Quality assured

We are sorry we have had to take the rare decision to close this morning, and I hope that it does not cause you too much inconvenience. As you know, lessons are being provided online, so children should be happily and productively occupied. The weather is due to improve, so we will make decisions later today regarding tonight’s production of ‘Matilda’ and weekend activities, including the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh training expedition.

I had a super day on Tuesday, interviewing potential Sixth Form Academic Scholars with Mr Hunt, Head of Sixth Form. For many, it was their first formal interview. What a fabulous bunch of young people! They were curious, articulate, well-mannered and clearly interested not only in their studies but in the world around them.

When asked to describe scholarship, they variously talked about hard work, resilience, character, determination, enthusiasm, passion and motivation. There was also mention of compassion, kindness, empathy and helpfulness. Explaining these latter terms, some said how important it was to share a love of learning and to support others.

Of course, all these descriptions could apply to any of our pupils, as they are qualities to which we can all aspire. It is why, when we analyse pupils’ report grades, we always look at effort before achievement. None of us can be good at everything, but we can all find and hone our talents, and we can all be proud of our human qualities when we use them to the benefit of those around us.

Our young people compare themselves far too much to the idealised images of success and attractiveness which they encounter online. However, many of our candidates chose their parents as role models, speaking fondly of their aspirations, their work ethic and their advice. One of them also quoted Theodore Roosevelt as saying: “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

So, please encourage your children if ever they think they’re not good enough or don’t conform to an unattainable standard of perfection. Whilst we never want our children to be arrogant, we do want them to be proud of who they are and to have the natural self-belief to make a powerful and positive difference in life.

Best wishes, and keep warm,

John Watson