Welcome to our school blog, where you will be able to read news and views from members of the Beechwood Community
… and so ends the fortnightly Value of Courage, which we discussed in Monday’s Middle and Senior Assemblies in the context of COP26 (the courage not just to think, but to debate how man comes into conflict with the planet and then to ACT in support of our planet) and in the context of Anti-Bullying Week, (the courage not just to think, but to debate how man comes into conflict with man and then to ACT in support of peace.) And actually what are synonyms for that double negative ‘anti-bullying’? Presumably it must be kindness, consideration, compassion, collaboration, courage, diversity, forgiveness, friendship, humility, integrity, kindness, patience, perseverance, resilience respect and trust, 15 of our 16 core Beechwood Values.
The Global Economic Forum identifies the following skills as key to employability and wellbeing in the 21st century, critical thinking, creativity; articulate communication, collaboration as team members, managers and future leaders, emotional intelligence, cognitive flexibility, good judgement. decision-making, service to others, negotiation, adaptability and agility, resilience and integrity, skills which we identify as our core aims to develop in pupils as set out in our Curriculum Policy. Never has it been more important to focus on these skills in education, as we emerge, using science and technology from global pandemic and face up to global environmental issues.
Thank you to Mr Darcy who has led the way with his WWF Wild Wisdom Global Challenge over the past few days. It has been wonderful to tour the school with many prospective parents this week and to see lessons on coastal erosion and environmentally-friendly cities. I have challenged the pupils to join the Beechwood Environmental movement and to recognise that critical thinking is critically important if they are to sift fact from misinformation, recognise that climate technology is the future and that the biggest disruption will come from the youngest voices, some as yet unborn.
Relationships, relationships, relationships will be our common educational thread going forwards; how do we build enduring relationships both with each other and with the planet that hosts us.
Why are school trips important? Well, how long do you have?! The benefits of school trips range from improving interpersonal communications to development of skills, to acquisition of knowledge but I think most importantly they build relationships. Relationships between peers, and relationships between staff and pupils. School trips are a great opportunity for children to face their fears, experience challenges and taste success outside of the classroom and also see their teachers be vulnerable. When a teacher stands beside a pupil, and freely admits to being nervous of climbing up ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, the ‘power balance’ shifts between the pupil and member of staff. These shared experiences form bonds that will have an impact for the rest of their time at school.
I spent some time with Year 7 the morning after their return from Bawdsey Manor and the excitement they exuded about the different activities they had completed, was infectious. William P told me he had learnt, “Teamwork is key in everything you do.” What a worthwhile message to have discovered whilst on this residential experience. The boys talked to me about the “once in a lifetime opportunities” that they had experienced, how much they had “enjoyed spending time with their friends” (I think especially relevant now, after the year of isolation we have all faced) and the adrenaline rush they experienced having faced their fears jumping from a high platform reaching for a trapeze swing.
Our Beechwood Values lie at the heart of everything that we do and school trips are just one way we provide our pupils with the opportunity to live these values. To put the values into practise outside of school; learn what trust and resilience really mean, be courageous when faced with challenges, fail amongst friends and collaborate as a team moving forwards.
I am proud of the range of trips that Beechwood offer and hugely excited to form my own new relationships as I make memories alongside the pupils.
Director of Co-Curricular
Unless they demonstrated exceptional acting talent, Year 5 and 6 actors played minor chorus parts in previous senior productions, deferring to Year 7 and Top Form pupils who played more significant roles. This meant a long wait for significant parts for naturally talented thespians and an easy out for less confident performers. Not so with Button Box, our new Year 5 and 6 production, which was devised, under the guidance of our inspiring co-curricular staff, by our pupils in their Drama and Music lessons.
I hope that in next week’s newsletter, when the cast have had time to recover from this week’s creativity, we will have the chance to hear a little more about how they created their scenes which celebrate music, dance, culture and language from around the world. Drama is a cyclical process of ‘Making, Performing and Responding’, about which I am passionate and I am interested to hear how they made creative decisions, how this contributed to their performance (movement, voice and space) and decisions about other production elements.
It was fantastic to see so many Year 5 and 6 pupils taking on significant roles, to see the raw talent of some of our serious thesps, but also to see how our less confident performers, some of whom are terrified by the prospect of playing a role on stage in front of a live audience, particularly after three years of COVID, rose to the challenge and owned the occasion.
This production massively delivered; everyone had very real opportunities to perform and I was struck by how skilfully our staff steered this resolutely child-centred production of music and percussion, song and dance. It was joyful and our Year 5 and 6 pupils (9, 10 and 11 year olds) should be HUGELY proud of their making, performing and responding. As Mme Bliss would say to you all ‘Chapeaux, tout le monde!’
Thank you to Mrs Hegarty, Mrs Lodge, Miss Bailey, Mr Gambrell and Mrs Jarvis, Miss Lloyd, Mr Hinton and a whole raft of others for bringing our strategic uber-objective to fruition so powerfully!