Planting seeds in a garden that we never get to see

For three days before our pupils returned, the ECS staff team gathered for our development days for the term. We welcomed new colleagues for their Induction Day on Friday, and on Monday and Tuesday the whole staff body came together for a busy and varied two days of inset. I kicked things off by saying that I had been to see ‘Hamilton’ at the West End over the holiday. If you haven’t seen it, go immediately (though you’ll want to check the lyrics first to make sure it’s suitable for your intended audience!).

‘Hamilton’ is a Hip Hop/RnB/Rap/Drill musical about one of the founding fathers of the United States. It’s a seriously energetic show which packs quite a punch (and certainly doesn’t pull any), and in one of the early numbers the protagonist voices:

‘What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see’.

That struck a chord with me – and it’s the line I began Staff Development Day with. That’s what we are doing here: planting seeds in a garden that we never get to see. Creating legacies is quite the responsibility and a tremendous privilege.

Our daily interactions with our pupils, the things we say, the things we encourage, the way we speak, the behaviours we reward, the challenges we set, the encouragement we give, the opportunities we provide, the kindnesses we show, the hard work we model, the courtesies and considerations we afford our 3 year olds as well as our 43 year olds, the habits that we champion, the expectations that we set, the listening that we do, the guidance that we offer, the smiles that we give – all of this is the seeds that we sow. And they are, unashamedly and quite deliberately, the seeds of character.

And the legacy? Interested, interesting, appropriately-confident and aspirational young people who are kind, who continue to grow in love, to model the ECS habits, and to be of service to others.

What an honour it is to be planting and watering those seeds and to be doing our bit to grow those legacies. It is a job we do not undertake lightly, and one which we do in partnership and fellowship with you. Thank you for entrusting us to share in that privilege.

– Mr Featherstone, Headmaster


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