Message from our Deputy Head – 15th January 2021

Senior School
15 Jan 21

I began this term by talking to the whole School about our new Learning Powers of Tenacity and Bravery. We looked at the example of Helen Keller, who had to overcome so much, with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. It was also very easy for me to shine a light on all those members of staff at SVPS who have worked so tirelessly over the last few weeks to ensure the smooth re-launch of our virtual School. Their determination to ensure that everything was put in place is a great example of these Learning Powers (and so much more).

I have been inspired this week by this TED talk by Mollie Hughes, who, in 2017, became the youngest woman to climb both sides of Mount Everest and, just last week, became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. In her talk, she talks about the importance of testing your resilience, to see what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Rightly, we exhort the children to practise their own Tenacity and Bravery, by facing up to the challenges that they come up against and really having a go at overcoming them.

It is also true, however, that the importance of a support network, when you are stepping out of your comfort zone is critical to success. Things do go wrong at times, and children need to feel confident that when this does happen, they will be picked up and dusted off, either physically or metaphorically. Encouraging children to try to solve problems by themselves, secure in the knowledge that failure is an important part of the learning process is key to their practice of the skills of Tenacity and Bravery.

When introducing the concept of Bravery, I shared the thought that in order to be brave, one must first be a little bit scared. At this time, each and every one of us – parents, staff and children – will have a differing response to the situation in which we find ourselves and, with it, require our own level of Bravery to face that fear.

Sometimes, the bravest move is to ask for help. As a School, we want to support our whole community in any way that we can and communication, at this time when we are seeing less of each other than ever, is a vital component of our response to this. As parents, you are best placed to judge how your children are getting on with their Virtual Journey. Do encourage them to be brave and tenacious, but if you find that they are struggling, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Looking after our children’s mental health at this time is so important, so letting us know when issues start to develop means we can, together, come up with strategies to support and nurture the young people in our care.

A final word must go to our parents, who have been so supportive of the School at this difficult time and who have, inevitably, had to practise their own Learning Powers of Tenacity and Bravery over the last couple of weeks and will continue to do so as this lockdown rolls on.

Keep up the good work; you’re doing a fantastic job!

Mr Watkins, Deputy Head