My room here at Wyedean often witnesses a whole range of interesting conversations, meetings and dialogues through the course of a week and I can only imagine what has been said between these four walls over the decades from my four predecessors. It wasn’t my first choice of location for a Head’s study when I was first appointed but in a very short space of time I couldn’t imagine where else it should go especially as it is located on the main corridor with the windows facing straight out onto the school yard. Basically I get to see the school daily at work and play. I remember a school in Bristol I worked at a long time ago where the Leadership Team housed themselves down an isolated corridor with a coded door. Not sure what the intended message to staff or students was from that gesture but definitely the wrong one. My Year 11 Critical Thinking group, over tea in my room, tackled the concept of “forgiveness” this week, inevitably Donald Trump managed to get a cameo in the debate. This morning I hosted Year 11 sports ambassadors over tea and cookies as they individually spoke about the sports they had represented their area in and in some cases their country. Achievement like this never ceases to amaze. As there were several female international footballers in the room and my 7 year old daughter has just started with her local club I did manage to get a promise of a coaching masterclass in the near future.
Next week the school holds its Open Evening on the 29th September throwing open the doors to all our prospective students and their parents to come and see what makes Wyedean School so special. The school essentially has open day every day and it is one of best features of Wyedean School that parents and children are around the school visiting all the time. I have been invited by old friends and colleagues from the British Council to visit Abbeyfield School in Wiltshire next week as we celebrate some of the best practice in international learning in the UK at a special event on Tuesday. I spoke to colleagues in Stryn, Norway this week about the possibility of their leadership team coming to Wyedean next year to look at teaching & learning, pastoral care and other aspects of school life. This is a school I worked with over 10 years ago and to be able to share and swap ideas with educators around the globe is one of the best things for me about international education.
I was very impressed to see the student leadership from Year 10 boys as they took control of the other half of the old pastoral block to turn it into the their common room. The plan is to have a dedicated Key Stage 4 area on that side of school for Years 10 and 11 to look after. Hopefully there are plenty of sofas on Freecycle to go between them and Year 11. The 6th Form café has been up and running this week and it is the student leadership driving the initiative that is impressive. Plus a lot of hard work from Mrs Lewis and her team.
My Norwegian colleague made a comment this week that made me really think about what’s at the heart of a “good” school – relationships. She mentioned the old African proverb about it takes a village to raise a child and how in a small town like Stryn tucked away in the mountains of Western Norway it is the whole community that ensures an effective partnership between home, school and the community exists to benefit the child. This week I spoke with a parent about what we had to do to ensure that the child gets through a difficult patch in life right now and it was the willingness to work together that made me drive home back across the Severn Bridge knowing her child will come out the other side and be fine. We have good relationships working here at Wyedean between school, home and the community and the more engagement we have the better for the student.