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Headmasters’ Blog Thursday 10th May

May 10, 2012

Are you sitting comfortably?

I have just spent two weeks involved in one of the best things that I do as a Headmaster – chatting to pupils! Whilst I might do this fleetingly on a daily basis perhaps at a meal, giving a token for good work, teaching a class or greeting pupils as I walk round the school, it is from the quality one-to-one session that I get the most satisfaction – and, I hope, give it too!

For the first time this year we asked all of the Year 8s (some 54 pupils) to write a personal statement in which they said something about their background and then included a few achievements to date as well as future aspirations. I then had ten minutes with each pupil discussing the format of the personal statement and considering ways in which they might consider broadening out their interests and researching future subject choices, even job opportunities.  Whilst we are a very busy school with a lot on offer, I was amazed to hear about the wide experiences and commitments of many of our children – from travel to charity work, from involvement in local church groups to the ATC, the Sea Scouts and Guides. Several had already spent time looking at work experience – such as in an engineering firm and with a vet – whilst for many my interview was perhaps the first time they had given it much thought. In every case, however, it was a delight to chat about what interested them most and to sow the seed for future possibilities.

The other group which I have seen for personal interview over the past two weeks has been the Y10 prospective prefects. They, too, have had to write a letter – but this time a voluntary activity which nearly 40 took on – outlining why they wanted to be a Senior Prefect and explaining what role they would particularly like to take on. My interview was designed to explore points raised in the letter of application and then to discuss the job description for Prefects. The interview is only a part of the selection process – the current Y11 Prefects give confidential feedback, as do staff, whilst the discussion in my Senior Management Team has still to take place – but it remains an important segment. Pupils are invariably a little nervous but it’s again a delight to hear them talk about their hopes, aspirations and desire to ‘give back’ to the school something which it has given to them.

So, we may not all have sat comfortably over the past two weeks but, I trust, the interviews have given cause for thought, reflection and action!

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