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Headmaster’s New Year Blog – January 2015 – Manners

January 5, 2015


Headmaster’s New Year Blog 2015


This traditional saying, and the motto of at least one well-known independent school, has again been revived as part of a debate arnewlowresin educational circles about what schools should be teaching young people. As a new calendar year begins it is certainly an opportune time to reflect and re-focus on what ‘added value’ schools should provide over and above the ‘3 Rs’.

At Ballard we have a regular reminder about ‘corridor courtesies’ such as holding open doors, offering to assist with heavy loads, keeping to one side and greeting others respectfully. We go further and insist on pupils standing when adults enter classrooms, on a firm handshake and looking people politely in the eye when receiving awards.  In addition, we encourage ‘thank you’ notes (ideally handwritten if the old-fashioned Head had his way – but certainly sent as well as an oral word of gratitude).

There will long be debates about what the end result of education should be – as well as the process and the beginning of schooling – but it is certainly fair to say that we should be involved in turning out respectful and respected young people who can set high standards in manners and attitude in the wider world. Manners go a long way towards ‘making’ men and women and we should not shirk from insisting on high expectations even if it seems to be old-fashioned, hard work and, sometimes, a thankless task!

With best wishes for a well-mannered 2015!

Alastair Reid

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