Anne Everest - Head's Message 01-05
If education were simply a matter of transferring knowledge, then the focus of each school would be a simple one. Once, of course, some sort of agreement had been made about what should constitute the curriculum of learning and at which stage for each individual student; we would also have to agree whether a school setting is the most effective context for the acquisition of facts and figures, functions, theorems and chemical reactions. (For context is all: the people with whom and from whom one learns can make the process a joy or a chore; teachers can be inspiring - and not so inspiring.)
But we want so much more for our children than the absorption of a nationally agreed school curriculum of courses. We want them to be able to think clearly and see through flaws in others' thinking; we want them to question political speeches, recognise a false dilemma when they see one and penetrate the meaning of data so that they are not fooled by someone else's interpretation. In short, we need independent people with strong powers of analysis.
We want our girls to grow up with an awareness of their role as global citizens with an inbuilt respect for the beliefs of others but a clear idea of their own principles. We want them to have developed a moral compass by which they may negotiate and live good lives. Our young people need to be aware of how society works and how they can live in a fulfilled way; how they can draw on satisfying and productive work to support themselves and their families.
Children need a sense of their own history and a clear view of a way forward for themselves and for others. They need a sense of service; they need to grow up with resilience and mindfulness about what is important. They need to know how to keep well, both in mind and in body.
An holistic education - inside and outside of the classroom - provides opportunity for adventure, for travel, for trying out work and for working with others on a shared endeavour. By learning about the world and themselves - through doing as well as studying - our girls will grow in that most important of commodities, self-confidence. We need young people in this country who are energetic and enthusiastic about making the world a better place for themselves and for their own children.
At St George's, we are working towards that educational goal for all our students.
Anne C Everest
Head, St George's School for Girls