As we come to the end of our 11+ season for 2016/17, our Honours board makes very pleasing reading. A Governors’ Scholarship; three Exhibition Awards; three Music Scholarships; a Sports Exhibition and an Academic Award...all of the pupils who gained these have demonstrated the necessary qualities to ACHIEVE their Outstanding Outcomes.
But what are these qualities?
As I sit and write my blog, I’m looking at the image of an iceberg that has been shared widely on social media during the last few months. The smaller section above the water - that which can be seen - is the visible ‘success’. Below the surface, of course, are the factors that created the success but that we often don’t celebrate: qualities such as persistence, dedication, hard work, good habits, sacrifice, failure and disappointment.
It would perhaps be easy, when writing about ‘Outstanding Outcomes’, simply to look at the end product - the part of the iceberg above the water - because often this is all that is seen by those looking in from the outside. However, that would be to put aside that which has brought about the outcomes in the first place! Recently, at the Independent Schools Association’s conference, headmaster and author Andrew Hammond spoke about how a combination of acting on observations and promoting growth in a child help to bring about success. The results are not instantaneous but develop over time and can change as the child develops.
At Edenhurst, the NURTURE begins as soon as a child comes through the door, into Nursery, Reception or further up the school. Essential habits such as turn-taking, sharing, forming relationships, play, creativity and being responsible for one’s self are learned in these key Early Years. I describe them as key because they must happen alongside children learning academic subjects such as English, Mathematics et al.
Throughout their time at Edenhurst, our pupils have the opportunity to partake in a wide range of clubs and activities: art club, speech & drama, chess club, gardening, Cub Scouts, plus innumerable music and sporting opportunities. They can join in for fun and enjoyment, but we hope that they feel INSPIRED to work towards grades in Music through the ABRSM and Speech & Drama through LAMDA - Edenhurst is a centre for both of these boards.
Taking part in a range of co-curricular activities also helps the children to find out where else their strengths lie outside of an academic environment. Children who have to work hard at achieving results in more academic subjects can shine in a different way with a ball at their feet, with a paintbrush in their hand or with the opportunity to lead a musical ensemble. On Tuesday afternoon, two of our Prep 6 pupils ‘managed’ the U8/U9 rugby team up at Terra Nova under Mr. Beasley’s guidance.
There are, of course, the all-important qualities that matter: consistent application to work; dedication to improvement even when one would rather be doing something else; good habits of work; and sacrifice - in order to do well at a few key areas, other areas will have to be given up. All of these hold true whether we are talking about sport, music or academia. Those who do well in one tend to do well in others, as they can transfer their good habits across.