As teachers, we’re generally pretty good at talking, and we can feel somewhat useless when we lose our voice; it's such an important tool of our trade! However, the best lessons are often those where the pupils talk more than the teacher, for it can reflect their active engagement in their learning. And a good teacher will listen carefully to their pupils while gauging their understanding of the topic.

I give numerous speeches as a head, but I have also done a lot of listening since I arrived at LGS, getting to know the school, appreciating its many qualities and determining priorities. That last bit is important, as I am unlikely to agree with everyone when I make decisions – but that doesn’t mean I haven’t listened on the way to drawing conclusions. We have wanted to give pupils a greater voice in the life of the school (as reflected in our inspection recommendation), and Mrs Jess and one of our senior prefects spoke on Monday to the school about ways in which that voice has contributed to positive change. We want our pupils not only to voice their thoughts but then to take actions which lead to that change.

As adults we certainly have greater experience of the world and, I would hope, the wisdom that comes with age! Yet it’s important that we listen to our children, as they learn to express themselves with increasing conviction and consideration. For when we listen to others, they know that we value them and their opinions, even if we don’t necessarily always agree. I am sure we have all been in situations when it’s obvious that our interlocutor isn’t really listening, when they are keen to interrupt or appear eager to move on to the next person who will probably have more interesting conversation than we do! It’s a great gift to listen actively to others, regardless of their station in life, for we immediately confer worth on them.

I hope you have the opportunity over half-term to listen to your children, to spend family-time together and to listen to our world as it wakes up to spring!

Best wishes

John Watson
Headmaster and Principal