What have I learned about the power of connections?
Once upon a time, at a conference
in a galaxy far away, a very new headteacher (like, two weeks in post)
attended her first association conference. She had seen Heads under whom
she had served shoot off for such an occasion towards the end of a busy
year, returning refreshed to the fray, reporting on great speakers,
nice locations, how lovely to see old friends from their teaching past.
What was not to like?
Making connections is all important, but so too is knowing exactly when to make them, says Hilary Moriarty
Headteachers of both state and private boarding schools held their annual gathering recently.
What do you need for a good conference? A good hotel, great food, convivial company and star speakers. Apart from losing education secretary Michael Gove at the last minute, the Boarding Schools’ Association, of which 38 are state boarding schools, did well on all four counts for its annual conference for heads, in Bristol earlier in May.
Where do the weeks go? In a blur in January with the two conferences and – for me – a trip to see a school in Belgium also. But a good couple of weeks for press coverage – wonderful to get a ‘side-swipe’ in an article in the Arts pages of The Times, reflecting that Eton produces such good actors (Hugh Laurie, Dominic West et al) partly because it’s a boarding school where the day goes from 8 in the morning to 10.30 at night – availability of staff, accessibility of theatres and rehearsal space, time, interest – great combination. Whatever raises the profile of boarding and reminds the world of its benefits is good to see.
This week a menu-tasting at the hotel which will be hosting the Heads’ Conference in May – seriously good food at the Marriott Royal in Bristol. Heads are signing up in splendid numbers for the conference which will feature, among others, a psychologist consellor from Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire. If you’d like to hear him and you are not a Head, he will be doing a whole day seminar for us in London on Thursday 3 May – do grab a place to hear him if you possibly can.
Thursday 2 Feb, a more serious event: Damian Green pronouncing on immigration. Very keen on bringing in the brightest and the best, but even more keen on bringing down the numbers and breaking the connection between coming here to study and staying to live forever. At least one Director of Boarding has already spoken to me about the possibly damaging effect upon international recruitment even for boarding schools because British universities will be less attractive if the graduate cannot then stay on to work. This year’s census figures from the ISC will make interesting reading.
This post originally appeared at http://boarding.org.uk/blog/show/18