An Exciting New Year

This year ahead of us stands out from many that have come before for the number of exciting development opportunities coming our way. To be the head of a school where all the teaching staff are reliably energised by and open to progressive and enlightened teaching methods makes this job a real pleasure (your children help also, by the way). I use the word ‘progressive’ because I think it’s about time we took the word back from the cynics and critics out there: its’s a word we should be proud of. ‘Conventional wisdom’ has sometimes been at the source of the criticism. Unfortunately conventional wisdom all too often props up either vested interest (and we’re not talking here about the interests of the child) or fear or prejudice. To my way of thinking there is such a large body of thorough and thoughtful research out there now into how children learn, it is irresponsible not to take notice and develop ones practice: I say irresponsible- perhaps I should say immoral (given the children don’t get a second take on all this).


I have already given you the heads up that we will be receiving training in Philosophy for Children and carrying out action research with an educationalist called Shirley Clarke. We are also now looking very seriously at Growth Mindset research, because the evidence is so compelling; because if you get it right, it has such a profound impact on learning and because it complements everything else we are trying to do. In fact we are finding many of these initiatives are now dove-tailing together which hopefully vindicates our general sense of direction. By encouraging a growth mindset (as opposed to a fixed mindset) in our children, we will help them to embrace challenges; to persist in the face of any setbacks they encounter; to see effort as the path to mastering things- not ability; be able to learn from criticism and be able to find lessons and inspiration (as opposed to envy) in the success of others. If you are interested in finding out more, in time we will run some parent workshops but for the moment try looking up Carol Dwecke who has pioneered this research over the last 50 years.