Last year I wrote an unofficial 500 words for the Purpose of Education campaign in which I talked about the importance of role models and I referred back to the figures who were pivotal in my education – primarily my Granddad. As I wrote the post last year I was awaiting the birth of my first child. This time I am writing the post just after Isaac’s first birthday and I apologise in advance for the personal nature of what I have written.
When you are old enough to go to school I want you to continue to be as curious and inquisitive as you are now. I want you to continue to wonder how things work and to continue to experience that sense of awe and wonder when you discover something new. Your education should provide you with the opportunities to express your imagination and to develop a thirst for knowledge. I hope your teachers inspire you with their passion for their subjects and that you challenge them by asking questions and wanting to know more. Your education should give you the strength to be yourself and to follow your interests. It should enable you to build on those skills you find come naturally as well as develop those that are a struggle.
During your time at school I hope you are given opportunities to learn beyond the curriculum and that you develop confidence and a belief in yourself. I hope you are encouraged to work as part of a team, to develop leadership skills as well as the ability to work independently. You should be given the opportunities to play and to create – to be musical, artistic, athletic and scientific. You will be given opportunities to draw, to write, to play, to make, to explore and to think.
Your education should give you the tools to become a confident person with a strong work-ethic and a set of high-moral standards. Your education should encourage you to aim high and to believe that, with enough work, determination and effort that you could achieve your dreams.
Your education should expose you to worlds beyond the school. Whether they be distant countries of worlds created in your own imagination. Your teachers should be role models for you and they should introduce you to other role models – people whose lives and achievements will inspire you to be better.
You should be allowed to be proud of your achievements and you should also celebrate the achievements of others. I want you to feel safe in school, to be excited by your lessons and to be inspired by your teachers.
But most of all Isaac I want you to realise that learning is a lifelong task and your time at school should provide you with the skills and desire to want to keep on learning. I want you to never lose your curiosity. I want you to continually ask questions and to want to know more about everything and anything. That is the purpose of education.