This week I get to do one of my favourite activities: giving assemblies to over the week to each year group. It really is a privilege to speak to all of the students and many staff over the week.
The theme this week was linked to the #GrowingGrit project and was co delivered by Della, our Grit and Resilience Coordinator. The Year 7 assembly avoided the use of the word ‘grit’ as research suggests that it’s best just to get on with doing it.
I’m a creature of habit so talked about two of my favourite people: Chris Hadfield and Sean Conway. Both of these people provide an example of having to learn. Chris in particular gives a strong message: ‘don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you didn’t want to become.’ In other words, take control.
This week Im also giving a message closer to home. One of my sister’s has an amazing story of grit and determination and I’m very proud of her, not least because she has an eldest brother like me to put up with. Although celebrities and sports stars are god to talk about from time to time, it’s also the every day stories that I find both moving and powerful. There weren’t even any selfies (well one photo of me in a vest!).
I’m also deeply indebted to those that replied to y request last night to share examples of what they have achieved. I’ve included all of those received at around ten last night.
Finally, Della introduced the #LearnChallenge where Year 7 have been asked to learn something new. Della is learning to drum and I have committed publicly in front of over 200 Year 7s to learn to unicycle (GULP!). This idea has been magpied from Durrington High School via Shaun Alison, who I’m looking forward to chatting with this Thursday. The idea is not only to model and challenge the year group to learn something, but also to raise the profile of the #GrowingGrit project.
Is this the sort of thing that schools should be investing time in? I think so. We are working hard to establish a culture of learning and powerful habits early on as well as a sense of community (including our Year 7 camp back in September). I believe that if the right culture and ethos is established early on, including high expectations in the classroom, then there will be fewer issues later on. Indeed, investment in Year 7 and 8 is the ultimate in low effort high impact.