Building resilience and a healthy mindset through creativity is producing outstanding results at All Hallows.
By Dr Trevor Richards, CPsychol
Head at All Hallows School
For too long, schools in the UK have been driven by the need to deliver and demonstrate headline results and measurable data. I believe that the need to produce such data is now impacting too greatly on schools’ thinking and decision-making at the expense of creativity and the best interests and wellbeing of our young people. At All Hallows, our somewhat different approach is producing quite outstanding results, not only in terms of the number of scholarships and awards gained on entry to senior schools, but also in the more ethereal outcomes of schooling such as long-term wellbeing, a sense of self, a degree of resilience, preparation for some aspects of work and an appreciation for philosophy, culture, creativity and civilisation – products of schooling that are no less valuable because they are difficult to quantify!
I have long endorsed the opinion of Sir Ken Robinson that “if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original”. The element of risk-taking which comes with originality not only helps our young people learn as they make mistakes along the way, but by teaching them to embrace those mistakes, it can foster resilience and a mentally healthy mindset.
Parents and teachers can fall into the trap of thinking creativity is linked solely to artistic skills, but it’s not. Creativity is also about being able to look at a problem, research ideas, and develop solutions. Typically, young people are natural risk takers, problem-solvers, and uninhabited visionaries, but this can be suppressed by our education system. It is our responsibility and privilege as teachers to work in partnership with parents to encourage their imagination and self-expression.
Children have a natural curiosity and introducing experiences can give them opportunities to wonder and explore and discover. Throughout our curriculum at All Hallows, we have shifted some of the focus from the ‘right answer’ to ‘I wonder….’ and ‘what if …’. We are also empowering our pupils to feel a sense of freedom in their learning, to take risks and have some choice in how they go about demonstrating their understanding. Time and space in the curriculum is critical to this process – if it is full of rote learning knowledge, when do children learn to produce their own ideas and solutions by thinking critically and using an innovative approach – qualities which today’s business world is calling out for.
Year on year, pupils at All Hallows have had outstanding success on entry to a wide range of top senior schools both in the South West and across the UK. The astounding array of scholarships and awards they have gained in the process, in all areas of school life including academic, sport, creative design, art, music and all round, has prompted our Governors to celebrate the school’s creativity with the introduction of an exciting new Creative Scholarship with free weekly boarding – a decision that has been rightly justified by the school’s subsequent shortlisting for the TES Independent Schools 2019 Creativity Award.
All Hallows School is nestled in the heart of Somerset countryside, close to Bath and the vibrant and eclectic towns of Frome and Bruton. Visit our website https://www.allhallowsschool.co.uk/scholarships to find out more about our Creative Scholarships.