In Focus – Spring 2016

Please select the link below to view our latest edition of In Focus - published May 2016.

Introduction from Head Master, Mark Lascelles

All schools claim to provide an all-round education, but too often this claim is a euphemism for mediocrity. A wide range of extra-curricular activities and outstanding pastoral care are essentials for pupils to be happy and prosper, but the pursuit of academic excellence and a culture of academic ambition are most important of all. These affect the ethos, culture and discipline of a school and set expectations.

Nevertheless I often say to prospective parents that if it is league table performance and statistics that they are after, then they should steer away from Dauntsey’s. A contradiction? No, I don’t think so.

What you learn outside the classroom can have a profound effect – on your self-confidence, your ability to think round a problem and your willingness to persist when things aren’t straightforward; this is all part of building resilience.

Pupils past and present put it better than I can when they talk about challenges such as the Devizes to Westminster canoe race teaching them how to push beyond their perceived capabilities, both physically and mentally.

The question is how to square this circle. The answer in our science department, for example, is to focus on practical experiment and creative thinking, rather than learning facts and theories by rote – an approach that brings science to life for a generation accustomed to relying on the easy answers they find on Google.

Our eco society, The Big Green Thing, brings together the adventurous and intellectual, using creativity, research, persistence and problem-solving not only to reduce the School’s carbon footprint but also to campaign on issues of national and international significance.

It shows that academic rigour can feed interests outside the classroom – and vice versa. That, to my mind, is truly an all-round education.

In Focus - Spring 2016 (pdf)