From the Headmaster
|The Future of Education – Some thoughts!
Over 13 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated and as this long winter draws to a close there is an inevitability that our thoughts turn to the future. It seems increasingly likely that schools will begin to reopen from the 8th March yet it seems naive to imagine that we will return to a world which is instantly familiar insomuch as some social distancing measures will inevitably remain in place for the foreseeable future.
It was in early March 2020, that it became apparent that school closures were going to happen. Few of us could have predicted the impact of a pandemic that has infected over 100,000,000 people globally and taken over 2,000,000 lives. The social, emotional and psychological effect of the lockdown has been just as concerning as the amount of classroom time missed. Technology has enabled us to continue delivering a full curriculum online but screen fatigue has become a real issue. Zoom and Google Classroom have provided much needed lifelines but nothing replaces face-to-face interaction. Our social interactions have been condensed to tessellated assemblages. The spontaneity and dynamic interchange of human interaction cannot be compensated for by a heightened appreciation of trends in interior design. There is an irony that connecting digitally only serves to underline our physical separation.
Eleven days after Armistice Day on 11th November, 1918, David Lloyd George visited Wolverhampton. It was in the Grand Theatre in Lichfield Street that he made his famous speech about making Britain ‘a fit country for heroes to live in’. He was preoccupied with the desire to improve the state of Britain’s housing and provide some purpose to four years of unfathomable conflict. In 1942, the Beveridge Report was published and this groundbreaking document identified the five giant ‘evils’ as want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The report provided a clear roadmap for post-war reconstruction predicated upon the idea of the welfare state and the provision of free healthcare from cradle to grave. Thus the seismic upheavals of the twentieth century were themselves the catalyst for societal change. When countries are convulsed by events that appear cataclysmic, it is not surprising that there is a desire to create something new. It is perhaps a way of us finding some sense of meaning in that which defies understanding.
Given epidemiological factors, it is perhaps understandable that globalisation has come under the spotlight in recent months. Those advocating isolationist policies find their position bolstered by an invisible enemy that’s primary modus operandi is to exploit human interaction. At the same time, the virus has served to highlight social and economic inequalities. As states have adopted increasingly authoritarian measures in an effort to contain the threat of infection, it is inevitable that concerns have arisen with regards to civil liberties. Words and phrases such as ‘woke’ and ‘cancel culture’ have entered our vocabulary and recent events at Eton College have made headlines because it taps into a deeper debate about education and society. Inequalities and iniquities have been brought into sharp relief by the troubled context within which we are living. The killing of George Floyd quite rightly aroused anger and dismay throughout the world. The revulsion that many felt gave way to a profoundly unsettling truth. We might have come so far since the middle of the twentieth century but there are still many who face persecution or the negative impact of unconscious bias due to their gender, race, creed or sexuality. Last week, the Headmaster Nicholas Hewitt, came out as gay to his pupils at St Dunstan’s College in an online assembly. Apparently this was the first time that a headmaster had publicly ‘come out’ in front of a school community. It is 2021.
Predicting change seems more difficult than ever but here are some thoughts for the future.
Ten potential changes
1. Here at Rossall, we have appointed a Director of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. Critically reflecting on all aspects of our operation from a perspective that is challenging but motivated by the desire to ensure that every member of our community feels equally valued is something which we embrace.
2. As the concept of globalisation comes under sustained threat, communities predicated upon an active promotion of internationalism will become more vital in terms of serving as collegiate centres of understanding.
3. Mental Health and Wellbeing will assume centre stage and the lessons of lockdown will lead to a more holistic vision of education.
4. There will be a move away from ‘all or nothing’ summative examinations as a means of assessment. Modular structure courses will grow in popularity and coursework and other forms of continuous assessment will make a return.
5. The curriculum will evolve to reflect the world’s growing reliance on the biomedical sector. STEM subjects will receive a boost in terms of their profile and ability to attract government funding.
6. Lockdown has stimulated more of an appreciation of the great outdoors. Schools will become more creative in terms of their use of the natural environment to enhance learning and our woods, beaches, forests and mountains will serve as a context within which soft skills may be nurtured.
7. Schools will explore more blended models of learning and make increasing use of ‘flipped’ classrooms. The emphasis will be upon inquiry based learning and independence.
8. The sector will become more dynamic and perceive the true importance of independence. Centrally dictated ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions have proved to be dismally ineffective during the last twelve months. The independent sector has been successful because it has the creative space to be dynamic and proactive rather than static and reactive.
9. Communication between home and school has been revolutionized by COVID-19. Relationships will become more collaborative and more open. Schools will become more adaptive to the needs of working parents and those living at a distance.
10. Boarding will continue to grow in popularity as ‘full immersion’ is perceived to be an effective antidote to months of isolation.
Of course, who knows what the future holds? My predictions could well be wide of the mark for there have been many unforeseen consequences of COVID and much of what was predicted (such as the demise of international boarding) has not come to pass.
Above all else, I hope that you enjoy this half term break. I would be interested to know how you think education might change during the months and years ahead. In the meantime, let’s all look forward to a time when we are able to feel truly free once again.
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Junior Headmaster
What a half term we have enjoyed! It is incredible to think that we have once again successfully managed to negotiate another six week period of remote learning. Make no mistake, it has been difficult. The enduring spirit of the first lockdown has been hard to replicate but I believe that we have prevailed together. The weather has not been quite as kind to us either – a winter lockdown is somewhat harder to negotiate with torrential rain, snow and ice. Not to mention the dark mornings and evenings. Reserves have run low for all members of our community and at times, it has been a challenge to paint a brave face on. However, our enhanced remote learning offering has enabled the virtual face to face that was so needed and the children have been an inspiration to us all with their effort, determination and resilience. I am proud of each and every one of them. This has been reflected in their superb Effort Grades that were released onto the iSAMS parent portal yesterday.
Today we embraced our ‘Feel Good Friday’ theme, with children offered an opportunity to virtually mix with other classes to join in with a variety of mental health promotion activities. The younger children even had their teachers dressing up for storytime! This culminated in our end of half term assembly where we recognised some of the many challenges that we have overcome. There is no doubt that everyone needs a break and I have asked for the children to do just that. The holiday should be filled with walks, playing, and simply being a child. Fingers crossed we have the weather! A recharge of batteries is called for and I am positive that together, we can return to meet the challenge of the second half of term, whatever it throws at us.
Have a well-deserved break.
Headmaster of Rossall Junior School
|JUNIOR & NURSERY NEWS
Please click here for this week’s Junior and Nursery Newsletter.
|UNDER A TARP CHALLENGE
Commanding Officer of CCF and the Director of Adventure Leadership, Mr Lee Magowan chose to spend the night Under a Tarp to raise funds and awareness for the homeless in our local area. Mr Magowan spent Thursday night sleeping rough on cardboard and under a tarpaulin in -1° conditions.
He recounts his story here:
To immerse myself better I placed some rules upon myself, not to eat after lunch, use only a three-season sleeping bag and to sit out for as long as possible. The challenge is meant to be from 7pm to 7am, I, however, choose to stay out for longer to allow students an opportunity to visit and chat about the issue of homelessness. I set up at 4pm and then took the shelter down at 9am.
My experience, however somewhat staged was interesting, I had lots of engaging conversations with students and lots of time to reflect and try to understand what it really feels like to be living out rough.
Much of my career I have lived outside in woods, under shelters, tents and just under the stars, that has always been with my colleagues and we have always had a purpose, moved around to keep warm and had food (most of the time).
For this challenge, I didn’t take food, just 2 bottles of water but the kindness and generosity of the students and staff blew me away. I was truly humbled by the support I received personally, I was offered food, hot drinks, snacks and sweets by everyone who approached.
I’m so thankful for all the kind donations, there is too many to seek out to thank personally from all over the local community and school who donated, but thank you so much, your donations will make a difference to someone!
Only recently Rossall CCF donated old sleeping bags, rucksacks and combat clothing to Belisama’s Retreat based on the side of the river Ribble. It is a hidden sanctuary in a wooded area for veterans and their families. Over the lockdown, they took in homeless veterans and provided materials for them to build their own shelters/huts to live in.
It’s a great cause that we continue to support, our cadets will visit and will learn more about veterans and the retreat, they will be able to take part in archery, air rifle shooting, axe throwing, cooking fish they catch on the river and other bushcraft skills.
I did have time to reflect when everyone went to bed, I intentionally sat out for an hour after midnight, I felt a horrible sense of loneliness even though I had many visitors earlier, the profound sense of isolation and waiting for the world to come alive again was something to look forward to, I enjoyed the people-watching aspect as students and staff went about their business.
The temperature was very cold, I personally wasn’t tracking the temperature, however, I believe it was about -1 on average, with wind chill it was more like -6. The cardboard bed and shelter held up well and keep me reasonably sheltered for the night.
I’ve only experienced a tiny percentage of hardship and can’t for one second speak on behalf of those who live through it every day but it has given me a better appreciation of the plight some experience.
Finally, sleeping rough can be the fallout of relationships breaking down, alcoholism, drug abuse, housing waiting lists, financial hardship and mental health issues, whatever it is, at some point, they were likely walking past someone on the street and never thought they would be one of them!
If you do find yourself passing a rough sleeper, please do think twice and perhaps stop to chat, find out more and if you can, maybe buy them a warm drink or a bite to eat, all I know is that I really appreciated the company and kindness of others in the bitter cold that I experienced.
Thank you again for your support!
– Mr Lee Magowan
If you would like to donate to Mr Magowan’s efforts and support the Streetlife charity, please click here.
|SHANNON SET FOR STARDOM
Year 7 pupil, Shannon Shanthakumar has begun filming on a major feature film – it’s all top secret but we want to wish Shannon all the very best and to enjoy the experience. Well done, Shannon!
|MR CAMPBELL STARS IN CORONATION STREET
We would like to wish our LAMDA Teacher, Mr Christopher Campbell a huge congratulations on his appearance in Monday night’s Coronation Street. Chris appeared in both episodes as a prison guard.
|THE BEAUTY OF ROSSALL
Chloe (Year 8, Anchor House) took this photo and said, “I took this photo because I thought it really captured the beauty of Rossall!” and we could not agree more!
|VIRTUAL OPEN DAY
Our next Virtual Open Event will take place on Saturday 6th March 2021 and will be for Senior School and Sixth Form.
We will also be hosting a Virtual Open Event for Nursery, Pre-Prep (Reception – Year 2) and Prep (Year 3 – Year 6) on Saturday 10th April 2021.
To register for either event, please click here.
|ROSSALL FOR THE FUTURE
Our Year 13 IB students have started an Instagram account to raise issues of global warming for their CAS project. If you would be willing to follow them, it would be greatly appreciated.
|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Elias’s Fruit-based Parallel Universe Dream
Upon hearing the news that he came first in the maths puzzle, Elias immediately starts celebrating by eating lots and lots of fruit. After a bit of sequences revision for his IB Analysis and Approaches course, he goes to bed.
In his dream he sees two parallel Universes unfold before him.
In Universe 1, the number of replies that Mr Sharpe receives each week to the Maths Puzzle forms a linear sequence.
In Universe 2, the number of replies that Mr Sharpe receives each week to the Maths Puzzle forms a geometric sequence,
Elias wakes up after seeing the number of puzzle replies received in both universes 10 weeks in.
What is the difference between the number of replies that Mr Sharpe receives for the Puzzle of the week in this tenth week of asking for solutions to be sent to him?
The number of replies Mr Sharpe received so far have been 2 in the first week and 6 in the second week. So the sequences that Elias saw were:
Universe 1: 2, 6, 10, 14, …. (+4). This is the linear sequence
4n – 2
with n being a specific week and so when n = 10 this would give 38 replies.
Universe 2: 2, 6, 18, 54, … (x3). This is the geometric sequence
Again, n is the specific week and so when n = 10 this would give 39,366 replies.
Making the answer to the puzzle 39,366 – 38 = 39,328
Congratulations to Paul Kirszanek who was the first correct response this week.
As for the number of responses Mr Sharpe received this week, it was neither 10 or 18 as Elias’s dream predicted. It was in fact 2 responses! Let’s hope for more when we return after half term!
THIS WEEK’S PUZZLE:
This week’s puzzle is an adapted GCSE probability question:
Paul’s Peculiar Probability Problem
Paul has a strange bag of cubes that he bought on holiday many years ago in Hull.
It turns out that he can’t look in it but he can take a cube out at random, look at it and return it. These sorts of bags are common in the world of maths.
The bag has only red and green cubes in it.
If he takes a cube out at random from the bag, he knows that the probability that it is green is
One day he accidentally drops 2 more red cubes and 3 more green cubes into it. He now, somehow, knows that the probability of getting a green cube is
Paul now knows enough to say how many green and red cubes are in the bag. So, how many?
Once more the first email containing the correct answer will become the subject of the next puzzle. Two-thirds of the winners so far have been called Paul. There may be a future question in that somewhere….
– Mr Sharpe
|VIRTUAL TALK WITH PROFESSOR GRAEME CLOSE
Rossall Sport is excited to host a virtual session with Professor Graeme Close on Thursday 25th February, at 2.00pm.
Professor Graeme Close is a Lecturer of Human Physiology at Liverpool John Moores University. Formerly a professional Rugby League player, Close now combines his academic research with nutrition and physiology consultancy to some of the world’s leading sporting individuals and organisations.
Close is currently Head of Nutrition for England Rugby, Lead Nutritionist to Everton Football Club, and a consultant to leading sportspeople such as golfer Jason Day, and British Number 1 tennis player Johanna Konta.
Pupils studying Sport and PE in years 9 to 13 are expected to attend.
To confirm your attendance please complete this form.