Headmaster’s Notes: The worth of adventure

13th May 22

We know instinctively that children need to experience a sense of adventure through their learning and this week was no exception. With Year 3 and Year 4 outside of their classrooms this week, I am reminded that, beyond the knowledge required to pass a test, to succeed in life our children must learn about life experiences away from school and home, including taking risks and sometimes failing. For those children versed with screen time after hours, refreshingly these are not accessible on residentials. Oddly enough, I cannot think of a single children’s adventure story that involves a child sitting in front of a computer for hours, having virtual adventures as a substitute for real ones. I certainly can’t imagine Enid Blyton offering her approval. Yet that is what happens to a great many children across the country now. That or a rigorously timetabled curriculum of amusement — tennis, ballet, soft play, play dates – all worthy activities, but ones over which the shadow of the supervising adult falls long and dark!

This is not something that children have done to themselves. The risk of childhood in the 21st century is one that offers them a lack of autonomy. If our children never take a risk, unless it is the synthetic risk of theme park rides or the like, and instead avoid any real risk or authentic adventure – then the truth is that all this has happened because we, the adults, chose that it should. We feel very fortunate as a School community that measured risk is still valued. The result is more enterprising, life-savvy, confident children who have lived a little outside of the classroom through a dose of danger and plenty of opportunity.

My sincere thanks must go to those staff who have voluntarily given up their time away from their families to offer that licence to thrill for our youngsters this week, conscious that they get very little rest as they care for those most precious to us. Thank you to our parents for your support of them; quite simply, without your backing and their willing, our children would not be able to experience what they do. I know all involved this week will be sleeping soundly this weekend!

Following the success of last week’s Quiz Night where it was such a pleasure to welcome so many of you, a group that I am particularly grateful to, for their support in our charity fundraising, is our Prince’s Mead Association (PMA). This team of parents tirelessly gives their time, talents and resources for the good of the school, and to the charities we support. Their willingness to serve, in whatever capacity – large or small – makes Prince’s Mead what it is, and is instrumental in keeping our community connected. Having missed out on having such events over the past couple of years, last Friday made it an even more memorable evening and my sincere thanks to them all.

Wishing you a most relaxing weekend.

Mr Peter Thacker