One of the most important ingredients for a good education is space.
Pupils need space to grow, space to think, space to experiment and space to form and forge their own view of the world and the role they will play within it.
One of the things that has impressed me the most since arriving at HSW is the space that exists within the relationships that are forged between our pupils and our staff. My colleagues and I are never more pleased than when we feel a pupil is beginning to find themselves, discovering who they are and what they want from life. This self-actualisation comes in many forms and is rarely a Damascene moment of sudden inspiration! Rather, it comes bit by bit as children learn and grow, succeed and fail, try and then give up, then try again and discover they can do something they never believed they could. Growing into adulthood is about finding out who you are before you have to decide what you will be.
Such journeys of discovery require space. We want our students to be who they are and we know that this can change, and often does. If I were asked to describe what an HSW pupil is like, I am pleased to say that I could not. They – we – are all different and proudly so. Ours is a vibrant and inclusive school, not a factory line. We want our pupils to know that there is a bespoke space at this school just for them; and this space is adjustable! It can stretch and expand to grow as they grow.
I enjoyed school very much as a child. I would love to say I rebelled and be able to entertain you with tales of devilish deeds and sneaky japes. But the truth is I flourished at school – and that was not particularly because of the curriculum or the facilities or the resources that were on offer. It was precisely because I knew that there was a place for me at the lunch table, a pile of books with my name on and a unique role for me to play in the discussions and lessons and activities that made up the buzz of school life. I felt there was always a space somewhere with my name on it – and that if I wasn’t there for a day, then I would be missed.
Growing is rarely simple and straight-forward. There are times when we feel champion of the world and other times when we want to shrink to the size of a mouse. But no matter how our students feel, there will always be an adjustable space for them here at HSW. They are the missing piece of our puzzle and without them we would not be complete!
A J Hammond