“The only thing we have is one another. The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company. Anyone can open up a coffee store. We have no technology, we have no patent. All we have is the relationship around the values of the company and what we bring to the customer every day. And we all have to own it.”
Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks
I am not about to suggest that a school is like a coffee shop – however much our Sixth Formers enjoy the Red Squirrel! Yet the words ‘culture...values...relationship’ certainly resonate, and perhaps more so than ever in current times. I don’t talk much about exam results when I address prospective parents; they can find them on our website, where they speak for themselves. But I do focus on culture and values, for they are what underpin the success and happiness of our school. Understanding the culture and sharing the values strengthens our community and all it stands for, informs our behaviour and results in consistent messages and expectations – both within the school and facing outwards:
“And we all have to own it.”
We may have splendid grounds, fine buildings and modern facilities, but it is the members of our community (pupils, staff, parents) who lend it its strength and character. People and the quality of our relationships matter more than anything else.
And when we lose a much-loved member of our community, as we did at the weekend, we know how important those relationships are to our daily lives and to our daily happiness. The stronger the relationships, the greater the joy they bring, and the deeper the pain we feel at their loss. But we also draw mutual comfort and support by standing together: “The only thing we have is one another.”
If you would still like to contribute a message ‘In memory of Andrew’, you may do so via this link.
We shall write prior to the end of term with any important information or updates relating to COVID-19. It has been a challenging term both for the school and for many of our families, and I have been very impressed by the positive commitment of our pupils, and by the diligence and care of the staff. Huge progress has been made in so many areas and often in the face of considerable obstacles. We can look forward with optimism to brighter days ahead.
I am most grateful for your ongoing support and send my very best wishes to you and your family for a Happy and Healthy Christmas.