As a first post for this new Myddelton College blog, I thought I’d go through the process that led to the College motto.
More Than Just An Education
More than Just an Education is a bold statement, but should be at the heart of any school, in my opinion. Yes, we plan to educate the students who come to Denbigh, and educate them well, but school (& in particular, a boarding school) should be much, much more than that.
And starting from scratch, being able to stand back and take a look at what we want Myddelton College to stand for, is a real opportunity to make sure we do live up to our motto.
We are starting from a great base, too; the 37 Acres and listed buildings in the heart of Denbigh, with views out over the Welsh countryside, are both inspirational and relaxing at the same time. The atmosphere of the buildings is steeped in tradition, with over 150 years of education having occurred in the place. Myddelton College really does provide a unique location for a young person’s education.
So we have a great location and amazing buildings. We will be recruiting top quality staff, people who are passionate about making a difference and who are determined to provide a first class education. Starting from scratch, we have the benefit of building a system based on the best research and most current thinking around what makes for excellent education. And this is one of our biggest strengths.
Life is such a precious thing and young people are not young for long – it is our imperative to ensure they get the best possible preparation for their future and planning Myddelton’s provision without any pre-conceptions or existing systems allows us to provide this. In the modern world, it is important that young people gain qualifications – no-one would challenge this. But this is no longer sufficient. Although I’m going to sound like an old man saying this, but … when I left school, only 8% of my peers went to University, whereas now almost half of all school leavers attend Higher Education! So we do need to ensure that our students are achieving the very best they can, and obtaining the best qualifications they can.
When a good set of qualifications used to guarantee a good job / career, this is, however, no longer the case. Study after study and report after report shows that the major international companies are struggling to recruit high calibre staff, despite there being so many highly qualified individuals.
And this is where our motto comes in.
At Myddelton, we work from the basis that our young people are the masters of their own destiny & they have control over their own future. We act as guides, helping them shape their success. This is based on three discrete areas
There is no doubt that technology is now an essential aspect of society and an integral part of young people’s lives. We need to ensure that young people leave school with the necessary skills to be successful in a highly technological environment. And this does not necessarily mean being good on a computer, but developing a skills set suited to the way our work patterns are evolving. These skills can be listed as:
- Knowledge construction
- Real world problem solving and innovation
- Use of ICT for learning
- Skilled communication
With grade inflation, we will assume that every student at Myddelton College is aspiring to some form of Higher or Further Education when they leave us and in a global community, the opportunities are almost unlimited. Therefore, we will be providing a programme during which they will be exposed to experiences that help them develop a more focussed sense of their ‘self’, their identity. This will be in parallel with structured schemes designed to support the individual in making choices about their future early and then planning & implementing the elements required to achieve these goals. This involves development of the following skills:
- Behaviour modification / awareness
- A personal understanding of wellbeing / wellness and how to look after themselves
- Emotional intelligence
- Personal profiling, to identify personal strengths
All of this will help us target the best future institution for them as an individual, whether this is a UK-based, top ranking university, or a US, Ivy League College, or a university anywhere in the world – it is about finding the best fit for each individual.
Whole Person Leadership Development
And last, but by no means least, Myddelton College students are expected to participate in a wide range of activities that would not normally be considered as curricular subjects. These activities, the college extended curriculum, are designed to ensure that every individual is helped to develop all their personal attributes and celebrate the whole person, rather than merely focussing on academic achievement. The Myddelton Extended Curriculum will be formed from the following areas:
The outdoors provides opportunities for every individual to extend themselves and develop additional skills, whether these be resilience and resourcefulness, by participating in Outdoor Pursuits activities, or personal achievement, leadership and teamwork be participating in formal competition sports (whether team or solo).
With the College in the heart of one of the most beautiful parts on the country, with stunning countryside literally on the doorstep, students will have the opportunity to gain extra qualifications in a variety of areas, from the Basic Expedition Leadership Award, through to the full, internationally acknowledged British Mountaineering Club ‘Mountain Leader’ award & the climbing equivalent, Single Pitch Supervisors Award.
No man is an island, as the saying goes, and at Myddelton College, we are committed to ensuring that the students are fully aware of (& actively engage in activities that support communities, whether local, national or international. College students will be expected to take on supportive and leadership roles within the local community, whether this is helping out with the local U9 football team, supporting the uniformed organisations or assisting in a home for the elderly.
Innovation and enterprise
And finally, in a world where change and growth occurs at a rate never been seen before, the successful people around the world will be those with an enterprising spirit, able to grasp opportunities and develop initiatives, whether personal, business or social enterprise focussed. Using a wide range of skills, Myddelton College students will be expected to engage in activities that build resilience, perseverance and teamwork, through exploring innovative ideas. Whether this is growing and developing the College radio station, forming a small business, or working on charitable activities to support others who, through whatever reason, are struggling, innovation and enterprise are highly regarded personal qualities all students will develop.
All this, along with a fully immersive boarding ethos, with day students also expected to participate in house-based activities and the close support, guidance and encouragement the college staff provide, clearly give Myddelton College a ‘holistic’ experience that most certainly is
More than Just an Education