A school I work with in Delhi, Bal Bharati School, sent me greetings for Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. I gave a talk over video conference this week explaining Bonfire Night and the importance of light also in the increasing darkness of late November with winter around the corner, a long way to go before the end of term at the end of week 10 and the shortest day still far off in December. Like any good educator I felt I had got this across well. First question: “So Guy Fawkes. You light bonfires and have fireworks to celebrate the fact he tried to blow up Parliament?” My silent response was a little longer than I wanted it to be before I said no.
Another annual November commemoration was marked this week with the community act of Remembrance held in Tutshill to mark the 11th November Armistice with a very fitting service and the two minute silence. As I stood with my students from Wyedean School I could see other local schools represented, representatives from The Rifles battalion were there, local scouts and guides organisations, Rotary Club, The British Legion as well as other members of our Forest community. All to remember the significance of the names of local people read out who made the ultimate sacrifice and truly did give their today for our tomorrow. The strength of our community at that moment was very powerful. It is incredible what can be achieved when we come together for a common purpose.
The thought of community wasn’t lost on me as we held our Autumn “Academic Mentoring Days” on Thursday and Friday at Wyedean. I have never known a successful school who doesn’t have a good working partnership with its parents and carers. These opportunities are vitally important so parents & carers get the chance to raise issues with their child’s teachers, sometimes difficult ones but often to reassure and all in the shared spirit of wanting the absolute best for our young people. It was so good to see so many parents & carers over the 2 days in Wyedean School. Our staff here never cease to amaze me with the time they will spend making sure the constant dialogue with home gets the best and gives the very best for our learners. I’ll say it again; I am privileged to be the Head of this school.
I am conscious of how we are a quarter of the way through the 39 week academic year already – minus the holidays. I gave two assemblies this week to Years 8 and 11 on the theme of “Time”. As a History teacher time for me is often a timeline with a start and finish with events in-between. For Dr Who it definitely isn’t. With the risk of being controversial, I used the lovely clip from the best Dr Who ever, David Tennent, where he explains time as more like a “wibbly wobbly ball”. I know, possibly Christopher Eccleston. Sometimes we are not conscious of the amount of time we have and how precious this time is to make something good from it – hours on Candy Crush or Minecraft doesn’t count in case my family are reading this. My Year 10 Critical Thinking group on Thursday got so engrossed in their discussion on the refugee crisis they overran into their PE time – apologies for that.
Next week is the annual British Council’s “International Education Week”. Wyedean School will be using the week to focus on raising global awareness with our students so that they are connected to the World increasingly in which they live and their technology and media are a key part of this when used in a positive way. That awareness of ourselves as an individual, in our local community, in our national community and in our global society isn’t something unique to the C21st. It was there long ago in the minds of those people whose names were read out across our corner of the Forest on Wednesday morning as they were remembered in time.