I stressed on Wednesday afternoon to parents of new pupils how very important and special our partnership was as their children embarked on the adventure of secondary education. In fact, we are, as teachers and parents, co-educators as we aim to give our children the best possible preparation for the life ahead of them. The word ‘educate’ stems from two Latin verbs: “educare” means to ‘bring up, train, mould’ whilst “educere” means to ‘lead out’. The former denotes the passing down of knowledge and wisdom whilst the latter refers more to the preparation mentioned above.

We hope that the training we give as educators will enable our children to make the right choices in life, for, as they grow up, we shall no longer make those choices for them. So it is vital that we equip them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. This we do by imparting information, through discussion and through role-modelling; at school, some of this ‘message’ is transmitted though assemblies and our PSD programme. The “educere” bit requires an understanding of the values which then enable our children to reach, we hope, moral decisions as they encounter life’s many challenges.

Adolescence can be a tough time as teenagers attempt to answer some of life’s bigger questions and as they work out their place and identity in relation to others and the universe. This can be accompanied by wavering self-esteem and a feeling that the adults around them simply don’t understand! And we probably don’t always - but it is nevertheless important at those moments that we give our children the reassurance, encouragement and love which they crave. At my last school, we used to have an evening for parents entitled ‘Living with teenagers’, where we acknowledged that parenting was not a precise science, and where we were able to lend some support to parents as they aimed to keep lines of communication open and to do their best for their offspring! The pupils, in their turn, asked whether they could have a talk on ‘Living with parents’!

You entrust your children to us at the most formative time of their lives, acknowledging that we are trained not only to impart knowledge and to help your children achieve wonderful things, but also in the hope that we shall assist them to gain top grades for character. We have a very precious responsibility to nurture them as best we can, so that they leave us as naturally self-confident, rounded, generous and fulfilled human beings.

You will next week receive a link to a questionnaire which forms part of my research this term into the strengths and areas for development of our school. Please be open and frank in your comments, as I would like them to inform future planning. Next term, you will then have the opportunity to come into school to participate in a focus group, as we work together, with staff, the pupils themselves and trustees to make our community an even better place – all for the sake of the children whom we educate.

Best wishes

John Watson
Headmaster and Chief Executive