Lots of people have asked me this week how I found the Whole School Meeting. After hours of thought and dialogue during planning, the meeting went quickly and in unanticipated directions. As a learning community we know that with the collective intelligence of the group we can achieve far more than we ever could as individuals, so we had at least anticipated that something unanticipated might happen! We’d planned to discuss a key development aim of the school this year: to design a sustainable business model that reflects our values of accessibility and inclusion, attracts more families, ensures school development and meets each members of the communities needs. Parents need affordability and predictability of financial commitment, children need quality and consistency of provision and our staff members need wellbeing, security and appropriate remuneration.
The group attending the meeting urged us to think big. The feeling in the room was that the school has a clear vision, a strong identity and offers an education that is relevant and necessary in today’s changing world.
Our parents, with their breadth of experience and expertise, have offered their time and help to move the school forwards into the next exciting phase of its development. Three working groups have formed – to consider alternative fee structures, marketing and fundraising – and the groups will meet again in two weeks time. If you’d like to join us please speak to Lydia, Una, Sophia or Rachel to catch up on our conversations so far.
If I’m honest, I found that at the meeting I felt vulnerable. We’re all working at full capacity and I’m juggling strategic thinking with ensuring compliance, designing a prospectus, finding lunchboxes and chasing up slips. But I also felt heard and understood. And ultimately I left the strength of a community with a shared belief and collective vision, galvanised and determined to make a difference for our children and for our world.
While we were planning the meeting, Una shared this quote from David Whyte, which I’d like to share with you now. “Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state… In refusing our vulnerability we refuse to ask for the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.” Sarah