“Tell me and I forget…”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

If you had told me at the start of this week that I would be a witness to multiple deep space astronaut rescue missions, I would not have believed you. It has been a funny old week. At a time when we are looking at the application of AI technology it has been refreshing, this week, to be witnessing initiative, problem solving and clear thinking of a more human nature. That’s not to say that we haven’t been blending our traditional approaches with more technologically advanced approaches. You may have seen evidence on our social media feeds of the Year 4 dragon, programmed to flap wings. Years 5-8 have all been in coding workshops led by the RAF STEM team building robots and programming them to perform complex manoeuvres including a challenging rescue mission. This was learning by doing, it built resilience and encouraged initiative.

Watching Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 pupils discover through challenge is always interesting. The combination of Lego and computer processors is always going to capture imaginations, but I was delighted to see how our own young engineers were able to work together to come up with solutions to the problems that they were set. There is much to be learned by occasionally coming off timetable to delve deeper into a challenge. Similarly, it is always good to be reminded that behind the vast majority of technological innovations there are the very human qualities of collaboration, resilience and creative thinking. For digital natives it is perhaps a useful reminder that the digital power we wield today is the product of human ingenuity, it didn’t simply arrive here fully formed.

Older pupils have been enjoying working under a slightly warmer sun this week as they engage with all important geography fieldwork in Girona, a chance to put classroom theory into more practical action. They will be processing their results in the weeks to come and they will have to apply what they’ve learned in Spain later this year in the exam hall. In many cases having the chance to engage with the subject in a non-classroom environment provides new perspectives and ideas about the subjects that have been learned in the classroom. Be that with ranging pole in hand or sending a robot into space it all makes a profound impact.

Alongside all of this personal challenge and development it was great to have the first school time opening of the School’s thrift shop. It is good to see pupils aided by both staff and parents creating such a professionally appointed space from which good will be generated. Whilst we should and do strive for excellence in all that we do it is nothing unless it is infused with integrity and a concern for others. This is blended learning at its very best.

I do hope that you have a great weekend.

Nicholas Hammond