“No-one is bigger than the team” – John Kirwan and Sean Fitzpatrick, 1999

U18 girsl foot ASPWe are entering the time of year where sports players shift their attention from autumn sports to winter sports. I had the pleasure of watching the boys’ 1st XI play their final game on Saturday morning and round off their season with an emphatic win. Regular readers of the newsletter will be aware that our girls’ 1st XI had their most successful season on record remaining unbeaten in the regular season. This magnificent achievement is testament to their extraordinary team spirit and skill. They have been coached effectively and have worked together to produce exceptional results. I suspect that all of the players in this all-conquering side will remember this season as being one of the best, no matter how long they continue to play the game. Chapeau.

An ability to be an effective team player is valuable skill indeed. Over the course of a pupil’s time at school they will be put into a team. Sometimes they will be with their
friends and often they won’t. In many ways I favour the latter. As an educational experience there can be little that is more valuable than to be placed in a situation
where one is forced to co-operate with other people, to communicate clearly and to support a collective endeavour. At the BSP many opportunities to be part of a team
exist. Obviously there are sports teams but the cast of a play is also a team. Our orchestras and ensembles are also areas of mutual co-operation and I am looking forward to seeing these teams in action at the end of term concerts. But the experience of co-operation is not limited to co-curricular activities. We regularly build teams in the
classrooms. Group work when I was at school was always a bit of an excuse to skive off and let someone else do the heavy lifting. Now group work tasks are established that
really test students’ knowledge and develop their team working skills. Today I observed some Year 12 Economics students work in teams for ten minutes to produce mini presentations on a topic that they had not known before they started. This is a real and meaningful learning challenge which develops both skills and knowledge. The results were very impressive. I would never have envisaged a Hackathon team – but we have one.

I am not a huge fan of management books but James Kerr’s “Legacy” is something of an exception. Whilst on the surface it is about rugby we have used it as a staff to consider the way in which we approach our roles in the various teams that we belong to. Kerr, in looking at the recent culture of leadership in All Black rugby provides us as teachers or adults working in a school with many useful lessons concerning the way we play our part. It is well worth a look. I believe that we have learned from it.

So be it a Maths Challenge team or a rock band, the cast of a musical or being the substitute on the bench, I hope that every member of this school has the opportunity to be part of a team each term. We won’t all have an unbeaten season but we will develop a vital life skill.

Nicholas Hammond

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