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The future belongs to those who prepare today

A primary school fulfils many functions, the most important of which is to give children the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to be successful in the future. Acquiring good basic skills is a clear advantage, as is having a good knowledge and understanding of the world. However, the thing most likely to make the biggest difference to success in the future is a positive attitude. At school, we need to inspire our children to want to achieve great things.

Whilst we have fantastically talented staff, the thing that we’re probably best able to do collectively is inspire our children to be great teachers. I know from the number of children who play ‘school’ at home, that we’re doing a pretty good job here. Indeed, I’ve heard from parents whose children regularly take the register before breakfast, make parents line up and, every now and again, put them on the traffic lights. However, whilst teaching is a great career, it is certainly not right for everyone. At school, we need to help our children find the things that are really going to get them motivated to follow the things that really excite them.

This week at school we hosted a week-long dance workshop led by a young, black, contemporary dancer called Sade Alleyne. Over the course of the week, the group worked with Sade to choreograph a hugely ambitious piece that will be performing this Friday at One World Evening.

Sade had incredibly high expectations for the group, both technically and physically, to which the group collectively rose. The quality of the piece is astonishing. Several children told me that last week had been the best week of school ever. The children were exposed to something completely out of their realm of experience and I wouldn’t be surprised if, for one or two, this week is life changing.

I remember several years ago, two members of the Saracens rugby team visited Highgate Primary. They led whole school assembly which they followed with a rugby training session for children in Year 6. I know for a fact that several of the pupils who were selected to take part that day are now playing under 17 club rugby. This may be a coincidence, but I suspect that visit played a part. The same may be true for other visitors who’ve been into school and worked with our children: musicians, artists, scientists, politicians, authors.

Giving children the opportunity to work with successful people who are passionate about what they do makes a difference, and this is an area we will be looking to develop at school. If you’re reading this and think you can help, do get in touch.

William