BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
Facts are like fish.
I wonder how many times we ask children what they want to be when they grow up? If you're like me, I suspect many times. It's a wonderful question to ask, and invokes many imaginative and endearing answers. It's an excellent conversation starter with children, and of course we all remember what we wanted to be when we were younger. Indeed, it is so good for our creativity to live in a world of imagination as young people. We were treated to a wonderful presentation in Assembly on Thursday by Mr. Roux, and I have no doubt that all of us (staff and children) left his presentation eagerly planning our own futures as chefs!
I spent a very interesting and engaging day at Wellington College on Monday debating curriculum reform in Key Stage 2 and 3, and specifically how we prepare children best to be truly independent learners. One of the standout talks was by Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, until recently the Chief Executive of Virgin Money, a position she held with considerable success. She gave an insight into some of the key skills she has especially favoured in her highly successful teams. These include: an ability to challenge the status quo; brave enough to try something different; have the confidence to say what they don't understand; having true purpose and a desire to make a difference; people willing - when necessary - not to follow the norm or be completely compliant (within regulations and the law, of course!); and well rounded people who know and understand who they are, and can work in diverse teams and be equally happy with 'backroom as well as boardroom'.
As the global landscape shifts, it is quite clear that we need to promote the notion of 'thinking differently' with our young people, especially as we enter the fourth industrial revolution. There are many statistics that we can refer to when thinking of the workforce of the future, such as 35% of all UK's job market at risk of being automated by 2033, the year our current Year 2s enter the world of work. One that grabbed my attention the other day shows that two of the fastest growing jobs in 2018 were 'Director of Community Engagement' and 'Full Stack Software Developer'. How do we begin to prepare children for these jobs? The answer is surely building the right skills and attitudes that will ensure our children can go into an unpredictable world and tackle just about anything.
A recent survey by Deloitte found the following to be in the top ten most important attributes for our children to have in order to thrive in this period of exponential change:
1. Active listening skills, including the ability to see another person's point of view
2. Problem sensitivity
3. Speaking skills
4. Critical thinking skills
The critical message here is the importance of teaching children how to learn and engage critical thinking skills. Skills such as problem solving, risk taking, resilience in learning, adaptability, understanding failure and curiosity are the skills that will remain constant and be needed more than ever for our children growing up.
Monday's debate sparked healthy differences of opinion amongst the 70 or so Prep School Heads with regards to a knowledge-based curriculum vs a skills-based approach to learning. Of course, rigorous learning is key, as is knowledge, as it forms the base for children to think. However, of equal importance is the development of reasoning skills, problem solving and a sound judgement.
This provides a tremendous opportunity for educators, and us at St George's, to continue to promote self-discovery in learning, and the expansion of a child's meta-cognition.
There is one final skill we must focus on for our children. This is reflection and contemplation. I think the image below conjures up a wonderful - and perhaps idyllic - notion of a child reflecting on a day of soaking up knowledge, creating something extraordinary with that knowledge, expanding his / her imagination and curiosity, and finding the answers to many self-constructed questions.
So, perhaps asking what a child wants to be when they grow up is meaningless, and we should instead be asking what they want to do. We might find it captures their imagination much more and helps support the life-long learning process.
Exciting times ahead for us all!
Wishing all St George's families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures (and their imagination) take you.
HEAD MASTER'S CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY
The following pupils received certificates at Celebration Assembly on Monday:
Spirit of St George’s Award
A new award presented to pupils for displaying the core values of the school, through kindness, generosity of spirit, thoughtfulness, exceptional manners and thinking of others.
Sport Players of the Week – for displaying the core values of the sports department
Tri Club: Completing the Autumn Term School Triathlon Programme
Alexander U, Ekam R, Alexander L, Isla M, Jessica G, Raphael K, James C, Teddy H, Leah H, Tabitha P, Annabel P, Eva R.
NATIONAL SCHOOL'S OBSERVATORY ASTRONOMY IMAGE OF THE MONTH
One of our budding astronomers, Jamie P, has been awarded a wonderful canvas print and certificate from the National Schools Observatory of an image of the galaxy M74 that he took in Mr Foran’s Astronomy Club. Jamie used a robotic telescope, situated in La Palma, to take a picture of the spiral galaxy M74, about 30 million light years away from Earth. The telescope took three separate images in black and white and sent them back to Jamie. It was Jamie's job to then process each separate image into a colour image using software specifically design for this job (and used by professional astronomers) to recombine the separate images into a single colour image. Jamie’s excellent picture was sent to NSO last term and was selected as the Astronomy Picture of the Month for November. Very well done, Jamie.
MUSIC AT ST GEORGE'S
We are thrilled that the Chamber Choir and Year 5 pupils will be performing at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 March in a sensational celebration of music and song organised by the music education charity Berkshire Maestros. Tickets are available to purchase here.
The first House meetings of the year took place this week. The children enjoyed starting their preparations for the House Music competition at the end of this half term. The theme this year is 'Transport', and there is much excitement and secrecy about the songs which have been chosen.
House Music is a way for the pupils to enjoy music, work together as a House, gain in confidence and have fun. There is an opportunity to sing solo parts within the chosen songs, and for instrumentalists and singing pupils in each House to audition for a spot in the solo section of the competition. This is open to all pupils from Years 3 - 8, with two pupils being chosen to perform from each House.
Bligh Henshilwood - Vindictive House Captain
Along with all the great changes this term, including Mr Goldsmith and his interactive and fun assemblies, Mr Elston is also trying really hard to make, not only our games lessons really great, but also rugby club and PE. I also know Mrs Gilbert, the new Year 1 teacher, and her class have been having so much fun getting to know each other.
Vindictive’s house meetings have been particularly interesting and I’m proud to be a part of them and to represent the House. We have done plenty of activities including all Years and even the teachers have been thinking of activities to sell at the May Fair in a couple of months. Kaya in Year 3 had a very funny suggestion: “Why don't we get a thing where you put the money in and then money comes out.” So pretty much suggesting a school casino! I wonder what Mr Goldsmith will think of that!
The U10 team have started their sessions well, working on the introduction to the ruck and scrum rules. All three teams played home matches this week and demonstrated an excellent level of progress from the previous week. Special mention should go to Benji S for his resilience and tackling technique during the matches.
The U11 have adapted well to the introduction to kicking and additional players at the breakdown at the ruck and maul. They have clearly enjoyed learning these new rules and their teamwork has been fantastic.
The 2nd XII have worked hard so far this term, securing their first win of the season through excellent teamwork and a developing understanding of the rules. Special mention goes to Leo M for his try saving tackle in the last play of the game to secure a win.
The 1st XII have impressed in both matches since the start of term, demonstrating a clear and commendable ambition to play expansive and creative flowing rugby. This has included great handling around contact, dynamic rucking and good decision-making. Particular credit should go to Thomas M and Johnny W who have been leading the team excellently.
All team members deserve a special 'well done' for playing in such challenging weather conditions on Wednesday!
ASSEMBLY GUEST SPEAKER: MR ALAIN ROUX
This Thursday we welcomed the celebrated three Michelin star chef and restaurateur, Mr Alain Roux, into our assembly. He talked passionately about his career, how rewarding it was, and what it takes to become a world-class chef in terms of hard work, dedication and commitment. Lucy K and Johnny W then fired a long list of questions at him, which he very kindly answered.
NEWS FROM THE ICT DEPARTMENT
Year 6 have been working on Stop Motion Animation. The children have learnt to copy and paste moves, reverse moves, green screen and use a ‘magic rubber’ which paints the scenery back in. Take a look at Tommy H and Billy O's animation. Very impressive work!
KINDERGARTEN STAY AND PLAY
On Wednesday the children in the Kindergarten hosted a very special morning when they were able to proudly show parents and guardians their classrooms. They enjoyed playing with their creative-thinking toys and hands-on educational games with them.
YEAR 2 SCIENCE
On Thursday Year 2 were excited to have their very first lesson in one of the school science laboratories, with Mr Foran and Mrs Saunders. They learnt about irreversible and reversible changes in substances and how important it is to put on safety goggles!