It is always good to get out of one’s study and take a look at what is going on beyond our school gates and indeed our town and for that matter, our county. And this week I have been in Manchester (some may say the home of football and I was certainly impressed with this powerhouse of a city) at the Boarding Schools’ Association Conference and it was interesting hearing and speaking to colleagues from both the state and independent sector. Boarding continues to provide fulfilling opportunities and its benefits can be transformational, as we heard how it has changed the lives of some vulnerable pupils. Building bridges between the sectors and other bodies (local councils, government, health etc.) is key in bringing about change and working together can only be beneficial in the long run and we as a state boarding school will continue to work hard to promote and champion the benefits of boarding.
It was useful to discuss and debate the issues we are all currently facing in education today - curriculum reform, assessment, funding, teacher recruitment, Brexit – all hot topics of debate that are shaping the new educational landscape. And we had the opportunity to do this with the Schools’ Minister himself, Mr Nick Gibb MP who spoke well at the Conference. Education is certainly changing with the forced academisation of primaries (or not as I have just learnt!), more testing, different grading and assessment systems and tighter inspection regimes to name but a few. Some might argue that it is an exciting time to be in education with all this change but my priority is to ensure that we deliver a first class education to our pupils amongst all this reform and to continue to provide opportunities to develop character, resilience and independence. Whilst I was away I heard that we had a successful Summer Concert with many of our talented musicians showcasing their talent and tough cricket fixtures against the likes of Wells Cathedral and Millfield Girls - all equally impressive.
My colleagues in both sectors are cautiously optimistic, especially with boarding numbers on the rise. This changing pedagogy can bring many benefits and we should not underestimate the power that boarding, in all its guises, can bring. Just look at Leicester City.