Following on from the recent report that Britain’s employees and businesses had reached an ambition ceiling and other reports in a similar theme all pointing to Lock Down Britain I was truly inspired this week when I attended my nephew’s speech day at Bexley Grammar …
Over the last 6 years I’ve seen my nephew develop into a confident and capable young man with many gifts and clearly his school has had a part to play in this development as well as his parents and an excellent gene pool!
What was great was to see that he isn’t alone. His school is nurturing the students not just to achieve great grades at GCSE, A level and the International Baccalaureate or to support their university entrance and future employment but also in their wider development.
I don’t know about you but my experience was that my senior school, whilst an amazing place to attend, was very much a university entrance incubator and if you didn’t want to go down that route – for whatever reason – there was little support. And that support was aimed at simply gaining university entrance not what would be beyond achieving that qualification which was a very narrow approach. Yet it was clear on Monday evening that whilst university entrance was an important part of the school’s support that was only part of their development.
The speaker, at the event, was Marcus Orlovsky from Bryanston Square, an organisation whose vision is to innovate, create and deliver learning environments through thought leadership who had clearly had an impact on the year 12 pupils in some recent work building on the work the school has been doing
He suggested that in that room there might be a future prime minister, someone who was going to cure aids and many other great things – because all things are possible – and invited the parents and guests to not only recognise that but celebrate it as well and support those visions. I have to confess that what really wowed me was not just that those people could be in the room, but that a thought leader was opening a door of possibilities in a way that showed the students this was a door for every person in the room.
In his response the Head Prefect built on this and encouraged his peers to “be the change they wanted to see in the world” and reminded them that if the world continues to do things in the way it always has done then it will continue to get the same results. His brief had been to include as many Harry Potter references as possible – a challenge from the outgoing Head Prefect – but actually suggesting that his fellow students should use their magic wand to weave a life they want, achieve great things and chase the golden snitch were more apt than he perhaps realised. To be the change in world they will need all of their personal magic.
He reflected on the fact that as a generation they do have their own emerging beliefs and ideas and want to see a change in the world and that may mean that they don’t always agree with their parents or their parents generation. But that can only be a good thing as I’m sure you’ll agree since otherwise they’d be doing the same thing again.
Whilst everyone recognises that business needs to change how it works – and that has to be a massive sea change – the only way that can happen is for the people in business to change and for some that will take a long while and others a moment as they have that insight. But for the generation that is coming into the world of work they are coming from a different place; they can see clearly that only through a whole new business ethos can businesses be sustainable and thrive. And if they retain that belief of being the change in the world they want to see and are not swayed from the knowledge that doing the same thing in the same way achieves the same results then business, not only in Britain but the entire world, has an opportunity to change. It reminded me of the saying if you “don’t build your dreams then someone else will hire you to build theirs”.
So whilst education is constantly being knocked in the UK I saw more than a glimmer of hope and light in that church in Welling on Monday. I heard and saw teachers who are passionate about their pupils and helping them to develop a wide range of skills and, more importantly, not setting boundaries for their development as people. And I saw and heard pupils who are rising to the challenge of making a difference and being the difference they want to see.
In a recent documentary one young person observed that we are likely to be in this state of downturn for the next 30 or 40 years and the difference their generation can make is by recognizing this and then working with it to make the most of it as well as working to change it. Maybe a combination of the two would work. Most importantly as a generation they are demonstrating they have hope, belief and courage. All three will make a massive difference to UK PLC and to a sustainable world.
If you’d like to find out more about my thoughts on this, then why not call me on +44 (0) 1296 681 094, click here to ping me an email or even leave a comment below.
Until next time …