“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”Marian Wright Edelman
Schools can be viewed as a collection of small communities all contributing to a larger whole. There are peer communities, friendship groups and classes. We have year groups, houses and activity groups. There are the mysteriously named Key Stages and we have a Junior School and Senior School community. Attached to the school we have other communities, we work in partnership with certain groups, and we have other groups such as the BSPS. It would be remiss of me not to mention the alumni community, a group that is more likely to be found virtually but is alive and active in a variety of places around the world. Community is important.
The sociologist Etienne Wenger describes a community as having three key components:
• mutual engagement whereby diversity is em braced;
• joint enterprise whereby mutual accountability is explored;
• and a shared repertoire which involves styles, stories and of course actions.
Over the course of this week we have had a productive time in school where young people from some 50 nations have worked and played together. I’ve been delighted to see dioramas being brought into school, teams training together and lots of hard work being done in classrooms. We’ve all spared a thought for Year 11 who have started their GCSEs this week. We are all engaged in the common pursuit of learning. Our aim is to develop all that is good in young people and ensure that they have the character to succeed in the future. If the community is to flourish, then we have to accept difference in thought and belief and welcome our diversity. As a I look around, I see a welcoming and tolerant community. I’m sure there is work to be done but we are, I believe, starting from a good place.
This week we were delighted to welcome former BSP student Liselotte back to school. She shared her knowledge and expertise and enthusiasm with our Senior School pupils. I hope that they were inspired by this recent former pupil who has succeeded in so many areas. They have a model on which to build their own success.
Tomorrow we have our first Festival of Discovery with teachers and friends of the school sharing their knowledge and expertise freely. For one day you too can join a new community and join in with our mission of learning. Please don’t be shy, it is still possible to sign up for a few sessions and our caterers are standing by to supply us with fish and chips at lunchtime. The School is a welcoming community and we’d love to see you.
Someone once described a school as a mixed age learning community. Tomorrow we most certainly will live up to that description and I do hope I’ll see you as you come through the school gate ready for some serious fun!