Headmaster's Weekly Highlights: Our business is...
12th March 2018
it has been an interesting couple of weeks hasn’t it? Just over a week ago,
were looking at snow covered fields, the South lawn was shrouded in a blanket
of white and Tim our Head Chef was on his way, on foot from Romsey to cook breakfast
for the boarders. I think he may prefer that I left that out, but his
commitment and dedication illustrates the approach my colleagues take to the
children in our care and is worthy of public note. It’s how we go about our
was returning from a late trip to pick up some coffee when I heard an
interesting story on the radio. Keith, a billionaire, was in the company of some
business reporters. They asked him about strategy and how he achieved such a
level of success. He had begun with a car wash in Texas, he set out with the
goal of targeting every car in the world, this shrunk to every car in the
county and quickly trimmed back to every car in a two-mile radius. The business
still contracted, this wasn’t working. Then one night he had a flash of genius.
He added a coffee bar, a convenience store and a beauty parlour. His
realisation was that he was not in the car cleaning business, he was in the
pleasure business. He never looked back.
what has that got to do with us? Last week I have had a number of conversations
parents about what we do at Hampshire Collegiate School. On Wednesday we hosted
from a Head of School in Surrey, we have led sessions at the national
conference for the Society of Heads and we have been visited by journalists and
recently had material published about our approach. We are hosting a national teaching
event in June and will be featuring in the national education press in three
issues. What is going on? I
can illustrate with this example. The nub of the conversations with the parent
subjects and choices. In an education world, which is seeing subject choice
we are seeing the increasingly utilitarian approach to education predicated on
needs, I am very proud to stand against that tide of cuts. Like ‘Car-wash
Keith’, I know our business.
the debate about languages, where I encounter the old story of you don’t need a
language, everyone speaks English; I am delighted to explain that one doesn’t
learn an additional language to find the train station, the price of bread or
the directions to the hotel. Though knowing the phrases is useful, Google
translate will do much of that without fuss, Google maps will take you to the
destination and a currency converter will help with all your bread purchasing solutions.
We learn a language to understand the culture of a community of individuals who
have a different perspective on the world than we do. We learn a language for
the same reason that we learn the widest possible curriculum for the longest
period of time - because it makes us more thoughtful, informed and enlightened.
It makes us more human.
recent conversations about our digital strategy, parent groups heard about the
possibilities of technology to enhance learning, to develop understanding and
to encourage sophisticated
thoughtful enquiry. They heard very little about the device. The online Digital
we are introducing from September will allow students to extend their learning,
them up to understanding far beyond what it says in the syllabus.
most schools spool along to Science Week, we are ramping up to a two-week STEAM
Technology Engineering Arts & Maths) festival, which you will see alongside
The team have excelled themselves. You will see us partnering with universities
to provide our students with the most comprehensive, widest and jaw droppingly
opportunities to learn, challenge themselves and grow. Our first Mini MBA
completed last month to great approval from Year 12s. The Nightingale Lecture
continues to be fascinating, informative and richly entertaining. Our next
guest is a
student - Dr Georgia Cole, a University of Oxford Joyce Pearce Research Fellow
who is a specialist in refugee and migration studies. Our careers evenings
continue to light fires of inspiration under students and the STEM event on
Thursday,15th March, is set to be no
compatriot WB Yeats is alleged to have said that education is not the filling
of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire. Whether he said it or not, it remains
true. As others in this education climate retreat to narrow examination
preparation at all costs, as they pinch at the corners of provision because of
the supposed demand of industry, we are lighting fires of inspiration and
ambition: I know what our business is.