Page 25 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Henry Price has been head of Wellington School, Somerset, since 2014. He previously worked at Sydney Grammar School, Sherborne and Rugby.
 eat, bedtimes, manners and much else, so too it
is possible to set boundaries around technology and its use. We must remind our children and ourselves to slay the fear of missing out if we disconnect for a while and we must remind our children and ourselves that we should not feel inadequate when we see an airbrushed, snapshot of other people’s lives on social media. We all know that our idyllic family shot of Christmas does not necessarily tell the whole story of what
is a need to keep teachers at the heart of the setting and marking process to ensure that every syllabus is relevant and interesting as it is vital that we inspire a love of learning in pupils that they can take with them into their long lives ahead. Ultimately, there is a bigger picture about the need to move away from examinations, league tables and teaching to the test and
value to a far greater degree the lessons learned beyond the classroom; the soft skills which will really help our pupils in the future at work and at home. We are not considering IB at Wellington, but are considering one or two BTEC courses with a more vocational and modular edge to them, Qsince the return to linearity at A Level.
There has been much focus of late on the sharing of independent school facilities with the state sector and the wider
community; your Princess Royal Sports Complex already shares a range of top-class sports facilities. What do you make of the idea that teaching resource should similarly be shared, partly as a way of maintaining viable class sizes Ain less popular subjects?
The sharing of teaching resource is a sensible and sound way of reducing cost, developing expertise and providing
access to fringe subjects. Many schools do this effectively and there are good partnerships between state and independent schools. There are, however, practical and logistical issues of dovetailing timetables and in simple terms, proximity is a good starting point. We do not have such a formal arrangement at Wellington, though we are part of a Physics teaching partnership. In addition, there are numerous other initiatives in local schools such as the teaching of Latin by our staff and pupils: the coaching of singing in preparation for our huge ‘Come and Sing’ event involving 50 schools; and passing on  tness training and skills coaching
7 – 11. We also have one-off days and lectures,
in addition to a newly-created slot every Wednesday morning designated solely to PSHEE. There is always more that can be done, but we are con dent that we have improved our provision and are leading the way with our approach to physical literacy and wellbeing in particular.
as happened before and afterwards! hQ
The Wellington CCF is thriving. Apart from the usual range of activities and
opportunities offered, your cadets
can also complete the BTEC Level 2 Diploma
in Uniformed Public Services and Institute of Leadership and Management quali cations. What do these extra dimensions add to the CCF experience, and would you advocate them to Aother school CCFs?
Is Brexit going to present a problem of teacher recruitment and make the UK less attractive to boarding pupils from
overseas? If it is, what steps can be taken to itigate?
mADespite the best efforts of the Government, there is a looming crisis with teacher recruitment, which is not related to Brexit, though anything which dilutes the attractiveness of working in the UK will exacerbate this. I believe that the independent sector is slightly better placed to keep recruiting good teachers, but I would like to see the profession as whole trusted and lauded to a greater degree.
In terms of boarding pupils, the weaker pound has been bene cial and the removal of students from immigration numbers is important. I would see Brexit as less of an issue than the growth of UK independent schools overseas, potentially reducing the  ow of international pupils to the UK. For a true experience, however, international pupils will keep coming to good schools in the UK for a while longer. The key for me is remaining affordable for our UK families for which we need economic strength and no political surprises around VAT, business rate relief or other costs, which will only drive up fees and have a signi cant wider impact on the local economy
a
re-grades has damaged the reputation of GCSEs and A-levels amongst parents, pupils, and employers, leave alone teaching staff. What is your view on how the system could
or should be improved to restore con dence? Are you considering the IB or other options for AWellington?
There are too many examinations, particularly at GCSE, so I would reduce these. Despite some controversy, there
The CCF is one of the many jewels in the crown at Wellington, sustained by committed staff and volunteers, but
Qnd education.
The accuracy, or rather inaccuracy, of
exam marking and the whole issue of
A
rom our Sport and Wellbeing Department. fQ
Nick Milner-Gulland, my Prep School Headmaster and Latin teacher inspired
Wellington’s last ISI inspection - conducted in the year you joined the school - advocated changes to the time
me, though I have been lucky to be taught by and work alongside many superb teachers since. I do still teach and use phrases he taught me in the classroom today, such as ‘Fish Chipsque’ and I have always tried to be  rm, fair and funny as a teacher, just as he
was. Nick emanated a strong sense of values, particularly the connection between privilege and responsibility and I hope that I have retained the instincts of a Schoolmaster in my role as Headmaster.
devoted to the teaching of PHSE. How did you address this, and how have you monitored the Aresults of your actions?
One key response was the development of our Sport and Wellbeing Department, which has evolved PE lessons into
something much more innovative and covers about a quarter of the PSHEE syllabus in Years
Q
also by a really strong word of mouth from the boys and girls who thoroughly enjoy it. There
is real pride and healthy rivalry between the three sections and it is one of the best areas of school life in developing leadership, as well as teamwork, resilience, and more. Positions of responsibility for the pupils are important and it is a real pleasure to see older pupils leading and teaching the younger cadets on a regular basis. The BTEC is offered to Year 12 pupils
and encourages a deeper consideration of leadership and service, but I would argue that it is the unmeasured elements of the experience that are far more valuable.
Q
Who, or what, inspired you to get into teaching? Do you still teach?
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