| Head's Blog

We have been talking much about Learning Powers in school this year, and how important they are in helping our children to develop the skills they need to have a better learning experience. Of the four Sherborne House Learning Powers (resilience, perseverance, challenge and reflection) it is resilience which the children feel is hardest of all to develop, perhaps because this is built over time, and through many different experiences. Whilst a challenge for all, some find a robust response to the ups and downs of life particularly difficult. What characteristics do we therefore need to nurture at school, in order for our children to build greater resilience which will help them both today, and in the future?

No-one likes to see a child become disheartened because they have got a maths question wrong, or they could not solve a problem, but this will happen to all our children at some time or another. However, those who are resilient do not dwell on the failure, but simply move on. They do not take it personally, or see themselves as the failure, but simply tell themselves that next time, a different approach needs to be taken; in short, they have a growth mindset. With Sports’ Day shortly to take place, we need to ensure that our children understand that winning is not the ultimate prize, but rather, it is what they will do with the result, whatever it may be, that really matters! The ability to ‘treat these two imposters just the same’, means that resilient children are also more prepared to take risks, to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, knowing they can adapt if necessary, and telling themselves when things work out that, yes, of course they knew they could do it. This fuels the feeling of being able to control setbacks and make things work out ultimately – a positive circle of success!

Resilient children also tend to be imaginative and creative, so that when one door closes, they find a means by which another will open; our Year 5 and 6 children certainly met this challenge during their recent Business Enterprise work. They are divergent thinkers, flexible and adaptable, who view challenge positively. Underpinning this all is, of course, supportive relationships which nurture and encourage, and we as teachers, must work closely with parents to ensure that all we do in school underpins the resilience work which is done so effectively at home.

Whether parent or teacher, we all want our children to enjoy life, feel valued and to experience success. The question is – what does success look like? Is it winning the prize in the short-term, or being able to teach our children the long-game - how to cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs and be happy? I hope the Wimbledon finalists will remember to read carefully as they go on to court!