The Headmaster’s Blog

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” – William Shakespeare

Dear Parents,

The role that drama has to play in teaching vital life skills to children is incalculable. Even today, I still remember that sense of exhilaration, freedom and possibility that I felt from donning a costume and reciting lines from literary masterpieces in school productions. But the power of drama runs far deeper than that.

Children who regularly rehearse, present and perform in front of audiences are, in doing so, developing the skills of confidence, communication, coordination and concentration that will serve them so well later in life, as they engage with new people, undertake university interviews, present to colleagues in the workplace and establish themselves as relaxed, confident and self-assured people who have the tools to achieve meaningful things in our competitive world.

A child who thrives in drama activities will be better placed to establish eye contact, improvise in challenging situations and demonstrate enthusiasm when they are asked to try new things. Whilst it is abundantly clear that many of the jobs that our students will undertake have yet to be invented, such human qualities and skills will be all the more imperative in their careers, giving them ‘stand-out’ as the growth of robotics impacts the workplaces of the future.

This week, I had the privilege of attending the Cognita Global Conference and, in doing so, learning about the latest cutting-edge teaching practice from some of the leading lights in their field. Keynote speakers included Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, pioneer of the Primary Literacy Strategy and, now, Chair of the Education Advisory Group for the Cognita family of schools.

Whilst these inspiring speakers presented on a raft of different educational issues and innovations, they shared one thing in common: they all knew how to captivate, engage and hold an audience.

The Global Conference was attended by all Heads in the Cognita Group and I came away having established the links that will eventually present HGS students with a range of opportunities to make global links and exchanges with independent school children from countries around the world, including Chile, Brazil and Thailand. As HGS parents, you can expect to see the results of this cross-pollination of ideas in the years ahead. I look forward to updating you on our progress.

Whilst it was a pleasure to attend the conference, I was very disappointed to miss what was, by all accounts, an outstanding drama performance by HGS pupils at the Lawrence Batley Theatre this week. As part of the Shakespeare for Schools festival, these Senior School pupils presented a version of ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare and were commended by the organisers for their clarity of speech.

My congratulations to all who were involved, and to Miss Haigh and Mrs Simmons for their wonderful direction. All who are participated will have benefited enormously from having their skills tested in a professional theatre. But the longer-term impact on their confidence, communication, coordination and concentration should not be underestimated.

With best wishes for a relaxing family weekend,

Mr M Seaton