There is a moment on the first day of term when the school year actually begins. For about a week the staff have been meeting, preparing and speaking of the needs of the child. The School looks beautiful. It is clean. Tables, desks and chairs gleam. Books are neatly stacked and pencils of many colours are sharp and new. There are lists of the names of children and a diary of events to come.
And then the reality on a September morning when the doors, hearts and minds open to the care of the children. The term begins when the first teacher meets the first child. This is quite a meeting. The eyes and perhaps the hands meet and this age-old process of education begins. It is a joy to see the delight, love and respect that shines from this moment.
There you have the teacher who embodies all that the child needs: example, love, knowledge and direction. There you have the child, who calls out from the teacher this simple and natural process of education.
And we do need to keep it simple! There is no shortage of complexity in education, in London and in the nation. First of all meet every child without judgement and see them just as they are. Speak to them truthfully, generously and with affection. Listen to them with both ears, connect with their gentle sound and being. Provide them with a building that is full of beauty to remind them of their own beauty. Give them the finest literature, song and music that is available to nourish their hearts. Let the mind enjoy the precision of Maths, Geometry, Grammar and the written word. Feed their bodies with the freshest food you can find and give the children plenty of exercise to ensure balance, fitness and strength. Work with parents so the child feels the unity of the adults that care for them. Do your best through conversation and care to remove any obstacles to their happiness and ease.
Keep it simple!