“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” H. G. Wells

Like many people I woke up on Saturday morning to be confronted with the shocking and appalling events that were still unfolding in Paris following the IS terrorist attacks on innocent people doing nothing more than enjoying their Friday evening in Paris. At a football match, in restaurants, cafes and a concert. My friend who teaches and lives in Paris spoke about the absolute numbness she felt and had spent this week calling friends and parents to see if they were ok. This week in school students and teachers have been discussing why this senseless violence has been perpetrated. I have been proud of my students when I have heard their discussions who see these people from IS not as a representation of Islam but of something more akin to nihilism and senseless destruction of innocent lives. A Muslim teacher colleague and friend from Indonesia who I worked with in Bandung on Java, Ibu Eha, spoke to me this week and said “Tell your students & community IS doesn’t speak for Islam. As Muslims our teachers, parents and students believe only in peace and tolerance”.

In school we had to decide whether our visit to France for Year 7 should still go ahead, scheduled for this week. The decision to postpone until after new year was the right one, later confirmed by the FCO website advising no school travel to France this weekend. Our parents were brilliantly supportive and we cannot thank them enough for the way they have worked with the school on this. I was interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Monday about the decision we had taken as a school to postpone the visit. I also spoke on the programme about what we do as a school to ensure our students are educated about World events such as the Paris Attacks and how we develop their ability to understand these events. The HG Wells quote in this blog has never been more apt for me as an educator. This coincided with the school marking the British Council’s “International Education Week” with a series of events as Wyedean School believes so strongly in the high importance global education plays in C21st learning. We have been working with our Quebec and Spanish partner schools this week and it is so good to hear parents and students in our partner primary schools praising the joint transition work through the innovative Mandarin learning we have provided.

The Creativity Learning Area held their annual Year 7 music concert on Tuesday night. My surprise swung between the sheer talents this year group has in those amazing singing voices to how so many parents had made it into school beating Storm Barney. It was also good to see the entire year group performing confidently together and how proud parents and teachers were of the performances. On Thursday KS3 were treated to a workshop provided by G Dance and the disabled actor Nicola Miles-Wildin. Wyedean School sees creativity as another key element in C21st learning and this was a great opportunity for the students to create great dance set pieces. Nickie is coming back in January.

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