Last updated: April 2018
In a way, the years our students spend with us are the base of the educational pyramid. An important part of our role is to provide Year 7 and 8 students with a broad range of educational experiences and curriculum choices so they can make the best decisions when it comes time to specialise in later years. This is what we mean when we talk about providing a genuinely ‘holistic’ educational experience.
In addition to the academic programme, we offer as many opportunities as possible—from sport and music to chess club and coding, just to name a few—so there are a range of areas where boys can explore an interest and hence develop a strong connection to the School. This is important so that they have something they truly look forward to, and want to come to school each day.
I’m known for the statement: ‘make friends, make friends, make friends’. This is another area where we’ve set up structures through Houses, tutor groups, sporting groups and elsewhere where students can develop and expand their friendship groups. If boys can make friends in the early part of Year 7, this means they’ll have people around them who they can share positive experiences with, and who can support them when there are challenging times.
We know young adolescents will have highs and lows as they go through emotional and physical changes. By providing the right environment, the right support and emphasising that failure and experimentation is part of success, we’re encouraging them to set their own personal best all the time.
Of course, it’s also crucial that our students are supported by an excellent team of teachers who will encourage them to give their best as they find their way forward. One of the things I enjoy most about my role is getting the right team of teachers together and giving them as many opportunities as possible to lead, to try new things and to progress in their careers.
Greg Caldwell has been Head of Wadhurst since 2007 following roles as Head of Sandringham House (the coeducational Junior School of Firbank Grammar) and Head of Middle School at Brighton Grammar School. He holds a Master of Education from the University of Melbourne, specialising in the transition of students from primary to secondary education.