We chat to Head of Pinewood School, Neal Bailey…
We often hear it said that children are much more adaptable than adults – how have the children impressed you in this regard over the past few months?
Playing outdoors for children is crucial for many reasons: the importance of physical exercise, having unstructured time to amuse themselves, taking risks, socialising with other children, and appreciating their surroundings. At Pinewood the children spend hours in the beautiful grounds, collaborating with their peers to promote child-initiated imagination and creativity. It is during these precious times when ideas are planned and nurtured through discussion, negotiation and dialogue. Disagreement, conflict and finding resolution strategies between the children are all part of the learning process when taking risks and working towards creating something as a team.
There are many well publicised disadvantages of living with Covid 19 in our midst, among the negatives are there any positives?
Absolutely, there are many! To name a few – morning drop-off has never been slicker and Lesson 1 always starts on time. Online parents’ meetings have led to much higher turnouts. Headmaster Assemblies in smaller bubbles has meant the theme for the week can be tailored to the age of the audience. And we have all dramatically upskilled ourselves in the world of technology.
2021 is bringing us many things – what is on your own wish list?
As a new Head this year, at the top of my wish list is the chance to experience a year that resembles normality. One of my biggest frustrations has been the inability to get to know the parent community – something that is necessary to complete the triangular relationship between the child, the school and home.
What would you like your pupils to remember about their days with you, when they are your age?
The fundamental importance of kindness. An ethos of kindness should permeate every member of the community. Under the umbrella of kindness comes everything that matters: compassion for others, the sense of charity, understanding, empathy and treating others with decency and consideration. Teaching children to be kind is not an instruction to be given, but an example to be shared and it will remain central to the culture that is so tangible at Pinewood School.
T: 01793 782205
Pinewood, Bourton, Shrivenham, Wiltshire, SN6 8HZ