At a recent staff INSET day we had a visit from a guest speaker, Sir John Jones, an educationalist who has researched the best education systems throughout the world. As a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) we are always seeking expertise to make the experience for all the children in the MAT schools the best it can be. One of the stories Sir John Jones spoke of seemed to resonate with me more than the others and so I used it with our Year 11 students in a recent assembly.
The tale was of an astronaut who had gone into a school to inspire the students. After he had finished telling them about the incredible experience he had as an astronaut one child asked him ‘how old were you when you became an astronaut’. Without hesitation the astronaut replied ‘I was six years old’. The children were aghast and couldn’t quite believe a six year old could be an astronaut, but he went on to explain that at the age of six he had decided that his goal in life was to become an astronaut and from that point on every time he had a decision to make he would say to himself ‘what would an astronaut do?’ He would then do whatever it was that he thought the astronaut would do.
Now, I can’t imagine that many of our students want a career as an astronaut, but the principle of the story can be applied by all of us no matter what we want to do. For our Year 11 students we now encourage them to ask the question ‘what would the successful me do?’ for every decision they make in the run up to their exams, they need to consider what the successful version of themselves would do. So, when it comes to making a decision about revision or playing on their X-box, by asking the question ‘what would the successful me do?’ we hope that they will commit to their revision first, knowing that by revising they will be preparing themselves for success in the summer.
As a parent/carer, you can support your child by reminding them of this when they are making questionable choices.
As we await our next OFSTED inspection at some stage before the end of this academic year, I am making sure I model what I am asking the students to do by constantly asking myself and our staff ‘what would excellence at Ernesford look like?’. I may not want to be an astronaut, but it is certainly my driving ambition to be the Head Teacher of an excellent school and it is our students at Ernesford Grange for whom we are all striving for excellence.