The Junior School was delighted to welcome Ian Warwick, Senior Director of London Gifted and Talented, to deliver talks for staff and parents on the challenges and pitfalls of educating children. Ian has extensive experience in schools both nationally and internationally and was able to give a global perspective on some of the issues facing teachers and children today.
After spending the day in the Junior School observing a typical day of lessons and activities and meeting our pupils, Ian gave a talk for the Junior School staff that gave an insight into creating a world class culture in schools. He offered valuable advice that reinforced much of what takes place at the Junior School, including the importance of normalising intellectual debate and encouraging children to evaluate and summarise the arguments of their peers when presenting their own thoughts. The importance of “mastering” a subject over the long term rather than simply learning to “perform” it in the short term was also a key theme, and one that was well-received by staff.
In his talk to parents, Ian cautioned against the, perhaps understandable, parental desire for the road of education to be “perfectly paved”. He explained that if children have not been challenged to the point of failure at an early stage, they can find it difficult to develop the tools of resilience and adaptation that are needed throughout life to cope with the inevitable setbacks that everyone faces. He encouraged parents to give their children ownership of the struggle, so that when they do ultimately succeed, they have a true sense of personal achievement.
Looking to the future, Ian advised both parents and teachers to let children keep a sense of intrigue; to understand that there is still more to discover in so many fields of learning and that learning itself is a lifelong process. He counselled that our children will need the skill of discrimination and curiosity to question sources and make sound judgements in a world where ‘fake news’ abounds.