“Welcome to the Senior School.
In my beginning of term letter I wrote about the message I try to get across to the school community at the beginning of each year: aim high, work hard and look after each other. With the students I also focused on three areas where I feel they can make a significant difference across the community.
Be Positive – nobody wants to spend time around a grumbler. Of course everyone has a bad day but if grumbling is the regular manner of communication then members of the community will soon find themselves isolated. On the other hand, a positive approach to life’s challenges will result in an increased chance of overcoming adversity and will also lead to a lot more fun. Of course, there are occasions when members of the community need support. Every member of teaching staff has now been trained in Mental Health First Aid which enables us to identify problems before they escalate. A lot of life’s minor challenges, however, can be overcome by a positive mindset.
Be kind – I came across a lovely quote from Roald Dahl – “I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I’ll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else”. This quote sums up my message beautifully. One of our key aims is to enable our students to play a part in spreading tolerance and understanding, thus making the world a better and more peaceful place. If we can all treat each other with kindness, a simple message, then we will avoid many stressful moments.
Communicate – a significant amount of stress within the community could be avoided by better of communication. I have encouraged all members of the community to speak to each other early, and respectfully, if they have a concern. If a student receives a low effort grade or does not get selected for a team then it’s important that they ask what they can do to improve.
I have also been clear about leadership which is one of the platforms in our school vision. I don’t mean the leadership shown by senior managers but the leadership expected of every member of the community. I have asked all students to stand up for what is right if they see something that is wrong. The person who stands by and allows someone to be bullied should count themselves as a bully. The strong person will stand up for what is right. Similarly on issues such as safety – it’s not someone else’s problem. Every member of the community has a responsibility to report safety concerns and not to expect somebody else to address it.
At Taunton School we strongly believe that we are educating young people to become confident and principled adults. Being positive, kind and communicating well, alongside showing strong leadership qualities, will stand them in good stead.
To all members of our community, have a great academic year.”