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Vision in education

I often tell people that (removing the obvious things like being a husband and father) being a school governor has been the most rewarding experience of my life. This is not hyperbole: I’ve been a governor at Shaftesbury Park for a long time now and feel a little prouder every day.

I’m especially proud of the school’s mission. The school has gone through a lot of changes in recent years and, as part of that, drew up a vision in consultation with staff, parents and pupils that represented what the school was. In a wordy way. It got everything in but looking back it’s clear that in doing so it left the essence of the school diluted in the statement.

Five years on it was time for a refresh. But this time the vision just appeared:

At Shaftesbury Park we develop children who think about their world, enlarge their world and change their world.

And it nails what the school does.

It uses the International Primary Curriculum to not to impart facts but to encourage children to think widely around themes and develop their own views. It uses the French bilingual stream not just as a language but as a cultural gateway. And it uses the Enterprise stream to teach the skills like planning, teamwork and leadership so they thrive in whatever world they find themselves in.

Technically the vision is a circular because the elements reinforce and compound. (An idea shamelessly stolen from Battersea Arts Centre.) And I like it so much I sprung for some stickers.

Thanks to Simon Wilson for the inspiration and Diginate for the vinyl. I’m hoping I’ll see them in the school stuck on laptops, diaries, notebooks and ID lanyards to act as a reminder that education is a process although I know that the school’s staff don’t really need a reminder.

The Goveian obsession may be exams, test results and pricey Bibles but developing pupils who have curiosity, confidence and capability is at the heart of what education really offers children and the country. Good academic results will flow from that and because they can be measured they will be measured. The real benefits will be less tangible but I know that every pupil going through that school will feel them for the rest of their lives.

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