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Senior Leadership Team Attended an Education Summit

Last week, the Senior Leadership Team attended an education summit at Bryanston School.  Despite its independent school setting, the conference drew speakers from across the educational and political spectrum, and from hugely diverse settings and occupations, although all with a common education theme.  There were five lecture halls and six talks during the course of the day, and so the team split up to cover as many different subjects as we could.  Believing firmly in Henry Ford’s saying: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young,” I made my way to a panel discussion on whether leading a school was ‘an impossible job in a turbulent world,’ hoping that I would glean a nugget of information that would give me the ultimate guide to leadership!  Of course, there was no such gem to be found, as speakers told of their concerns over matters as diverse as funding, child protection, health and safety, becoming a Multi-Academy Trust and recruitment, to name but a few topics raised.  However, what also became apparent was that, as diverse as the schools and their problems were, there was one distinct commonality.  In these uncertain times, school can provide a sense of belonging and continuity, which can be reassuring; it can also offer membership of a community, with a common goal, mutual interest and support, which can be hugely sustaining to those within it.  
One of the undeniable joys of being in charge of a school, is that you are given the opportunity to be involved with its story, and to live it from the different perspectives of its children, parents and staff.  To many, the most important part of that story is a school’s history, for it explains the ethos and the journey that has been undertaken to bring the school to its current position.  Nowhere is this more obvious than at Sherborne House, its quirky layout and its happy atmosphere being undeniably linked to its original proprietor and her dream to start her own ‘family school’, together with her daughters; a school which would be a true ‘home from home,’ where relationships between child and adult would be empathetic and mutually understanding, and which would be a springboard for hopes and ambitions to germinate and blossom.  However, a school cannot and must not live in its past, and as technology drives change ever faster, it is essential to respect what has been, whilst planning for that which is to come.
As a staff, we have many discussions regarding the knowledge and skills that our children need, a debate which can bring many differing views.  However, we are all agreed that independence and creative thinking are undoubtedly skills which the modern workplace will demand, and that a forward-thinking school must develop within its pupils.  During our recent School Development Plan presentation, the staff spoke of our plans to develop these aspects of the curriculum, and additionally, to take our learning outdoors wherever possible.  Having launched this with an Outdoor Learning Day on May 18th, you will see from our latest news articles that we have further actioned our plan with a wide variety of curricular activities.
Heather Hopson-Hill, Head Teac​her
Published on 16/06/2017