The View From My Study – 20th January

It is probably a sign of the age I have reached that one of my favourite podcasts is Desert Island Discs. I know I used to live in Eastbourne but, honestly, what has happened to me! While others need Eye of the Tiger to drive them on the running machine, I’m there, plodding away, listening to the stories and lessons learned of the famous and worthy.

At times, it is genuinely moving and I’d suggest that the episodes featuring actor Richard E. Grant and the referee Nigel Owens are well worth searching for on BBC Sounds. Inspirational advice about honesty and integrity, right there.

What has struck me, upon listening to the interviews, is the number of times a ‘great teacher’ has been at the heart of a life-changing moment. Whether it was simple recognition of a particular talent, a profound piece of advice about how to live a better life or a simple gesture of love and compassion, teachers have often been a catalyst for success and it is nice to hear the acknowledgement. It is also why my colleagues and I love the job we do and value the responsibility we hold.

With this in mind, our collective New Year’s resolution is to target the principles of ‘quality first teaching’ to ensure that we remain fully focused, not only on great teaching, but also on providing an environment in which every pupil can learn effectively and with confidence. Children learn in different ways and not every lesson can be all-singing and dancing, but at the heart of our plans is the intention to engage each child fully, to set high expectations of pupil responsibility, to role-model appropriate questioning and interaction, and to encourage and praise with warmth and authenticity.

Whether today’s Biltonians one day end up choosing their 8 discs, reading book, and luxury item for the famous radio show or not, we hope that every one is inspired in some small way to develop, both intellectually and morally.

Coincidentally, I was delighted to meet Biltonians from ‘yesteryear’ last Thursday in Davy’s of Pall Mall. In the first event of its kind for several years, it was wonderful to hear them reminisce and recount how they were inspired by life at BG. Happy times, then and now!

Gareth Jones, Headmaster

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