Cambridge Edition February 2019


W hen it comes to open – the weirder and more wonderful, the better. Others use music as the medium, employing orchestras or jazz bands to say it in perfect harmony, or opt for displays of gymnastics, dancing, acting or sport. Some schools have gone a different route, toning down the all-singing, all-dancing approach in favour of offering prospective parents an authentic slice of school life, with visits that take place on ordinary school days. Whether conveyed through synchronised swimming or an everyday maths lesson, the message is the same: the school is demonstrating it knows what it’s doing. You can rest assured that if your child goes there, they’ll be in safe hands. Helen Hynd, director of pastoral care at The Leys, says it’s always worth asking who is going to be interested in your child, particularly if they’re somewhere in the middle of the ability range. “As a parent, I don’t want to know if they’ve got a library session, I want to know if somebody’s going to say, ‘What have you read this week?’ or ‘Have you signed up for clubs this week?’. It’s that person who’s going to be taking a personal interest and touching base on a weekly basis.” However multidimensional our lives today, our children’s education has remained – perhaps surprisingly – remarkably unchanged over the years. Then, as now, we want to be sure that exams will be passed and sports, arts and activities are well catered for. At any school event these days, it’s a rare head teacher who won’t acknowledge the impact of technology. Changes are whistling through many industries at an almost unimaginable speed and educators are charged with preparing pupils for a life they can only guess at. “I like the phrase ‘preparing children for an interesting future’, because that’s what it’s going to be,” says Peter Woodroffe, deputy chief executive officer at the Independent Schools Association. He says that schools have a vital role to play in preparing pupils to become, among other things, “resilient, adaptable, resourceful and able to communicate and collaborate”. This is necessary, given that human operators – even highly trained ones – may be traded for AI that is capable of doing just one job supremely well, such as achieving a high level of accuracy in, say, detecting cell anomalies in scans or trawling thousands of legal cases to support an appeal. If mere flesh and blood can’t hope to match AI, parents may even start to wonder how much point there is in suggesting careers in (previously) rock solid professions, such as medicine or law. days, some schools say it with an art display, others with science experiments


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