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Inspired by John Cleese

I was reading ‘The Schools Network’ Annual Conference page here and came across this quote from John Cleese:

‘I did very well at school, but not at comedy. I went all the way from kindergarten to Cambridge without any of my teachers noticing that I had a sense of humour.’

As a Headteacher (albeit Acting) I’m determined to avoid Heathfield Primary becoming an exam factory. Yes, we need to stretch and push our pupils every lesson so that every child makes progress – I believe progress is the most important aspect of learning. However, so many pupils come through our schools with different talents that are not measured and displayed in league tables. We owe it to EVERY child to develop their talents in the every growing pressured environment of results. Having a talent recognised and identified can be all it takes.

Take Thomas from my last Year 6 class. The moment we published his art work on the Year 6 Blog, his talent was recognised, publicised and celebrated.

I believe this moment was pivotal for Thomas. In his BETT 2010 seminar presentation he said:

“Blogging has taken me from the detention room 12 months go, to speaking to you all here at the largest ICT education show in the world!”

That was ‘his’ moment and a lesson for me that the key to a child’s potential may not actually fit in the door you are trying to open!


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  1. Kelli
    September 20, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    great story for us educators … maybe we need bigger doors or to be open to varying the ways in and out … manholes and all

  2. Ross
    October 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I agree, and to take Kelli’s analogy further, we not only need to find the door but find a way we can help our young people to open them. I recently discovered this quote, which has got me reflecting on my practice “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believeing that it is stupid.” (Albert Einstein) I really believe we have a responsibilty to help young people find and celebrate their strength, whether it be comdey or maths

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