Spring term this year has been full of opportunity for all pupils and it is most gratifying to see just how many of our pupils have made the most of their time here. Considering the vast majority of our pupils are new to British education, with many having left their homes for the first time in September 2018 or January 2019, it is all the more impressive to see pupils developing new skills outside of the classroom.
At the start of the year I had asked pupils to remember their ABCs: to be Altruistic to be Brave and to be Curious. This term I have seen ample evidence of all of these soft skills in our pupils.
You can see the health of the school by how it welcomes its visitors. I am proud of how this was in evidence earlier this term in the way our pupils offered their hospitality and friendship to the Japanese visitors from Kagoshima Konan High School. Although only here for a brief visit, the two groups of pupils bonded and made friends as if they had long known each other. Equally welcomed to our school community are the older people who come for weekly visits to the school. Our long established relationship with the charity AGE UK has brought many rewards for all involved. It is lovely to see old and young come together every week at school and so gratifying to receive letters of thank you commenting on pupils’ excellent behaviour and their willingness to help.
It takes considerable courage as well as determination to try something new, especially when you have no cultural reference to the experiences on offer. Of note has been the pupil involvement in two activities which required bravery and a willingness to be part of something which would have been the first for many of our pupils. Taking part in the Newcastle Drill and the CCF parade, our international pupils showed perspicacious spirit; equally, the Duke of Edinburgh expedition required a fortitude of mind to overcome the difficulties of camping in extremely cold conditions and complete the demanding hike the following day.
As part of learning, developing mental toughness to prepare for life beyond the classroom is fundamental. Curiosity is, I believe, an important habit of mind to cultivate. An intrinsic desire to know more makes the boundaries of learning limitless. How wonderful then to see our pupils’ inquisitive minds as they explore their learning outside of the classroom: at the Festival of Chemistry, at the Geography field trip or during ‘The Big Idea’ creating innovative projects for improving school life.
I have been truly impressed by the many examples of altruism, bravery and curiosity this term and I very much look forward to seeing a pupils work together and as individuals to further demonstrate these values.