From the Headmaster
Posted by MM - Monday 29 October 2018
In the last five years or so, I have been increasingly involved in training teachers across the country. (I can assure you that the Governors of Sir Thomas Rich’s insist that I keep my eye on the ball as to what is happening at School!) During training, I constantly remind teachers that they are preparing students to thrive in a world that doesn’t yet exist, and that it is likely that our students will have lives which are considerably longer and probably much more complex than ours. It is against this backdrop that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently launched its Future of Education and Skills 2030 project. Educational establishments around the world, including Sir Thomas Rich’s, are now trying to map out the skills and attributes children will need when they leave school which will help them to thrive in tomorrow’s world.
I am pleased that our own Development Plan acknowledges this important way of thinking about what we do in School. The education we offer at Rich’s becomes so important in this context for two key reasons. Firstly, the skills which are emerging as important for the workplace - communication, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and flexibility - are all immeasurably enhanced by the extra-curricular activities, both recreational and academic, that we value so highly. It is this breadth, in which schools like our own excel, that can make a critical difference for the future.
Secondly, I believe that most of these skills have always been important. Our school is strong and stable because of its heritage and tradition: whatever happens to exam systems, the way we work and technology, the essential character of human beings has not changed through history. Tommy’s has always placed character and values above all else, and it is those qualities which have enabled such stability and strength.
Stability is of course extremely important in these times of uncertainty or challenge. I am sure most of you will have seen that last week we were in the news, but not for the right reasons. I cannot agree with the sentiment that all publicity is good publicity. When a mistake is made, even if it is technical rather than deliberate, it is important to acknowledge that something went wrong and to put in place measures to ensure that the same will not be repeated in the future. We have extended our sincere apologies to those families affected by the error and will do all we can to guard against this happening again. I cannot help but draw parallels with some of the key attitudes we aim to inculcate in our pupils: that learning is about making mistakes, accepting them and then putting in place measures to avoid them in the future.
Looking ahead to the next half of term, I am very pleased that we shall soon have the official opening of the newly refurbished Science Labs. This has been a costly project and one which has been entirely funded from private donations. We are as always so grateful to parents and other donors for their gifts to School which make such projects possible, and which have a direct impact on the quality of the education we offer our pupils.
Rather mundanely, as we prepare to return to School, please can I remind you to check that all uniform and sports kit is clearly named. We are working hard to streamline the lost property system, but we are still dealing with far too much unnamed clothing and equipment.
With my very best wishes for the important half term ahead