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It’s Coming Home

So, football is officially coming home. Getting to the final is a mere formality and at around 6.00 on Sunday evening, Sir Harry Kane will be officially presented with the FIFA World Cup Trophy. What on earth could go wrong?

Well, that’s how it is for our children, as they have missed out on the years of disappointment that have shaped everyone else’s outlook. We have become used to glorious failure, or more recently just failure, but somehow this time it seems different. So why the optimism this time around?

I think the key here lies in three things: teamwork, preparation and belief. You might add in a bit of luck, because that never does anyone any harm at all, but as Gary Player famously said, ‘the more I practise, the luckier I seem to get.’

Firstly Teamwork. This young England team seem to like each other. They have fun together, tease one another and enjoy each other’s company. They have clearly defined roles, cover for one another and celebrate each other’s successes. This may sound obvious, but this was so clearly not the case under previous regimes, when club rivalries prevented the team from being truly united.

They also appear to be very well prepared. They are supremely fit, have a clear plan of how they are going to play and have done their homework on the opposition. They have worked on their set pieces – every time there is a corner you get the feeling that something is about to happen. My motto is that if something can go wrong, it probably will – so don’t leave things to chance. This England team have clearly thought of everything – they’ve even practised their penalties. Last Tuesday the players knew who was taking, the order in which they would take them, where they would place them – and then they practised, practised and practised. It’s much easier to do something well under extreme pressure that has become routine under normal circumstance.

And finally, there’s the mental preparation. So often battles are won or lost in the mind before they even start. There’s a lot resting on these games – certainly my happiness, along with that of the rest of the nation. Mess up, make a mistake, freeze under pressure and you’ll have to live with this for the rest of your life. But rather think of this, why not focus on what might happen when things go right? This is a chance to make history, to be remembered forever, to change the fortunes of a country.

You might wonder why the Headteacher has gone football crazy in an education blog?

Well, the pressure may be a little bit less intense, but teamwork, preparation and positive thinking are the exact same things that make a difference at school. At Highgate Primary, we have  great staff who work extremely hard for one another, who spend hours planning and preparing educational experiences and who truly believe that they can make a difference. We have wonderful children who are resilient, positive thinkers, who work hard and know what they need to do to succeed. As a school, we also have fun together. We like each other’s company, have clearly defined roles and celebrate each other’s successes. We want to be the best in the world, and this week our footballers have the chance to do the same.

That’s all for now – I’m off to buy a waistcoat.

William