I spent a morning at Castle Howard recently and wondered whether anyone, a hundred years ago, could have possibly imagined that where the horses were groomed and the coaches were maintained, visitors would one day be sitting having a full English breakfast and a cup of coffee.
It’s all the more surreal a thought when you see pictures taken around that time showing people stood in the exact same spot as you stand now and you realise that innumerable lives have passed through that particular place on this earth.
And so, it was with interest that I read the Post’s article about the time capsule being buried as part of the Pavilion Square to celebrate the find of Iron Age artefacts. Not only have people been living in this area for over 2,000 years, but their legacy is still being felt today.
I have a book which I refer to constantly on the bookshelf in my office – it’s called ‘Leadership with a Moral Purpose’ and is written by a man called Will Ryan. I had the pleasure of attending training led by him where he spoke passionately about the need for “Three Generation Lessons”.
If you think back to your own school days, I doubt any of us can remember much about how it was explained to us that all sentences need punctuating at the end, normally through the use of a full-stop. And yet – however many years on you from that day you may personally be – here we all are, able to punctuate effectively.
Being literate and being numerate are clearly the point of education, but I don’t believe that this is the sole point of school. What Will Ryan talks about in his book – and in the training I attended – was the need for schools to ignite passions in pupils which are strong enough to be resonating many years from now and to be the stories about school that are passed from parent to child and then from grandparent to grandchild; passion which is strong enough to be shared across three generations.
That time we hatched chicks in the classroom? That time we got to learn how to play the steel drums? That time we got the chance to go and choose the school Christmas tree from the farm and cut it down? That time we learned about Venus flytraps? That time we acted out our own plays in a real theatre?
All potentially a ‘Three Generation Lesson’, but probably for different children.
I have no idea what this school will look like in 100 years – aside from the fact that I’m guaranteed not to be here.
However, the chances are the school will still be standing and the seven year olds coming through the doors into Year 3 each September will be in some way related to the bright-eyed seven year olds who walk in each morning now.
Like the time capsule, and like those Iron Age artefacts, what we do with our pupils will have an impact on the lives of people many hundreds of years from now and that’s both an enormous privilege and an enormous responsibility.