As I write, the 75th D-Day Commemorations are in full flow across the UK and Northern France. Veterans, politicians, members of the armed forces, families and those wanting to remember and pay their respects are congregating on beaches, in town squares, cemeteries and historic battlefields. The commemorations have required a huge effort to plan and execute and the security surrounding many of the attendees will have added to the complexity of organisation. In many ways, the level of planning required to arrange these events mirrors the strategy and forethought needed to execute and plan the D-Day invasion itself.
Schools are places where planning and strategy can at times be afterthoughts. The hustle and bustle of the school day means that thinking ahead is a luxury and often side-lined by more pressing events. Time for thought is a precious commodity in schools. As such, we at The Pocklington School Foundation are excited and motivated by the prospect of creating our new Strategic Education Plan and setting aside dedicated time to do so. This is the vision and strategy that will drive the school’s development for the next five years and as such holds immense importance for all the members of our community.
Last term we asked parents for their views of their children’s educational experience. We were delighted at the excellent level of response as over three-quarters of families replied. They offered us overwhelming praise for all aspects of our school. We were also pleased to receive ideas about how and what we might develop to further improve our school.
Parents praised the quality of teaching, the pastoral care, the extra-curricular programme, as well as the boarding opportunities and remarked on the warm and welcoming atmosphere, the family feel of the school and the excellent individual academic and pastoral support available. They are eager for academic success, motivated by the breadth of opportunity and impressed by the facilities on offer.
Some of the comments they provided us with are affirming and heart-warming:
“Pocklington School nurtures and encourages the whole child, not just their academic needs and abilities”
“All of our children get something very different from the school. We love that it treats and nurtures each child as an individual”
“The school is indeed uniquely special, pupils and teachers are like family. They have ups, they have downs, they have great times and they fall out sometimes, just like all families, but they have a glue that seems to bind them together. Pocklington has something different, something magic that is difficult to put into words”
We are now looking forward to gathering colleagues’, governors’ and pupils’ views next academic year and this feedback will help craft the vision for the Strategic Education Plan. Without wishing to pre-empt any responses, there are certain elements to our vision that are non-negotiable. We aim to increase the number of financially assisted places; continue our excellent tradition of co-curricular opportunities and pastoral care provision; engage with our families to support the Pocklingtonians of the future; and further embed our Values and Virtues into our teaching and learning
Our Values of Courage, Truth and Trust are well known, but I wonder how many readers might be able to list all nine of our “Virtues”?
Aspiration, resilience, integrity, enquiry, creativity, reflection, collaboration, compassion and commitment. These qualities support our Values and are the skills we want our pupils to develop in their time with us. These Virtues will enable them to thrive in their future.