Things work best here when they come out of consultation with the school community, with staff and students in particular; so I use my first assembly to start a consultation – on how we can increase international awareness amongst our students; emphasising that this isn’t just about spending time overseas, but it’s also about ensuring that influences brought to bear here (mainly within the curriculum) are fostering an international awareness. We do very well on the range of our educational visits, both subject-specific (geographers in Morocco, physicists to CERN, Russian historians to Moscow and St Petersburg) and general (Swaziland, China and explorers’ trips, say to Peru this summer) – all extremely good stuff; but what I broach is the idea that, in addition to these excellent educational visits, we develop ways for students to have time overseas when they are thrown back more on their own resources and have to immerse; exposing them, usually for a longer period and often cut off from their mates, to another culture through living amongst people and (often) working alongside them. This is a different kind of experience. So, the conversation will continue via our International Committee (staff and student reps) and School Council; aiming to have a plan by April.
By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools