Everyone in our Trust update: Self-Help

16 March 2023 |

We believe that EVERY child is GIFTED and TALENTED and through modelling, demonstrating and expecting habits of excellence, all learners will have the knowledge, skills and understanding as well as resilience, aspirations and compassion to CHART THEIR OWN DESTINY.

The cooperative value of self-help is such an important aspect of the work we do and why we do it. As we nurture, guide and advise our young people on their journey through life, being able to become independent and confident in themselves is crucial. Veronica Lloyd-Richards led a superb assembly for Year 11s at Okehampton College this week where she described our lives like empty books. Each blank page is a new chapter in the story of who a young person is, and who they are becoming. For young children we help to write that page for them, providing scaffold and structure to succeed. As they travel through our schools and through life itself, self-help is what gives them the skills and the ability to begin to write their own story; to take charge of the blank page.​​​​​​​

Self-help does not mean that any of us do it alone. Our values of solidarity and equity ensure that we are all held through connection and community as part of a culture of care. It does mean that we allow children to master the knowledge, skills and experiences that will give them confidence to be their best selves and to do their best work. This allows our young people to use their own efforts and resources to achieve, without relying on others whilst still being able to rely upon others.

It is fundamental to who we are as a Trust that we truly believe that every child is gifted and talented; our role as educators is to reveal them to allow them to flourish. One of my first school responsibilities many years ago was a the “Gifted and Talented” coordinator which meant producing endless lists of pupil lists with an expectation that we would track them because of what the past had told them about it. I can honestly admit that the role added very little to those young people and nor did it recognise the fundamental truth of potential in every young person we serve; a truth that I know is cherished and believed in by us all in our Trust.

Self-help is grounded within potential and independence, framed within the inter-dependence of connection, relationship and community. There are always times when we need to ‘do for’ our young people, to get to the point where we can ‘do with.’ Cultivating a culture and expectation of self-help is the greatest liberation we can give to children since its spirit is the root of all growth for an individual and therefore for the collective health and well-being of society.