By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools
I finished my ramblings last week saying that the Young Creative Leaders session at the HMC conference was for me the most stimulating. Why?
Three entrepreneurs, who had left school in the last 12 years or so, talked about the so-called millennial generation’s aspirations – what are young professionals looking for in their lives and how can we prepare them? Lizzie Fane, founder of Third Year Abroad and Global Graduates, Phoebe Gormley, founder of Gormley & Gamble and Charlotte Pearce, founder of Inkpact made up the panel.
The threads that emerged from their session resonated strongly with what I hear from their contemporaries who are OBs and my own three children who are of that generation.
- Do something you love, something that you find fulfilling, that makes you feel alive
- Find something that gives you the satisfaction of seeing something through
- Spend as much time as possible seeking out different experiences, especially through travel: this will help you spot a problem that you could solve through your business
- Look out for the ways that “digital nomads” make their livings – people who have found ways of earning money whilst living in different places: technology transforms things
- Enjoy having control over your time; you can share working space with other creatives
- Look for all opportunities whilst at school to take new things on, take risks, work out practical solutions for yourself, even if you seem to be one of the awkward squad
- Building a business is all about being able to inspire people with an idea and keep them motivated – look for chances to do this at school
- Schools need to help students understand the business basis for schools through showing them how a school needs to operate.
Interesting to reflect on the influence of their parents in all this. The cultural, social and financial capital of their parents has been a factor in enabling them to take these risks and start their businesses. But what is also interesting is that the millennials’ determination to have greater autonomy over their lives and give greater emphasis to their personal fulfilment is partly a reaction to seeing their parents disgruntled by their work – within the corporate world in the cases cited here.
All the above are handy reminders as we look at how the Bedales experience evolves and especially how we create the right spaces to enable our students to take responsibility and risks within a safe environment.
Being as open with students as possible concerning how their school is run and how decisions are reached is part of that. An element of this is our annual Governors’ Question Time. Mirroring Headmaster’s Question Time which happens termly, the Governors’ one has three governors in the panel with me in the Dimbleby role.
Last night most of the questions take the three governors – Matthew Rice, Tim Wise and Michele Johnson – into suitable areas which help show their role – areas such as how the school spends its income, reviews decisions I make and what are the next building projects. Afterwards, School Council has a session with them. These things should help increase our students’ understanding of how their school works – and by extension give them a better insight into how complex institutions and businesses operate.