Message from the Master

Andy Falconer

Our pupils live and learn honestly and responsibly, doing their best to be their best, with a spirit of respect for their school, teachers, friends and other pupils. These form part of our Core Expectations and along with our Seven Values, have become the essence of our school. Our young people and staff make our school an inspiring place to be.

A St Olave’s education extends well beyond learning and academic achievement. Our aim is to develop resilience in our pupils, with strategies so they can think for themselves. We want them to enjoy their successes but also to take on life’s disappointments, reflect on them and use them constructively.

Growth mindset is a vital focus here at St Olave’s. A child with a growth mindset will care about what they can learn from a task. They understand that learning requires effort and that making mistakes is a valuable stage in the learning process. They use the word ‘YET’ about skills they have not mastered.

I believe relentless curiosity is one of the most important things we can help develop in ourselves and our children, with the wonder of discovering in a safe, happy and supportive school. Relentless curiosity makes the mind active, observant of new ideas; it opens up new worlds and possibilities and brings excitement to life. In school it facilitates conversations about things that matter.

Ian Leslie, in his book Curious: The Desire To Know And Why Your Future Depends On It suggests several ways to feed the habit and spirit of curiosity. Two of these strike a particular resonance with me:

Read widely and follow our interests

John Lloyd was a hugely successful TV producer and writer until one day he started to encounter a string of failures, leading to depression. His depression compelled him to contemplate life and this incidentally led to his idea for the BBC comedy gameshow, QI. QI (Quite Interesting) has a philosophy that everything is interesting if looked at it the right way.

Visit a physical bookstore or library and browse the shelves

Economist John Maynard Keynes' ‘’On Reading Books’’ broadcast on the BBC on 1 June 1936, offered the following advice.

A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye. To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon’s entertainment.

Let me share with you the lessons I am using to develop my own curiosity:

  1. Don’t label something as boring.
  2. Expect things to be fun.
  3. Absorb other people’s enthusiasm.
  4. Question relentlessly.
  5. Diversify.

We encourage the children here at St Olave’s to be inspired to embark on their own journeys of relentless curiosity. Please come along to see how we work and learn, and think and do.

I look forward to welcoming you.

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Andy Falconer, Master

 

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