The headteacher column with Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison, The Market Weighton School headteacher.
Richard Harrison, The Market Weighton School headteacher.

In recent years there has been much discussion in the education community about the need to develop grit and resilience in young people. Is this something that can be taught?

I believe that we can foster a sense of perseverance in the classroom and a ‘never give up trying’ attitude, but the real impact on developing resilience comes from taking part in activities outside of formal lessons.

The whole school took to the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds for our annual school walk. This is a 13-mile walk.

The whole school took to the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds for our annual school walk. This is a 13-mile walk.

Since we returned after the summer break I have had the opportunity to witness three great example of this in practice.

Two weeks ago our Year 10 students completed their expedition for the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.

They had to walk 15 miles over two days carrying all of their camping equipment and food etc. Anyone who has ever done this knows how heavy the rucksack is when loaded with everything a teenager needs for two days away from home!

The pace was slow, feet were blistered, but everyone completed the route successfully and great fun was had in the process.

During the following week TMWS faced four home football fixtures against Woldgate, the local derby of the season.

The honours were split two games each, with our Year 8 and 9 teams being victorious. The grit and resilience however was being developed in the Year 7 game; the team lost heavily to a very strong Woldgate team but they played on throughout without a single complaint or moan at each other and were rewarded with a last-minute goal to end the game 8–1 down.

I am sure the lads will remember that and it will make them even more determined to win in future games.

Then, last week, the whole school took to the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds for our annual school walk.

This is a 13-mile walk from Market Weighton to Londesborough, Numberholme and back over the fields and lanes to Market Weighton. We are time limited as buses depart at 3.15pm so it is a challenge, especially for Year 7 students.

Each of our Houses nominates a charity for the year and students are sponsored by family and friends to raise funds.

This year our house charities are: Cancer Research, The British Heart Foundation, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and We 2 Me, a charity encouraging young people to get involved in projects to irradiate child poverty.

One of our students was so determined to complete the walk that we had to call his mum to collect him as he finished an hour after his bus had left.

He had raised over £100 in sponsorship and thought that if he didn’t complete the full 13 miles he would not get the money!

Many other students showed great resilience in keeping going to complete the walk and we will have raised a substantial sum for each of our charities.