HM Blog Archive
Published on: Friday, September 28, 2018
Democracy has been played out in tutor groups recently with the children putting forward their candidacy and then voting for their Pupil Council 2018-2019 representatives: during assembly on Monday we announced the election results. I talked about the privilege of service and urged them not only to act in support of ‘today’ at King’s Hall but also to consider creatively, confidently and expansively how they might impact our thinking for ‘tomorrow’ and the world beyond our boundaries. I showed everyone a company HR recruitment ad in which the company encourages employees with creativity, urgency, optimism, courage to seek solutions, resilience to embrace failures along the way and, finally, a strong sense of shared purpose to work side by side. Congratulations to those elected and good luck to them for the year ahead.
One of the messages from the annual IAPS Heads’ Conference from which I have just returned, was on a somewhat similar theme and one fairly oft heard in these current, more uncertain times. It is the need to be adaptable and resilient, to possess the capacity to cope when things don’t go according to plan, to remain purposeful in the face of adversity - how are you going to react if you find yourself in unfamiliar territory and without a map? Characteristics and attitudes we aim to cultivate in the children here at King’s Hall.
Tomorrow morning, as it happens, I do have a map – or a recipe to be precise – as a little crowd of budding chefs join me and Mr Morgan for our Saturday morning Cookery hobby: Thai Green Chicken Curry is on the menu and so I am pretty certain what’s for supper tomorrow night.
Communication is Key
Published on: Friday, September 21, 2018
At today’s Coffee Morning there was a wonderful buzz of chatter with people acquainting themselves even more closely with those they have seen occasionally at pick up times. This ‘buzz’ mirrors my own view that, as we reach the first small pause in proceedings, those who joined us in September became part of the furniture in double quick time and we now all forge purposefully onwards together.
I hope you, as parents, feel that you have connected with your child’s tutor/class teacher and that communication is already simple and useful as we head deeper into the term. This communication is important as part of our desire to work in partnership with you, bringing our experience and objectivity to the mix in conjunction with the parental instinct to support your children.
Whilst reading the recent edition of Attain, the termly publication free to IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) member schools, I came across a couple of articles which I thought I would share with you.
The first article talks about this natural parental desire to seek the best for your child and how that stacks up against being overbearing and can sometimes cloud our better judgement. The author also takes umbrage with what he feels is the careless stereotypical label ‘pushy parent’. The other is about the challenge of how much autonomy to give your child? One of my favourite phrases to parents when wrestling about whether to accede to a child’s wish when you are not comfortable with the outcome is “Who’s in charge?”.
These articles provide food for thought and can be found by clicking this link and heading to page 3 for the first article and pages 35 and 36 for the second – do take 10 minutes to click and have a browse.
Listen to Learn
Published on: Friday, September 14, 2018
Listen to Learn is a powerful mantra in teaching – or general life for that matter. Mrs Hardy has a quote from the Dalai Lama amongst the many on her wall which reads “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
This message was in plentiful supply today in a Year 4 PE lesson I watched and the children were excellent advocates for the benefits. The staff were constantly reinforcing the positives and highlighting WILF and WGLL – acronyms for What I’m Looking For and What Good Looks Like – and the children responded rapidly and demonstrated that when tuned in to the instructions, technical advice, opportunities to learn from other good examples and praise offered they learned most rapidly.
Talking of acronyms or initials, I was in the staff room early this morning and was privy to a lovely exchange. Schools are very strong on the use of staff initials in all administrative areas – some even become known by their initials. Anyhow, we have a few new monikers to get used to this term and one of our brilliant new team members was in front of the staff pigeon holes distributing sheets which had been labelled by initials. They couldn’t find the slot they were seeking to match the initials on the final piece of paper in their hand so inquired of the early morning coffee crew, “Whose initials are SCR?”. “Staff Common Room,” came the reply, “it’s the copy to go on the noticeboard!”.
Published on: Friday, September 7, 2018
Welcome to the first Friday missive of the year and a face-lift for our Prep Weekly Newsletter. Emma, my beautifully fastidious PA, has finally got her hands on the control panel of this publication and, once again, her magic touch has borne fruit! I hope you like the fresh new look.
Freshness has been a bit of a theme here, from paintwork to pupils to practices to people we have a crispness to our step as we embark down this year’s pathways.
Talking of steps and pathways, over the holidays Claire and I, with Joss and Hettie, walked the Saints’ Way from north to south coast of Cornwall. It’s something we have wanted to do for a number of years but never quite managed to squeeze in. Claire and I have always had a vision of a proper halfway halt in a characterful B & B with a charming meal, shower and proper bed. Joss suggested we might camp. We like camping but asked Joss how he intended to get the tents to the campsite for us – he looked at us as if we didn’t know the answer to 2 + 2 and derisorily said ‘We carry them?’. Anyhow, we did just that, had two good days, spent a giggly night in tiny tents and ended up a little aromatic with sore feet, yet our own small but important sense of achievement still resides with us.
On a much larger scale, and told to great effect in assembly this morning, Mr Hands shared his summer story of 6 days walking in the Atlas mountains, including reaching the summit of Mt Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
He used his tale and photos to articulate the message that to reach a big goal you need to take it in achievable stages, you need the support and kindness of others and others will need you, you need patience and determination. Very often a shared experience has greater reward than one on your own and you must keep taking the steps along your pathway.
What a great message when we stand in the foothills of a whole year of school ahead of us.