A Force for Good
BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
I spent yesterday in Leamington Spa (nightmare to get to from here) at the HQ of IAPS, the group of prep schools that St Leonards belongs to. During the meeting, we heard from a fellow Head, Marcus Culverwell from Reigate St Marys, who gave an excellent presentation on ‘Education for Social Responsibility’. IAPS represents 600 of the top prep and junior schools worldwide, all of which have made a pledge to 'provide a challenging, purposeful education that makes an enduring difference to a child’s development'. At the heart of every IAPS school will be ‘education for social responsibility’ (ESR): the promotion of wellbeing, the rights, responsibility, knowledge, skills and opportunity that will enable young people to be valuable and constructive members of society” (IAPS, 2014).
The main purpose of Education for Social Responsibility is to understand that the children we are teaching - the next generation – are going to be the ones to solve some of the greatest problems and challenges that we face, which can be argued include:
- How to deal with our unsustainable, unhealthy and unfair global education system.
- Our impact on planet Earth.
- The impact of food, fresh water, fertile soil and productive oceans running down.
These environmental, social and economic issues will provide extraordinary opportunities for our children as they grow up; opportunities that will break down cultural and geographic borders, but ones that they need to be well prepared to face, define and solve.
In 2012, the Royal Society published a paper called ‘People and the Planet’, in which they warned: 'the next 30-40 years provides the opportunity to move towards a sustainable economy and a better world for the majority of humanity, or alternatively the risk of social, economic, and environmental failures and catastrophes on a scale never imagined'.
With this in mind, I joined twenty other Heads yesterday in total agreement with Mr Culverwell that we have a responsibility to put ‘Education for Social Responsibility’ right at the heart of our schools. It is absolutely no good teaching our children knowledge and skills without making connections to real life issues that they will be well placed to deal with. When a child tells me they want to become an engineer when they are older, or wants to solve a world problem, I take them seriously. If we harness their ambitions, moral compass and desire to help deal with the cost of an unethical economic system, then we must do all we can to promote them.
Bankers, lawyers, hedge-fund managers and traders will still be needed to contribute to society, but so will people to bring creative ideas to ensure future global stability. Over 70% of all top judges have come out of the independent sector, and have therefore most likely attended an IAPS school. This is out of a population in the UK where only 7% are educated privately. This suggests that children educated in our schools have a high probability of going on to influential positions. If this is the case and if we harness their interest in addressing issues of social, economic and environmental concern now, then we will be educating the next generation to be a ‘force for good', the very ethos that underpins IAPS, whereby children learn to make a positive difference, the effect of which will last for generations.
Do watch this clip, which highlights the impact of the fashion industry:
By sheer coincidence, I had the pleasure of seeing ‘Education for Social Responsibility’ first hand on Tuesday afternoon. A group of Year 7 pupils had found a seagull with a broken wing on the playing fields. I was approached by them and was prepared (I am ashamed to say) to bustle the children straight to Latin and think nothing more of this. I was frowned upon and persuaded to act on this.
After a phone call to the RSPB, an hour’s mission to put the bird in a dog cage, and two hours' spent waiting for the seagull to be collected, I found I had learned a great deal from these girls. They assured me that missing Latin had nothing to do with their plight, as they merely wanted to help this bird. Imagine what these children will be capable of in 15 years’ time, but only if they are taught properly to understand these key issues we face, and are equipped with the confidence and core belief to do something about it. Now that is exciting, not only for the children, but for us as schools.
Through our PYP and MYP ‘Units of Inquiry’, we are perfectly placed to continue to give an insight into current world issues. We intend to do this. Mr Culverwell has produced a very useful guide for IAPS Schools, and I do urge you to read this:
Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
SUMS IN THE SUN
SUMS IN THE SUN | Year 5 have been working on ‘area’ in Maths and to make their learning more real and practical, the class took their measuring instruments outside into the playground. The boys and girls began to find the area of a variety of objects including the swing seats, the bench, the area of a step on the slide and the area of the grow bag.
Some of the numbers were beginning to get quite big and calculators were going to be required! Everyone enjoyed being out in the lovely April sunshine and making their Maths real.
BUSHCRAFT CLUB | Tuesday saw the first meeting of the Bushcraft Club, which is open to children in Years 4-7 (although is already oversubscribed!) and aims to familiarize them with the basics of bushcraft. Through a range of fun and practical outdoor activities, the children will develop an enhanced connection with nature, as well as building confidence and resilience.
The club is led by Mr Barrable and will run throughout Summer Term, with boys and girls learning how to build and set up shelters, light fires using a variety of materials, and prepare and cook food over a fire. The group will also learn to use hand tools, such as knives and saws, safely, and have a go at simple orienteering.
With a goal of camping out in the school grounds later this term to work towards, each meeting of the club will prepare the children for a night outdoors, during which they will prepare their own dinner and breakfast before breaking up camp before school starts the next day!
In their first meeting this week, Mr Barrable laid out the goals of the club, explaining about the different skills they would be covering, as well as emphasizing the importance of safety in all of the club’s activities. The session was a fantastic introduction to bushcraft; a fire was lit using deadfall wood collected by the children, who then cooked bannock on sticks over the flames, which was then enjoyed with butter and strawberry jam!
Here’s to a busy term of bushcraft!
NATIONAL SELECTION | Special congratulations goes to Charlotte in Year 7, who has been selected for the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland. Charlotte, who is a very talented violinist, will attend an orchestra camp in Glasgow during the summer holidays, and has already attended a residential course with her fellow musicians in Stirling. A truly fantastic achievement!
CRANNOG CENTRE | Friday has been particularly busy in the Junior School, with the Year 7 trip departing for Normandy first thing, lots of our young golfers taking part in the St Leonards Junior Golf Championships, our singers away at Fettes for the Prep Schools Orchestra Day, and Year 5 out at the Crannog Centre in Perthshire. There's never a dull moment!
Year 5 had a wonderful time touring the Iron Age dwelling and learning what life would have been like 2,500 years ago when communities lived in these ancient loch dwellings.
It looks like the weather took a turn for the worse on the way back to school and everyone was glad to be warm and comfortable on the bus rather than out in the April snow shower!
GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS | We had a record turnout for the St Leonards National Junior U9, U11 & U13 Golf Championships on Friday, with 172 players from across Scotland signed up to play on the Balgove and Strathtyrum courses.
Full list of results to follow!
PREP SCHOOLS' ORCHESTRA DAY
Edward, Alanya, Mark, XiuRong, Eliza, Nicholas, Jennifer, Zachary, Eva and Maya received their ABRSM certificates, recognising a fantastic set of results in their recent music exams.
Holly was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for showing an excellent attitude and genuine excitement at returning to school, and for a truly impressive piece of design work, which showcased her skills and knowledge about materials and their properties.
Hayfaa was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for showing great enthusiasm at the start of the new Unit of Inquiry and for contributing a great deal to the Wonderings Wall.
Evie was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for making a super start to the term, and for showing open-mindedness and cooperation with others in the class.
Mohamed received a Headmaster's Commendation for a research project on ladybirds, and speaking so confidently about his learning. Mohamed's award was also presented for his superb journal about a surprise holiday to Egypt.
Cara was awarded a Headmaster's Commendation for producing a wonderful PowerPoint presentation full of 'wonderings' and for presenting her findings about insects.
Euan received a Headmaster's Commendation for the imagination deployed in creating 'George', a homework hero 'bot' who helps children with their homework to assist busy parents!
Logan received a round of applause at Celebration Assembly for collecting 100 Good Marks.
EDIBLE GARDEN | On Wednesday, Year 2 had a wonderful morning at the university’s Edible Gardens at Albany Park, near the East Sands beach. The boys and girls were met by university students and two Education Officers who work for both the Botanical Gardens and for Transition, the university’s hub for sustainability activity in St Andrews, supporting the community in low-carbon living. With their help, the class proudly became ‘super sustainability warriors’!
The children learned about the importance of growing fresh, local food and gained the knowledge and skills to grow parsnips, kale and potatoes using a ‘no dig’ method. They were shown how to use a variety of gardening tools safely, and did lots of weeding, planting and harvesting vegetables. Everyone had the chance to eat some greens and the group went home with a big armful of kale!
We are really excited about developing a small market garden within the school grounds, and have gained some great ideas for plants that we want to grow. We plan to dig some vegetable beds beside the Junior School so that we can get growing!
Any contributions from kind parents of either compost or well-rotted manure would be extremely welcome and help our plants to grow happily.
BOOK AID COLLECTION
BOOK AID COLLECTION | A big thank you to everyone who donated to this year’s Book Aid collection in the Junior School! A total of £123.77 was raised through a series of fun events and activities, including the wonderful World Book Day costume parade last term!