As a self confessed Lord of the Rings fan, the 3 book series; The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King, have certain symmetry with the three term school year. Whilst we would hope to not be fighting orcs or dragons in school, I have no doubt that magic powers, including an invisibility ring would be very useful at times for teachers and students alike. Whenever I ask Year 6 children which special superhero power they would choose to have, the ability to fly or be invisible at will, are always the most popular answers. Sadly neither flying nor invisibility are on the curriculum this year but there are many new developments and improvements at all 3 schools both in learning and facilities! Not quite like The Shire, Gondor or The Misty Mountains but more of that later.
The difference between school and life….
School teaches you lessons and then gives you a test.
Life gives you a test and then you learn the lessons.
It’s often very easy at school for us to become wrapped up in our own world and nowhere more so than at wonderful Westholme. However it is always important that we prepare boys and girls for the wider world and that includes facing adversity & dealing with disappointment, as well as celebrating success. This year we want to ensure that all pupils (whatever age they are) are encouraged to take risks and be brave enough to learn from the experience whether they are successful or not.
A lost hockey or rugby match is not the end of the season; a disappointing exam result is not the end of learning or gathering knowledge. All schools should cultivate success and thrive upon it but we need to inculcate the ability to ‘fail well,’ to learn from the experience, bounce back and evolve as well.
Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.
Expecting every pupil to achieve the best they can and fulfil their potential is absolutely right. But we must also ensure that every child has different skills, abilities and personalities and that their journey is completely unique to them. This journey should be peppered with milestones that include success, failure, joy, courage, excitement, wonder, disappointment, love, awe, friendship, aspiration and self awareness.
Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring was divided at the end of the first book; the companions fought valiantly against adversity and evil throughout the second and final volumes and ultimately defeated the forces of Sauron. Their tenacity, bravery, loyalty and determination combined to help them achieve their goals. A good school is a community and a great school combines this with an education for life.
In our academic trilogy of terms I wish everyone the courage to be bold and to make the most of every opportunity and as Gandalf the Grey said ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’
Good luck for the year ahead!
Lynne M Horner
3rd September 2014