Education must deliver much more than a narrow ability to pass exams. ‘Doing well at school’ should reflect a level of preparedness for a diverse working world, full of jobs, businesses and career paths, many of which simply did not exist 10 years ago. It should mean leaving school with a mind that is open to new ideas, able to embrace the myriad of new opportunities that will, most certainly, present themselves to young people, in this time of accelerating change. It also means equipping students with the bravery to pursue a dream, to take the road less travelled.
Opening the minds of our students requires us to excite them about the wealth of chances beyond school and home. We are expanding the number and variety of our visiting speakers and presenters, bringing them together within a broader inspire me programme. The new name reflects the fact that we want to go beyond traditional careers advice to include individuals and groups who will share their stories, inspiring our students to think differently. The speakers will address the big subjects: technological, scientific, political, economic, historical, cultural, artistic, ecological and ethical. They will be people who will not only be able to communicate the excitement of working in their field, whether in business or cosmology, but will also be able to share their ideas on motivation, leadership and teamwork. While some sessions will provide practical, how-to advice, others will challenge the accepted norm, provoking thought and encouraging debate.
The inaugural inspire me event will see leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs visit the Foundation on Friday 18 November to discuss some of today’s most innovative internet and green technologies, developments that will change our world in the years to come. They are visiting as part of ‘The Silicon Valley Comes to UK Programme’ and we are pleased to be one of only a handful of schools in the area chosen to host such an event. We will also be welcoming a team from Morgan Stanley Investment Bank on Thursday 1 December. They are visiting us to deliver a skills session to Year 10, Year 11 and Sixth Form students to provide them with some building blocks as they consider future career paths and turn their minds to entering the professional workplace.
Whilst these two events are directed at the top of the school we fully expect that future inspire me speakers will address a broader cross-section of the student body, encouraging new perspectives, illuminating learning and fuelling future aspirations.