it means ‘indomitable or unconquerable’
There are a couple of phrases that particularly call to what we are trying to do: Bloodied but unbowed’ – almost all parents will know what it is to be knocked back, to face adversity, to be ‘bloodied’. The real virtue is to come back ‘unbowed’. Similarly, the final lines ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul’: this illustrates rather forcefully the resilience, independence and confidence that we want for our students.
We know that by coming together as five schools we can raise standards to heights we could never achieve alone. The staff are already collaborating to help provide the very highest chances of examination success. We have set ourselves the target of having our students compete with the very best – be they from State or Independent schools.
We know that all can benefit from being brought together, but this is particularly true of the most able and talented. This need not just be about academic success. Invictus is quite a ‘young’ Trust but we have already started to find ways for talented musicians to work together, for example. The Invictus Choir has now performed at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and, more recently, at the Royal Albert Hall. Other collaborations include an Invictus Samba Band and an Evening of Guitar Music – these may be less ‘highbrow’ but they give the students an increased musicality, confidence and even laughter.
If this looks as though Invictus is mostly concerned about the most able, this is not true: we would say that all students can benefit from the shared expertise and heightened sense of purpose. In simple terms, we will be providing ‘elite experiences’ for all.
Other areas of collaboration include: obviously, sports – some as unusual as sailing – and such challenges as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Possibly the biggest collaborative benefit will be from the newly created ‘Invictus Sixth Form’. There is ample evidence across the country that the most successful Post 16 provision lies in Sixth Forms. All Invictus schools will be part of the shared Sixth Form.