Change

Age has, alas, withered me a little, and my 8-year old daughter’s eyesight vastly outshines mine. The other day, she pointed out a tiny detail below the Queen’s head on a pound coin: there, writ very small indeed, are two letters, ‘JC’. It turns out that these are the initials of artist Jody Clark, whose bas-relief portrait of the Queen has featured on the obverse of all British coins since 2015. As such, this piece of design has been reproduced well over five billion times, and has passed through all of our hands on countless occasions. I will concede that,

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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times…

After a year unlike any other, on Thursday morning we ran our annual A level results day which, similarly, was unlike anything that has preceded it. The results spreadsheet was impressive, with the superb grades we expect from our students, but, as is the case for most schools, the excitement and desire to proclaim it from the rooftops has been tempered by the sobering context. Social distancing has made results day a relatively quiet affair, but none-the-less upbeat and celebratory. I am delighted for our students, and proud of what they have achieved: at AKS, nearly 55% of the A

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Eudaimonia

In troubling times, felt even when living on the incredible Fylde coast, it is inevitable that people find themselves thinking about where and when we may find respite, and what we are going to do about it all. Certainly, in education, there has never been more of a sense of mission in this area: how do we prepare our young people not only with the knowledge and skills they need, but also with the capacity to thrive in the face of uncertainty and challenge? None of this is new, of course. Aristotle wrote of phronesis, or practical wisdom; how it

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‘20s

I find myself sitting down to write a few days after the General Election. This isn’t a political essay – I feel that our role as educators is to equip people to make independent, informed decisions rather than to tell them what those decisions ought to be. Yet, the occasion, coinciding unusually with the end of the year, does make it an unprecedented time for reflection and projection. Back in the 1920s, Fritz Lang released his seminal dystopian science fiction film Metropolis. A reflection on the political situation in Weimar Germany, and a speculation on the world of the future,

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Leadership: oracy or empathy?

Earlier this month, I attended the annual HMC conference. This group, of which AKS is a member, comprises the UK’s leading 250 or so independent schools, plus a number of British schools across the world. Inevitably, the political and economic issues impacting the independent sector – from the threat of outright abolition, or the imposition of VAT on school fees, as well as Brexit and broader volatility across the world – formed a major theme. Alongside that, the nature of leadership and how we prepare our young people to engage with the uncertainties facing us all were key areas of

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A New Year

Wikipedia lists well over forty different ‘new year’ celebrations as they occur in different cultures across the world, from the Gregorian calendar incarnation on 1st January, through the Iranian new year that starts with the vernal equinox, the Coptic new year Neyrouz, which coincides with the ancient Egyptian date of 1 Thoth (sometime in late August), to the Pawl Kut straw harvest festival on 1st December. Some dates are fixed and some vary; in any event, they are scattered liberally across 2019. For those in the world of education, however, the start of September is immutably when the calendar rolls

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