Take a close look at our school emblem, the blue lion. It appears on all our documentation and it will be a defining element of our children’s uniform. Why was it chosen and why does it make such an ideal symbol for our school? Lions have been popular symbols since ancient times but became more widely adopted as the science and art of heraldry developed in the Middle Ages. They now appear more than any other animal in heraldic devices but they also appear in many different forms: they can be rearing up, standing, walking, lying down, sitting and even sleeping! They can even be looking in different directions, forward, staring at you, or looking back over their shoulders.
Our school lion is described as a lion rampant because he is rearing up and facing forward. He is also facing to the right, although it doesn’t look like it. In heraldry left and right are described as if you were holding the shield, not looking at it. Every element in heraldry carries significance, so what does that mean for our lion and how is it relevant to The British School of Monaco?
Lions symbolise courage, nobility, strength, stateliness and justice, and of course, the lion is recognised as “king of the beasts.” A rearing lion facing forward is ready, prepared and vigilant, and his crown and sword reinforce his strength and determination. The sword, and the diamond lozenge within which our lion stands are a nod to the arms of the Principality of Monaco – a reminder that whilst we are a school based on British educational traditions, our location in Monaco is also a vital part of who we are and contributes significantly to our curriculum and the life of the school.
I’m sure you’ll have noticed that our lion is sticking his tongue out but this is no sign of rudeness – in heraldry it underscores that his mouth is open and roaring, emphasising his strength. He is also blue, azure in heraldic terms, and this too carries significance. Azure represents the qualities of loyalty, truth, strength and faith.
So many of the adjectives I have used above echo with the founding principles of our school and in what we aim to develop in our students. We want them to be resilient and this calls for strength and determination. They need to be reflective and this requires them to be prepared and vigilant. We will expect them to be adaptive, up and ready, independent and aware of the needs of others.
Our lion is not just arbitrary branding, he represents everything that our school stands for, a visual representation of our core values and ethos. The logo itself embodies different elements of the British School’s approach to education, and the way in which we simultaneously draw from traditional learning elements that have stood the test of time and also look to the future in seeking to continually develop our educational provision.
To be able to offer the best educational practices, that have been proven successful through history, whilst looking forward through the context of ground-breaking educational research, is a highly exciting opportunity, and one that we at the British School of Monaco look forward to seizing with both hands.