From the new headmasters office

Fred de Falbe

Fred de Falbe - Credit: Submitted

Introducing the new headmaster at Beeston Hall School, Fred de Falbe with his first column for our monthly education page

Everyone has a view on schools and schooling – we all have experience of it, after all. However, I have noticed how, recently, commentators have talked about the need to avoid “identikit educational experiences” in order to ensure that students are fully prepared for the job market that awaits. My conviction is that the world is changing so fast that we cannot predict the job market – or even the jobs themselves – in the way we once could, and so preparation of our children needs to enable them to be flexible, creative and independent. Nurturing these qualities in children is exactly what prep schools (the clue is in the name!) such as Beeston Hall do, providing a myriad of opportunities to ensure children develop confidence to explore, take risks and work together. The key to this happening successfully is in the scale. At prep school age children must, of course, acquire the foundations of a broad education, the key skills to allow them to operate effectively in their next schools, but most of all they must have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, in an atmosphere that is sufficiently small and friendly to give confidence. Every child is different and each develops at a different pace, but we have to ensure our 13-year-olds leave with a sense that they have succeeded at something (usually many things) and with a sense of responsibility about their world, as well as an awareness of their good fortune, which benefits the rest of the community as well as themselves. And the acid test of this? That they go on to exactly the senior school that suits them best of all and we, that truly independent school, is judged on this. It keeps us, as well as our children, on our toes!

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