Headmaster's Blog - 5th December 2017
I have always marvelled at the way in which teachers of primary or Pre-Prep schoolchildren are masters and mistresses of their craft.
There are undoubtedly common traits of successful teaching of pupils of all ages but those of us for whom 11-18 has been the norm, would do well to be exposed from time to time to children who require an even more simplistic explanation and who are bristling with utter innocence; handling a critical audience (“are you the President?”) cannot fail to raise a smile and so it was when I struggled to engage the Pre-Prep Assembly yesterday afternoon!
It was also sobering conversely to lecture on educational management at Northampton University to a multi-national, multi-age class larger than is the norm at Wellingborough. Again though the class itself ranged from apparent disinterest to unbridled enthusiasm, questioning with both searching and irrelevant questions, mobile devices used to both challenge every statement and check their Facebook was undoubtedly a combination which took me out of my comfort zone!
Back at home it is quite right and proper that we are true to our word and keep going to the final whistle especially when we so often see some take their foot off the gas or disappear for an early ski trip – all, it should be noted, as “unauthorised absence”. These final weeks are notorious for tempers fraying and daftness creeping in and we are naive if we believe that teenagers will not test us out. However, we should not lose sight of the wonderful talents and achievements of our pupils. Playing to an audience which is less than inches away with Heads and Governors sitting in the front row and literally breathing down one’s neck must be daunting, but the Christmas concert started the festive celebrations in fine style. It is testament to the inspiration of both Karl Leutfeld and Ian Runnells and the team of VMTs, that 70 pupils of all ages provided such a high standard of entertainment. No doubt this will be augmented at the sold-out events Calypso Concert and this Sunday’s Carol Service.
This week’s OW London social is the sort of event which affords us an opportunity to meet up with former students who have had their own Wellingborough experiences. We are reminded of the successes of so many OWs (watching Alison Mitchell currently commentating on the Ashes is a high profile example) but there is another dimension about which we should be reminded. Last week we received a communication from the School Fees Charitable Trust - https://www.sfs-group.co.uk/charitable-trust/ which provides grants to parents who suffer unforeseen financial hardships due to a change in circumstance to help them cover their school fees. They explained the story of an OW who was helped by the Trust during their final year at Wellingborough School. Their parents' business suddenly fell into financial difficulties and they were unable to pay the fees in what was the crucial final A Level year. The grant from the Trust enabled the student to take their A Levels at Wellingborough, go on to a leading University and recently progress to a successful career. They have contacted the trust to offer a donation in gratitude and to allow others to benefit similarly. The Trust completed their correspondence to us “ the student loved their time at the school and they are certain that their life would have turned out very differently if they had been forced to leave.”