It is always a relief when you arrive home safe and sound from a trip nd our return from America on Friday morning was no exception.
The responsibility of such a trip is sometimes overwhelming, but when you reflect and look back upon what has been gained, you quickly realise that it is all worth it!
We had an action packed week learning all about the American education and university system; it certainly opened up our eyes and broadened our students’ horizons! The overriding message was the emphasis on the need to have a ‘thirst’ for learning and a breadth of knowledge through the’ liberal arts’ – everything from history, literature, philosophy, music, global studies, science, mathematics, languages, politics and management to name but a few! ‘The liberal arts (Latin: artes liberales) are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a person to know in order to take an active part in civic life, something that (for Ancient Greece) included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service’. Our girls have returned back to school, not only impressed and inspired to apply to the one or more of the Ivy League universities, but with the understanding that it is important to extend our outlook and knowledge of everything around us in order to get the most out of the world we live in; this includes the people we live and work with. This supported a viewpoint that I have always had – one whereby we aim to encourage all our students to be ‘interesting’ and ‘interested’ people. To be able to hold a conversation about music, art, politics or literature will undoubtedly help to make us ‘interesting’ but to also have a mind that constantly asks questions and challenges our thoughts on topics such as philosophy and science, I hope, would support the fact that we are ‘interested.’ Our education system tends to ‘pigeon hole’ students into specialising their learning by studying only 4 subjects at A Level. I know that we cannot change this, and indeed, would not want to, but what we must do is encourage our students to develop the passion for lifelong learning; to constantly ask questions and extend our understanding of the world we live in. Students who are curious and inquisitive will definitely develop a broader knowledge base and as such, be more interesting to talk to. We strive to provide a curriculum that is thought provoking, motivating and stimulating. Our visit to America has not only confirmed that we are doing the right thing at Invicta but it has supported our change of curriculum for the next academic year, whereby our students will be given the opportunity to further develop their interests and talents through our Personal Opportunities Programme which will be launched this week. I shall look forward to our students becoming more ‘interesting’ and ‘interested.’ However, we will also not be complacent and shall now review aspects of our curriculum to see how the ‘liberal arts’ can be further developed. In the meantime, I look forward to supporting our students’ applications to study in America!