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St Peter's 13-18

4 June 2020

During lockdown we have been trying to keep as much of the normal pattern of school life as possible. Part of that is the annual selection of those who will take on positions of responsibility next year. Later on this morning a full list of all of those will be published by email, replicating the way it would have been pinned onto my noticeboard in the Monkey Cage.

I am really delighted to announce now though that next year the Deputy Heads of School will be Jenny Durham and Olly Tomalin and the Heads of School will be Ben Dunsmore and Hope Simpson. I spoke with all four of them on Tuesday and am very much look forward to working with them, the Monitors and all others taking on responsibility next year.

Such positions require the exercise of leadership amongst other qualities. Sometimes that does require you to make sure that things get done and done properly but a large element of it is the accepting of duties and responsibilities to the school and others. At its heart, leadership is an act of service. There has been much written about the concept of Servant Leadership and in my view it is the only true form. Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy, has as its motto ‘Serve to Lead’ and along with my other mantras such as ‘play what’s in front of you’, ‘do what is right, not what is easy’ and ‘this too shall pass’ this is something which I always bear in mind.

Leadership is not restricted just to those with named positions either. A couple of years ago I spent time with Martha Lane Fox one of our country’s leading entrepreneurs. She made a very interesting point that anybody can be and should be an entrepreneur even if they feel they are in a very traditional, structured environment. What she meant was that you can always find opportunities to do things differently, be creative and put your own mark on things. Leadership is just the same. You do not need a title or a gown to take the lead and live out the three steps of ‘know the way, show the way, go the way’.

In the last couple of days we have been welcoming increasing numbers of pupils back to school and it has been really lovely to see the smiles on their faces as they connect with friends again after such a long absence. There has of course been children here all the way through lockdown including the holidays as we have had children of critical workers in school to enable their parents to carry on with their duties. Having a sizeable number of pupils back though has made a real difference and the sound of them laughing and playing has been a really welcome and heart warming experience.

Whilst the question of when we will all be together again is still uncertain, it is surely a good sign of what you might call the ‘green shoots of return’ and certainly made me long for that day even more than ever.

In the meantime keep going as you are. You are doing a magnificent job and I am very proud of how you have responded to all that has been presented to you.

Stay safe, go well and crack on.