Behind the Study Door
“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Alvin Toffler (1970).
Last week I attended the annual IAPS conference in London. This two-day event affords Prep School Heads to discuss topical issues, hear from experts in various educational fields and spend valuable time sharing good practice. I shall use this blog to share some of the apposite messages I have taken away from the conference, much of which (like the quote above) are very relevant to our current thinking at St George’s.
Thinking about how pupils learn was a running theme throughout the conference. To give background to this, we were reminded of a report by the World Economic Forum in 2016, who concluded that the following skills were needed to thrive in 2020:
• Complex problem solving
• Critical thinking
• People management
• Coordinating with others
• Emotional intelligence
• Judgment and decision making
• Service orientation
• Cognitive flexibility
In his book, ‘Rules of Genius’, Marty Neumeier, defines four types of work. These are:
• Creative: Unique, imaginative, non-routine and autonomous
• Skilled: Standardised, talent-driven, professional and directed
• Rote: Interchangeable, routinized, outsourceable and managed
• Robotic: Algorithmic and computerised.
What is clear is that the jobs of the future, whilst very uncertain at this stage, will inevitably sit within the creative section, therefore requiring many of the skills above.
The need for innovation within our schools was specifically highlighted, and I was delighted that the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate was highlighted as an area of best practice in achieving this.
Three keynote sessions in particular stood out.
1. Using the wonderful story, ‘We are Going on a Bear Hunt’ as an example, Dr. Nihara Krause, an expert in children’s mental health spoke about resilience programmes in schools. The children in the aforementioned book have the choice of ‘going under it; over it; or through it’, always having to go through it, and she used this as an example of children having to face their emotions and develop the strategies to get through them. The importance of imagination, play and social interaction were highlighted as a core part of building resilience. Above all, Dr Krause spoke of the importance of learning about oneself and the notion of Growth Mindset (falling forwards). She warned against perfectionism, so often encouraged by societal and social media pressures. I was very taken by the ‘We are Going on a Bear Hunt’ analogy, and I encourage you to use this with your children when they are faced with overcoming something.
2. Priya Lakhani, the founder of Century Tech, a company bringing Artificial Intelligence into schools, spoke about the need for education to catch up with the rest of AI. Every day we are using AI to shop online, search Google, manage our finances and communicate with others, and despite education being the 2nd largest industry in the world, it is the least disrupted by AI. Tying in with Toffler’s quote about learning, she highlighted the continued problem with education being a factory model still. There is a danger that we still spoon-feed our children instead of allowing them to upskill themselves. The demonstration we were given in how AI can be used to offer a truly personalised learner profile for each child was staggering.
3. Professor Deborah Eyre, founder of ‘High Performance Learning’ gave a brilliant presentation on an underpinning philosophy that all pupils are capable of performing at a high level. She pointed to neuroscience that warns against measuring a child’s potential, as our brain elasticity ensures we are constantly making new neurons so how can we know what our potential is? She also used learning to drive as an example that it doesn’t matter how long it takes someone to master something, for this has no bearing on how good they will be at it.
To ensure we are developing the skill of independent and self-regulated learning, it is clear that AI, wellbeing and resilience programmes, and establishing a culture where ‘high performance learning’ is central, all play a role in establishing just the right atmosphere to mould our pupils for the world ahead of them.
In amongst other discussions around the political landscape and the challenges it presents to independent schools, there was great optimism for our sector. Prep Schools are leading the way in innovation, and we are excited here to explore all the opportunities we have. I also learned a rather disappointing fact. The Junior Oxford Dictionary has taken out various words associated with nature, to replace them with ‘blogging’ and other contemporary words. I shall investigate this further, because in amongst AI and future technologies, one of my main targets for this year is to embed outdoor learning at St George’s.
Head Master's Commendations
Ebbe K: for fantastic work in English.
Nefeli M: for her superbly presented poster about her favourite meal in French.
Spirit of St George's Award
Fede R: for helping the Year 4 choristers to get ready for a sporting fixture. Showing great thoughtfulness and kindness.
Sports Players of the Week
Years 3 and 4: Molly J: Pursuing Excellence - great effort in her hockey lessons and her determination to perfect her ball control and tackling technique.
Years 5 and 6: Jennifer W: Teamwork - working well with her team to defend, creating space and moving into positions to aid successful passes
Years 7 and 8: Billy O'B: pursuing excellence and his efforts to improve and progress through both training and match play.
MindUp Thought for the Week
If you want to be good at something focus your mind on it……again and again and again.
Prep School Assembly
On Friday children in Years 4 - 8 enjoyed a highly interactive and entertaining presentation by the actress Rae Baker Wisbey. Rae engaged the children by teaching them techniques to improve their diction and performance skills, such as practising tongue-twisters and voice exercises, which she demonstrated with her beautiful soprano voice.
Chamber Choir and T Voices Sing at Festival Coffee Concert
Members of the Chamber Choir had their numbers bolstered by happy members of T Voices. There was much excitement for the first concert of the new academic year. The children climbed Castle Hill in their blue cassocks towards Windsor Parish Church. The choir opened with ‘A million dreams’ from The Greatest Showman, followed by a mellow snow song and finished by a whizzing ‘Fast Red Car’. Well done to everyone who took part!
Choristers Visit Year 1 Children
Year 1 have been learning about the School’s history and how it was founded to educate the boy choristers, and on Wednesday the choristers Carl, Alexios and Leo gave up their break time to come and talk to the children about 'life behind the scenes'. Year 1 loved it, as did the teachers! Afterwards the boys really enthused about having done it, and having had the chance to talk about what they do.
Inside the Classroom
This week in Year 5
In Science, Year 5 have been learning about life processes and living things. In Week 3 they had looked at the differences between plant and animal cells and examined them under a microscope. This week they were looking at the parts of a flower and what their roles are in allowing the life cycle of a flower to continue. They dissected some gladioli, identifying the main parts and made their own collages of a dissected flower.
After reading Michael Morpurgo's This Morning I Met a Whale’, the children have been learning to retell the story through pictures. Text mapping allows the children to recap and remember the story using their own illustrations. Next week they will be writing their own version of the story about an animal of their choice.
Maths Puzzle and Word of the Week
Wow! What a week! Since last week’s Sports Report the school has attended 25 weekday fixtures, competed in matches against over 25 different schools and four tournaments, two of which were hosted here at the school. We could not be more proud of the pupils’ effort, enthusiasm and endeavour over the past seven days. We have seen wonderful success, courage and resilience in the face of defeat, but through all of these experiences, the sporting values have been at the heart of everything achieved. It would be remiss of me not to thank the staff who have all played a key role in facilitating these sports fixtures: Mr Elston, Mrs Barlow, Mr Nicholas, Mr Lildurn, Mr Wills, Mr Wilson, Mrs D'Amaro, Mrs Wayman, Mrs James, Mrs O'Donovan, Mr Svenson, Mr Onions, Mr Dev, Mrs KB and Miss Hewson.
On Friday 20 September Year 3 and 4 boys competed against Holme Grange School. The U8s played hosts and entertained with some fast passing and impressive counter attacking. Teams were caught out of position on occasions resulting in some good chances for Holme Grange. However, we were ultimately too strong, creating far more opportunities than the opposition. There is impressive progress being made by all three teams and we look forward to more of the same in future weeks. The Year 4s travelled to Holme Grange with two of the three games ending in a draw. The boys were able to put a lot of the work covered in training in to good effect on the pitch, resulting in pleasing progress with both passing and positioning. Special mention to George H for his determination and playing to the last whistle, and being rewarded with a last minute goal to bring the score level at full time.
On Monday we hosted our annual U9 Community Football Tournament. It was a great opportunity for all of our Year 4 boys to gain valuable tournament experience, to play in different positions and to develop a wider knowledge and understanding of the game. Congratulations to Eton Wick who won the Cup Final in a one-goal thriller.
On Wednesday our Colts A took part in the annual U11 Dolphin Tournament. Unfortunately they were unable to get through the group stages after a slow start, and learnt the tough lesson that a group stage performance is essential to tournament progression. Colts B started their match against Hampton Prep very strongly, dominating possession and working the ball up the field via accurate passing. They were 3-0 up at half time though Hampton Prep came back in the 2nd half with two quick goals, but St George’s managed to withstand the pressure by marking tightly. It was a terrific team performance. The final score was 3-2 to St George’s. Colts C were under a lot of pressure from Hampton Prep in the first half but did their best to defend. There was some good passing in the mid-field from St George’s players. The final score was 3-2 to Hampton Prep. Colts D had a slow start to the game conceding two early goals, but with a refocus at half time were able to bring the score back to a 3-2 win. Special mention to Fede R and Bikram H for their passing throughout the game.
Colts Development Reds played away at Hampton Prep and enjoyed an exciting open game, with many opportunities for both sides. Congratulations to Cedric R and Nathaniel M for their efforts over the course of the game. Colts Development Blues played Hampton Prep at home on a lovely sunny day on Home Park. The whole team worked really hard on their positions and communication throughout the game. Julian J captained the team well and lead from the front. Star performers were Halley L and Kobe L who worked tirelessly in midfield tracking back and bombing forward.
The 1st XI put in a superb performance against Leighton Park. Every single member of the team worked their socks off and should be proud of their efforts. They took the lead with a well taken goal by Tom G, who finished off a lovely move by Daniyal P and Keiran E, who then doubled the lead after Harry E beat the defence with a fabulous lobbed pass. Leighton Park were tough opponents and came out fighting in the second half with the final score ending 3-2 in favour of Leighton Park. Despite the score line, this was a strong performance and special mention must go to Nathan M who gained man of the match for his high energy performance.
The 2nd IX should be incredibly proud of their performance this week despite losing their game. They have had a number of areas to work on as a team and have made outstanding progress in both their positioning and understanding of the offside line. Special mention to Carl A for his passing and Miles M for exploiting the space out wide.
The 3rd VII team produced a fine team performance in which they ran out comfortable winners against Leighton Park. Seb H played magnificently to score a hat trick and was ably supported by goals from Zinedine B and Will S.
On Saturday 28 we hosted our annual Prep School U10 Football Tournament. With the weather threatening to upset proceedings, we were delighted that everyone stayed dry enough to put on an outstanding display of football. Congratulations to both our teams that took part and a special mention to Sam N who played up a year and boosted the defence to good effect. Well done to Hall Grove who ended up being the overall winning team.
The U10 girls were successful in their matches at The Marist netball tournament where they finished top in their group and were awarded with medals and certificates. Despite the tough competition they faced, the team showed resilience and kept their composure throughout. The defence worked extremely hard and the team only conceded two goals throughout the whole tournament. Well done to Liv D and Tilly W for being awarded players of the match, but also to the whole team who worked together on court to create excellent passages of play throughout the afternoon.
It’s been a great week of sport for the girls as they continue with their hockey lessons and fixtures. This week lessons have focused on spacing in hockey and developing confidence to run with the ball. On Wednesday the U11 and U12 girls took on Waverley School at Eton's astro pitch and both teams were successful with 7-0 and 8-0 wins. Their dribbling and determination to beat players with the ball was excellent and there was some great team work and confidence on the ball from both teams. Special mention to Ella G and Isobel G who fulfilled their forward positions to the best of their ability with some excellent shooting and awareness of space. Well done to all!
On Friday the U8 and U9 girls took on Waverley in their second fixture of the term. All the teams proved they have taken on board what they have learnt in lessons and this was shown in the way they moved the ball up the pitch smoothly. They created many successful runs for the forwards to convert to goals, and there were many strong tackles and defence that proved to make attacking play difficult for Waverley. Special mention in defence to Eleni S, Siena L, Sophia B and Scarlett S. In midfield, Ava S, Cicily W and Mariella O all formed strong links between the defence and forward players. Well done to Gracie M, Jessica G and Celeste J-H who scored some fantastic goals during the afternoon. Final mention to Cicily W who played a strong role as goalkeeper and then moved to a forward later on in the game, showing her versatility throughout the match.
The Years 7 and 8 girls have continued with their golf lessons and have been working hard to perfect their swing. They have all really enjoyed trying a new sport and their technique is improving each week.
Congratulations to Yana in Year 6 who has been offered a place in the U12 Berkshire Tennis team!
Special mention for sporting values
Pursuing Excellence: Celeste J-H has grown in confidence this week and has shown some excellent hockey skills alongside increased control of the ball and improved knowledge of creating space on the pitch.
Teamwork: Isobel G played a great game of hockey during Wednesday’s fixture. She worked well with her team to get into space and converted many shooting opportunities into goals.
Enjoyment: Savannah K's confidence in hockey has grown this week and she played a great role as goalkeeper in the match, finishing with a big smile! She has also significantly begun to improve in her golf technique.
Pursuing Excellence: George H has shown excellent determination; never giving up all the way to the final whistle.
Pursuing Excellence: Fede R and Bikram H worked well to find space, passing well throughout the game.
Leadership: Julian captained the Colts Development Blues team well and led from the front.
Pursuing Excellence: Halley L and Kobe L who worked tirelessly in midfield, tracking back and bombing forward.
Teamwork: Seb H played magnificently to score a hat trick.
Teamwork: Carl A demonstrated excellent passing in to space.
Pursuing Excellence: Miles M exploited the space out wide to excellent effect.
Teamwork: James C and Toby C - named the Most Valuable Players in the U10 Football Tournament.
15 children performed in the first concert of this academic year. They all demonstrated an abundance of talent and the standard of music was impressively high. Taking photographs in the Victoria is always a bit of a challenge and can be distracting, so here are some photos of some of the performers rehearsing in the Victoria earlier in the day. Well done to everyone who took part!
We wish the following a very happy birthday for the week ahead:
30 September Sahibzada S, Loic C
1 October Eloise A
2 October Daniel P
3 October Elizabeth G
4 October Eleanor B, Jonah P
5 October Henry T
6 October James J