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Headmaster's Blog: Enquiry, breadth, active learning and open mindednessAcademic success is built for us on the twin pillars of relationships (knowing and valuing every boy) and the values that come from activity - aspiration and a willingness to try


Date published: Mon 1 Oct 2018  


An informal evening with Fifth Form parents and the visit of prospective parents from Cumnor House both gave a chance to talk about Whitgift, which I love doing. Summarising what we are about in a few words is of course not easy, but it’s not a bad exercise, and I tend to say as a start (as I deeply believe) that academic success is built for us on the twin pillars of relationships (knowing and valuing every boy) and the values that come from activity - aspiration and a willingness to try.

Listening on Wednesday to a panel discussion celebrating 50 years of the IB, with amongst others David Willetts and Anthony Seldon, it was clear what a powerful vision underpins the IB too: enquiry, breadth, active learning and open mindedness, all high values which are of course not unique to the IB but definitely found within it.

An even broader perspective came from some OWs whose generosity to the school we celebrated on Thursday. These alumni spoke with affection, some sharp and powerful memories (one said that when the school fees went up from £25 to £30 a term his father said he hoped his son would work hard enough to justify it ... to be fair that was the 1950s), and passion. They are committed to Whitgift as a force for good, as simple as that.

Going about daily life - matches v Warwick or Brentwood, the music department’s excellent Flute festival, Evensong, let alone academic work - it’s hard sometimes to remember the big picture. But humbling to hear it so simply put by alumni, and stirring too!

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