Girls’ Schools’ Association annual conference

I have been fortunate to represent Talbot Heath at the annual conference of the GSA (Girls’ Schools’ Association) this week.

As a member of the GSA we are able to access resources, expertise and professional networks that enhance our development as a school. Conference presents me with opportunities to hear from experts in fields at first hand, stimulating my imagination and informing my strategic thinking for the school.

It was gratifying to hear speaker after speaker advocating change in education, recognising the need for our schools to prepare young people for their futures. Talbot Heath is clearly ahead of the game in this respect.

Lord Professor Robert Winston’s request for schools to place emphasis on scientific literacy, recognising the need for Ethics and the Humanities to go hand in hand with this, reflects the interdisciplinary curriculum that we are introducing. In January we will be welcoming a new Head of RS to Senior School, Mr Duell, whose background in Philosophy will enable us to devise an Ethics programme that will run through Junior and Senior school.

Sir Anthony Seldon and Ed Fidoe (founder of Schools 21) spoke of the 4th educational revolution and stated that current generations should be being taught data and technological literacy, as well as human literacy (interpersonal intelligence), systems and holistic thinking, in addition to entrepreneurship and critical thinking. All of these aspects will be integrated into our future curriculum planning and I am planning to visit the London interdisciplinary School in the near future to discuss our educational model.

Nicky Morgan offered her reflections on her role as Secretary of State for Education. It struck me, and her, how flawed our current system is, whereby a politician can be informed that they are taking on responsibility for a whole sphere without prior knowledge or preparation – the expectation being that they take up a brief immediately.

Two of the most powerful and impactful speakers delivered sessions on the final day. Julia Samuel spoke incredibly knowledgeably and sensitively about child bereavement, emphasising the importance of the role of the school. Professor Sonia Blandford spoke about social mobility and the importance of partnerships between schools to engender aspiration, confidence and those all-important soft skills in order to help all children to realise their potential.

So, I returned to school with renewed energy and commitment to offer our young people the best educational opportunities possible at Talbot Heath, safe in the knowledge that our pupils will grasp them with both hands.

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