“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

By rights, this would be the column in which I look forward to all that a new year will bring. Normally I’d be talking about resolutions, new beginnings and thinking about all we have to look forward to. I’d mention some of the events or happenings that we are looking forward to. It would be a positive, enthusiastic preview. But having been subjected to a near constant diet of concerning news over the holiday, I really do wonder what 2019 will bring. We seem to be living in a world in which dialogue has broken down and one in which co-operation is a long forgotten concept. So before writing I took the only course of action available in such dire circumstances and went for a walk. Having enjoyed the crisp winter air and having had time to think about what I should be thinking I’m writing in a more positive manner about what lies ahead and more importantly what we as a school can do to make things better for the future.

BSP pupils will go on to be leaders and opinion formers. They will be influential in whichever community they join. I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again, but it is important to recognise this fact. As future leaders and opinion shapers one of the skills that I hope they develop this year is the vital skill of oracy. If this world needs one thing, it is a group of young people who can speak truth to power. We need a generation who can challenge and who have the ability to stand up for what they believe to be right. Not at the cost of others, but for the good of all. If this is to be achieved then we as educationalists and parents need to ensure that every young person develops a voice and is ready to use that powerful instrument for change. Many of our pupils already have this skill; the Eco School group with their campaign to make the School single use plastic free, our prefects, our young managers, our charity committee members and the Student Councils have all developed a voice. This year I hope that every pupil uses the opportunities that they have for debate in class and in co-curricular activities to develop their voice. They should take an example from their peers rather than looking at the tawdry example set by many in public life and in some cases holding high office. They should develop constructive ways of engaging with discourse in both the real and the virtual world. They, I believe, have something important to say about the world that they are set to inherit. Furthermore, the world needs to hear it.

soap boxSo, if I have one resolution this year, it will be to ensure that I encourage our young people to develop their voice. To give them opportunities to speak and provide them with space to develop the ideas that may well save the planet. If I manage to achieve this it is likely to have a more lasting effect than my normal resolutions that never make it past January (usually the 2nd of January).

A very warm welcome to all new members of the school community. We have had new starters this week and there are more on Monday. We all look forward to getting to know you and working with you.

With every good wish for a joyful and constructive New Year.

Nicholas Hammond


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