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Headmaster’s Blog

Those of you who, like me, are raiding the TV Catch-Up channels of an evening to watch the daily highlights of the Rugby World Cup will have noted that, with the exception of New Zealand, all of the nations going head-to-head in the Quarter Finals this weekend are represented on the staff team at ECS.

Japan v South Africa is being battled out in the Year 1 classrooms between Mrs Palmer and Miss Gilchrist; Mr Baurance will be hoping that ‘les bleus’ can get one over on Mr Meeke’s Welsh Dragons; the battle of the Gaps (Mr Egarr & Miss Wurst v Mr Guildford) will be an intense one as Australia take on England; and Mrs Ross & Mr Fitzpatrick will be flying the green flag as Ireland step out against New Zealand. We are a diverse and eclectic bunch – and much the better for it.

Being an eclectic mix is important to us: variety is the spice of life, an’ all that. And that’s true, too, of the gamut of opinions and outlooks that any buzzing community has. Our opinions can be coloured by our experiences, our up-bringing, our beliefs, our values and our own individual responses to situations which arise: how, then, to work together as one and make sure that this range of opinions is heard? The answer: pupil voice.

Our Pupil Voice agenda is one that has grown considerably in recent years. Spearheaded by Mrs Reddington (our Deputy Head pupils), opportunities for the opinions of our pupils to be heard – and, crucially, to be responded to – now abound. This year I was pleased to appoint two Year 8 pupils (Leela and Emily) to the new pupil leadership position of Heads of Pupil Voice. Working with Mrs Reddington, they are forging new pathways for children at the School to have their say, and flying the flag vigorously for pupil voice.

Our School Council has met already this term to bring together the pupils’ views on a number of areas of school life. (You might like to know that the Wellbeing Garden in the Chantry playground is a direct result of the views and campaigning of last year’s School Council). This week saw the first meeting of the Food Committee – elected members from Year 2 to Year 8 coming together with Mrs Reddington and Mr Webber (our Director of Finance and Operations) to discuss all matters catering-related. The ECS Eco Club is making its presence known, too: single-use plastic is high on their agenda as they head off to a nearby school to learn what steps we can take to focus on our environmental impact. Inside Eyre House the Boarders’ Council (with our Senior Boarders and elected council reps) meets routinely to ensure the boarding community has their say. And we are looking forward to launching a Chorister Committee later in the term, too, ensuring that our choristers have their voices heard (there’s a witticism to be made there, surely?).

In a Head’s Assembly in the second half of term, Mrs Reddington and I will be proud to hand out badges to our Pupil Voice representatives, and to thank them publicly for the work that they do to bring the opinions of the pupils to the fore. A good school is a listening school, and (as an ‘excellent school’) we are determined to hear what our children and young adults have to say.

Whether it’s on the rugby pitch or around the meeting table, coming together with our differences and our opinions to work together to bring about positive change is a terrific skill to develop. And I cannot wait to catch up with Mr Egarr after the Aus v Eng fixture: 2003 all over again…?

18 October 2019
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