It is with great excitement that I take up my post as Head of Leweston. This is a truly exceptional school that has a vibrant and diverse community at its heart. There are a huge number of opportunities available and all of these contribute to the school’s core mission to provide the best education available.
Education in the 21st century could not be more important. We are faced increasingly with a mass of information in unprecedented levels and we have access to ranges of opinion that would stagger our predecessors. We stand at a crossroads where the traditional and time-honoured teaching of information, processing and evaluation is under threat as the rapidity of change threatens to destabilise and tear down the paradigms of teaching and learning that we all felt comfortable with.
Schools stand at the forefront of this challenge with the simple, yet impossibly complex, question- how exactly do we prepare our young people for the modern world? It is, unfortunately, still very much the case that the vast majority of educational systems place a considerable emphasis on the collection of results that only truly measures the young person’s ability at any given time to be prepared for and pass examinations. This has its place but it is only useful to gaining access to the next round of similar preparations for similar, albeit harder, examinations.
The answer that I have to the question is not new, indeed it follows from Bertrand Russell, AC Grayling and Jean Piaget, in that the best solution to the challenges we face is to educate our young people to be thinkers first and foremost.
It is by being thinkers and critical reflectors that will enable the young person to not just excel in a career, but also in life. The thinking person approaches challenges with a clarity and an understanding of the complexities around a problem with enthusiasm. The thinking person is adaptable to circumstance and does not shy from new experiences. Most importantly the thinking person has higher levels of tolerance for diversity and can hold more than one idea in their mind at the same time, thus allowing them to not be blinded by one answer or the train tracks of existing practice.
At Leweston we hold dear the ability to think and it is therefore a huge privilege to lead a school that not only prepares pupils for examinations, a necessary must, but also to be problem solvers and philosophers.
Mr Paget-Tomlinson, Head of Leweston Senior School