Welcome to Churston Ferrers Grammar School, a Co-Educational Foundation School with Humanities College Status situated near Brixham, South Devon, England. Churston Ferrers is already a highly successful grammar school; this provides the opportunity to use my first few months as a period of ‘acquaintance’. By way of ‘acquaintance’ I have outlined my educational background and some of my ‘core’ educational beliefs below.
I believe that a grammar school education should be a much cherished ‘privilege’; a privilege earned and not to be wasted. Learning is one of the most exciting experiences we have and it continues throughout life. A good grammar school enables students to learn how to learn, in particular how to become independent learners. It creates an environment where learning and success are explicit aspirations for young people, not things that have to be ‘hidden’ through fear of peer ridicule. However with this privilege comes responsibility. It is the responsibility of the students to grasp all the opportunities that are available in school and to present to the local community all that is good in young people. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that we allow the students to develop to their full potential. In this respect personal qualities are as important as qualifications.
High self-esteem, individual self-confidence, respect for others, the ability to lead as well as work as part of a team and the capacity to manage change are essential if Churston Ferrers students are to be tomorrow’s leaders. Whilst there is much uncertainty about the future, the one thing we can be sure of is that change will be even greater than at present and that it will be on a global scale. We know that a career for life is already a thing of the past. Transferable skills are already as important as an excellent academic education. In the information rich society of the future it will be the ‘flexible learners’ who flourish. Too often the personal qualities required to succeed are left under-developed and under-monitored in schools; equal access to leadership opportunities and rigorous monitoring of personal development will be a key feature of Churston Ferrers in the future.
I want Churston Ferrers Grammar School to retain the best aspects of a traditional grammar school education; inspirational teaching and learning, academic excellence, a sense of justice and community and to combine these with a commitment to ‘change’. I am fortunate in that I inherit an ‘outstanding’ school. However, you don’t remain outstanding by being complacent; an institution either moves forwards or backwards, it never stands still. Churston Ferrers is already committed to a development path that embraces much of the above; the excellent work of Stephen Kings means that the immediate future is bright. It is now crucial that we build on this vision so that our students are fully equipped to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Whilst I have a flexible and creative vision of the future there are certain expectations that are ‘non-negotiable’. Students should be smartly dressed, punctual and well behaved. Lessons should be challenging and students should be encouraged to think. Success, no matter how small, should be celebrated. School should be a happy place for both students and staff and respect for others should be at the core of all we do; an exciting long-term vision means nothing to a student who is not happy to come to school.
In short, I want Churston Ferrers Grammar School to prepare students to lead fulfilled, responsible and happy adult lives and the best way to achieve this is for them to have an excellent academic education, the ability to be a flexible learner and the leadership qualities that will enable them to ‘make a difference’.