“The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts, but of values.” William R Inge

Discrimination is the theme this week and I think the quotation encompasses that perfectly-as does everything that we do here at Padworth, although the knowledge of facts is also very important!

Learning a little about the author of the quotation was fascinating, and I admit that I had never heard of him before. He was an Anglican priest, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University and a prolific writer, being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature on 3 separate occasions. Not a bad CV. According to Year 9, however, he was not responsible for this quotation.

Living and working with students of 25 different nationalities is a real privilege and spending time with them every day can be interesting, informative and fun. What I love about international schools is the fact that students are so accepting of one another, enjoy learning from one another and do not notice differences. There is no such thing as “normal”, so there is no pressure to be “normal” or to fit in with a certain clique, wear certain clothes, like a certain band etc… Nobody is discriminated against or made to feel different-different from what? Everybody is free to be themselves and that is so refreshing and liberating for our students.

So what values are we hoping to instil in our students? Every school has to promote “fundamental British values.” These are defined as: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and for those without faith. Fine. I can’t argue with any of those. But what about empathy, understanding, enthusiasm, service, philanthropy etc…Actually, I might argue with one of those; “respect for and tolerance of…” does not promote understanding, does not promote celebration of differences. Through their everyday activities, our community here is doing just that-shame that politicians and others cannot see how great things can be when we learn from each other.

It is the half-term holiday next week, so our students are disappearing off all round the world, looking forward to seeing family and friends and having a well-earnt rest. We look forward to seeing them back here in Padworth next Sunday refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to attack a really important few weeks.

Have a great week wherever you are and don’t forget to pop in and see us if you are in the area

Best Wishes

Chris Randell