Published on 04/11/19
When we think of what we want for our children in education, most parents would say that they ‘just want them to do their best.’ This is entirely compatible with the ethos at Claremont Fan Court where we encourage every pupil to strive to achieve more than they might have believed possible. Over the last ten years, I have had the pleasure of seeing former Prep School pupils go on to our Senior School and do exactly that. Indeed, to see pupils opening envelopes of public examination results, and watching apprehension turn to joy as they absorb the benefit of many years of effort, also offers the greatest of rewards to teachers.
However, the potential for stress to arise from our test-driven education system is well-recognised and resilience has become a word often used in school staff rooms. In a world where it is estimated that 70% of the jobs that today’s school children will do are not yet even in existence, resilience and the ability to adapt will be key.
Our pupils need to be reflective and embrace challenges, to learn from mistakes and develop the resilience to seek continual improvement. We help them to achieve this by expecting them to contribute to make school life a fulfilling and happy prospect for all. Feeling in charge of their own learning, and indeed wider lives, comes from a strong sense of ‘Who I am’. We seek to foster a positive feeling of self-worth through praising pupils for their effort and endeavour. In our gently selective school, our pupils respect and value the diversity in our community and celebrate the effort that each individual makes.
Endeavour, by definition, means trying hard. Endeavour requires a tough mindset, where striving towards a goal inspires achievement beyond the expected. Sometimes, I am reminded of the children’s classic ‘We’re going on a bear hunt.’ As on the bear hunt, teachers have to help learners understand that ‘You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you’ve got to go through it…’ We believe that this aspect of resilience, the ability to ‘go through’ and apply oneself with commitment is at the centre of a happy and fulfilled experience of school.
As our motto says, we encourage our pupils to be strong in understanding and thus to inspire one another in their learning through their strong values and committed work ethic.
Mrs Helen Hutton-Attenborough
Head of the Preparatory School