Making your mark

3 May 2016

I’ve often heard USH referred to as a family and three years into headship, I increasingly feel what people mean. More than a social unit consisting of adults and children, we are ‘closely related’ in the real sense of belonging and I think that this is what people describe when they experience our school. The closeness comes from the collective spirit which makes it’s mark on the people who buy into our values. I’m reflecting on this in part because of the very sad passing of an ex-teacher from USH; someone who was definitely one of the USH family. I have come to understand that there are generally two types of people…those who pass through and those who make their mark. As our school develops in its community, increasingly more adults and children are choosing to make a mark on those around them and that is one of the most rewarding parts of being headteacher here. I think to be truly remembered is a rare and wonderful thing.

Sir Andrew Motion, English poet, novelist, and biographer, who was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009 wrote about one of his teachers:

My teacher, who reached down inside my head and turned the first lights on.  Who gave me Keats to read, which turned on more.  Who made me read.  Who made me write.  Who made me argue for the truth in things themselves.  Who told me manners maketh man.  Who let me question even the things he said himself were true.  Who gave my life to me, by which I mean the things I chose and not my inheritance.  Who showed a quiet voice can carry far.  Who took the gratitude I owed to him and changed it into friendship.  Who was kind.  My teacher, who died yesterday at peace – his hardest lesson and the last of these. 

Our school was universally impressed and moved when we heard from three Year 11 students on themes related to their English Speaking and Listening entry for this year’s GCSE. My House assemblies this half term focussed on theme of A search for Meaning and the Year 11 speakers brought their personal  views on global warming, the value of public speaking on self-confidence and sexism and feminism in film.... you could have heard a pin drop in the hall as they each shared their views on a subject close to their heart. How’s that for making a mark?