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23rd January 2023

As we head into a new year and many of us take time to reflect on how to gain a greater balance in our lives, it is a good time to consider how well-positioned small prep schools are to provide the balanced education our children need.

All good schools teach a wide spectrum of subjects, promote a broad range of knowledge and skills and allow children to discover areas of interest.  However, it is only the very best schools that can achieve a successful balance.

As Sam Sutton-Reid, Head of Curriculum Managers at Pearson, wrote: The ‘balanced’ bit is about combining the skills and knowledge, the technical with the non-technical, the academic with the creative and the stretch with the accessible.

There is little argument that a broad and balanced education is best, but the pressures around regular testing and assessment continue to hamper many schools from creating the freedom in their curriculum to achieve a balance. A skills-based curriculum which can focus on supporting the learning dispositions of each individual child must be celebrated.  After all, once the knowledge learned has been forgotten, what is left? It is all about the skills and the confidence and courage instilled in our pupils to know when and how to use these skills effectively.

For school leaders this is where a child’s personal development is all important.  It is the bespoke attention we can give to each individual child across a wide range of skills which builds resilience and an openness to learning. Every child can be celebrated as they become creative and critical thinkers able to flourish and excel as modern global citizens.

Joff Powis – Head of Vinehall School