Walking the talk

If you have read our inspection report, you will have seen that it celebrates our “richly diverse community” and we strongly believe that such diversity of ethnic, faith and social background enriches the lives of all of us. Yet, at the same time, we recognise that our pupils enjoy a privileged education – for which our parents have often made considerable sacrifices

I am sure you would agree that we want our pupils to emerge from school as generous human beings who understand our world and who wish to improve the lot of others. I am very pleased that we do not lack volunteers for our Charity Committee and that many of our pupils are determined to make a difference through their contribution to the Eco Group, to Amnesty International, via Community Service and via Duke of Edinburgh.

Yet how can we encourage them more to ‘walk in others’ shoes’, to count their blessings, to understand the immense challenges facing so many in society and across the globe and to be determined to do something about it? I love cakes and cake sales, and I applaud those who bake for these. I also know that non-uniform days are a good way of generating charitable funds. However, we must try to get away from the concept of getting something in return for your giving.

Firstly, please don’t give for your child’s non-uniform day; we really do want them to dig into their own pockets, often out of the relative plenty that they enjoy. Secondly, let’s challenge them to come up with ideas for fundraising and service that involve giving of their time and their skills – and not just their money, which they can rightly see as tokenism. And, thirdly, they should expect nothing in return – as genuine charity is a spontaneous outpouring of love and generosity.

What we all know, of course, is that we actually gain and receive so much more as human beings through giving. Certainly, the most formative times in my life have involved experiences of volunteering in situations and cultures very different from my own; I have learnt not only a huge amount about others but also about myself, and I hope that my ‘drop in the ocean’ has nevertheless combined with many other drops to form a positive tide.

I hope that we can enrich not only our own school community but the world around us by providing opportunities for our pupils to empathise with others and to be motivated to make a difference.

Best wishes

John Watson
Headmaster and Principal