Unicorn School’s many virtues
Monday morning was a special day in the Unicorn Calendar as we celebrated Harvest Festival; the children did a fantastic job of decorating boxes filled with food and toiletries for our charity, West London Action for Children. It is also a time when many parents give up their time to help distribute food in the local area, so thank you to all involved.
We were delighted to welcome Old Unicorn, Rudi, to school as she played her flute so magically to the assembled children. She has no doubt inspired many of them to want to play the flute, or another instrument, to such a wonderful standard. Many congratulations to another Old Unicorn, Lottie, who was crowned British ‘Stand-Up Paddle Board’ Junior Champion last weekend – what a fantastic achievement from her.
At Unicorn we regularly celebrate specific ‘virtues’ that fit in with the Unicorn ethos. From time to time we revisit these virtues and then relaunch them with a different approach, but still maintaining the aim which is to inspire and promote character traits to support our children becoming independent, responsible, self-aware and confident young people. As I talk to children, including the school council, about the best way to promote these going forward, we have reduced the number of specific virtues from 14 to 10. This does not narrow down the purpose of our approach but simply enables us to rejuvenate the idea with a slightly altered focus. It will be no surprise to hear that my personal belief is that the greatest of all these is “kindness” and every day we continue to build and maintain a ‘kind’ school.
This week we invited Governors to spend some time in the school during the day, so, whether a parent or non-parent governor, they can see the school in action and meet pupils and staff. Our governing body play a vital role in the success of Unicorn, recognising the distinctive ethos of this parent-founded school. They help me and my staff with key strategic decisions for the short, medium and long-term benefit of the school.
IAPS Heads’ conference
At the end of September, I spent two days at the IAPS Heads’ Conference and, as always, listening to speakers and talking with fellow Heads is inspiring. I left with the feeling that what we are doing at Unicorn continues to be of such high quality and also excited about the opportunities to improve the school further over the terms ahead. There was the inevitable reference to Brexit, this time by the Rt Hon David Davis MP, but also inspiring talks covering a range of issues from mental health, artificial intelligence and from Colonel Tim Collins OBE, whose speech to his troops in Iraq, March 2003, on the eve of battle is so infamous, a copy now hangs in the Oval Office of the White House. The reason for attending these conferences and for all our staff to improve their professional development by going on courses, is to ensure we have the latest information and continued experiences, to do the very best for children while they are at Unicorn.