Let it snow…

I’ve just enjoyed the KS1 Christmas concert. Jack and the Beanstalk with a fearsome set of giants and one of the most entertaining stage cows ever to grace a set; cheery children building magnificent snowmen and a country and western nativity, it had it all.  Earlier in the week it was the EYFS show with fantastic singing and dancing.  There were lots of mentions of snow, it was all around, but happily it hasn’t fallen yet. 

Once upon a time a mention of a snowflake conjured up only scenes of winter fun with snowmen, the odd reindeer and rosy cheeked urchins.  The snowflake used to be a symbol of delicacy and individuality.  Now it has become a term of abuse, another word to be casually flung around to pour scorn on the beliefs and concerns of other peo-ple.  Chuck Palahniuk has much to answer for.  For those who believe that the Millennial Generation have lost their backbone, can’t take criticism and have led cosseted existences, the word snowflake provides handy shorthand.  There are, it seems, plenty of people who don’t really understand the pressure faced by many young people growing up today.

Having just spent time this week talking to students about their academic performance following assessment grades, I know that most pupils are their own harshest critics.  Their withering gaze makes even the most rigor-ous teacher analysis seem quite tame.  Similarly a recent conversation with two Year 13 students suggested that they were thinking not just about having a good time over the holiday but also how they could revise for mocks effectively.  Talking to some of the pupils preparing for musical performances next week I find not self-satisfac-tion but a spirit of could do better.  Young people today set high standards and are prepared to work hard to meet them.  Do they get it right all of the time? No of course they don’t.  Alongside the shining examples of good prac-tice there are always those who require more guidance and this is as it should be.

Over the course of the term students have been developing skills which will serve them well next year and well beyond.  There is a delicate balancing act to be struck be-tween the amount of support that we as a school give and you as parents provide for the children in our joint care.

I am a firm believer that limited failure can be a powerful learning tool.  Similarly pupils have to learn to take re-sponsibility for themselves and this can be a bumpy ride.
Resilience is a necessity and it generally comes when pupils accept responsibility for their actions. How do we build this resilience?  Look over this term and you will see.  Be it taking to a sports field to play a sport competitively for the first time, putting up your hand with an answer you aren’t quite sure about in class or standing in front of a music examiner poised to play the first note of a music grade exam, these are the experiences that make our snowflakes strong.

It has been a long term and there is a week to go.  It will be a week of fun with plenty of learning along the way. After the hard work of this term some celebration is due. I am pleased to report that much has been learned this term and our young people can feel very proud of what they have achieved.

Nicholas Hammond