Burkitt Rd, Wood­bridge, Suf­folk IP12 4JH

EADT Suffolk - - Education - T: 01394 615041 ad­mis­sions@wood­bridgeschool.org.uk

Valu­ing the Im­mea­sur­able by Ni­cola Mitchell, Head of The Abbey & Queen’s House

Be­com­ing a par­ent is an ex­cit­ing time. Our first thoughts as par­ents are that we want our chil­dren to be healthy, ful­filled and happy; ready to en­joy their jour­ney, em­brac­ing chal­lenges along the way.

At what point does this change? Par­ents in the past have in­formed me that they have de­cided that Kate (not her real name) is des­tined for Ox­ford and will have a ca­reer in Medicine. Kate was 3 at the time and strug­gling with the con­cept of shar­ing her trac­tor.

All par­ents want the best for their chil­dren (and if they don’t, we should be ques­tion­ing; “why not?”). Send­ing a child to school should en­able the team behind the child; the par­ents, grand­par­ents, friends, ex­tended fam­ily and school staff, to work to­gether to en­sure that each in­di­vid­ual is sup­ported in the best way pos­si­ble.

Schools should be about ed­u­cat­ing the whole child. They should have breadth and bal­ance in the cur­ricu­lum, value the Arts, en­able the gifted, sup­port those with ad­di­tional needs, en­cour­age in­de­pen­dence, pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion, cel­e­brate suc­cess, de­velop in­di­vid­u­al­ity, ad­vance aca­demics and ad­vo­cate team­work.

The ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ment should be all things to all pupils. Schools should be unashamedly all-en­com­pass­ing and con­cerned with de­vel­op­ing every as­pect.

School life should go be­yond the ba­sics of aca­demic rigour and, if that is the sin­gle most im­por­tant fo­cus of a school, I would ar­gue the point is be­ing missed. We should be ed­u­cat­ing the mind, the body and the spirit. Sup­port­ing chil­dren to know them­selves, recog­nis­ing their strengths and weak­nesses in or­der that they may con­tinue to grow and de­velop in all ar­eas. At the end of their time in school our chil­dren should emerge as happy, con­fi­dent and well-rounded young adults; equipped with the ex­am­i­na­tion re­sults to open doors and the skills to en­sure the paths that lead from them can be fol­lowed.

A good ed­u­ca­tion should be a happy one, filled with pos­i­tive mem­o­ries (box-cart rac­ing, pro­duc­tions, recitals, achieve­ment, matches, friend­ship; not just tu­tor­ing and exam prep) and the chance to feel ful­filled, chal­lenged and en­gaged. If this is achieved then the adults of the fu­ture will have been ed­u­cated be­yond the ba­sics and have the trans­fer­able skills to cope with the ever-chang­ing work­place.

If you are a par­ent and you are read­ing this, do pause for a mo­ment and ask your­self – What do I want for my child?

Wood­bridge School is a lead­ing in­de­pen­dent school in Suf­folk for pupils aged 4-18, which de­vel­ops in­quis­i­tive and re­silient young adults who are pre­pared for mod­ern life. To find out more about Wood­bridge School, visit www.wood­bridgeschool.org.uk.

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