2 April 2018 Although snow at the beginning of March disrupted the school day everywhere looked spectacular! Being confident in your own skin A big debate in education at the moment is whether or not you can teach resilience. Is it something that can be cracked in lessons – like calculus or Shakespeare – or is it something innate? Is it transferable - someone might be very resilient on the sports field or when learning Bach, but crumble when faced with a tricky chemistry conundrum or a fiendish piece of French? Pastorally, how do we support pupils so that they have the inner drive to face the problems that life will throw at them? At Abingdon we recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all panacea to life’s vagaries - there isn’t a simple answer to any of the questions above. Life isn’t black and white, but (thank goodness) is instead a myriad of different colours, pink included – but sometimes the colours clash. Resilience is a word that can mean lots of different things, but whatever the context, at Abingdon we feel strongly that the key element to long term fulfilment is being confident within your own skin. Getting the pupils to know themselves is the aim of all we do – pastorally, in the classroom, and through the Other Half. We want the boys to gain confidence from what they do well, but equally we want to teach them to be self-reflective and not to shy away from the areas that they find tricky. Often it is having confidence to admit to the areas that one finds hard that enables you to face difficulties as a challenge, rather than as something to be feared. We aim to manage this in lots of ways – the Other Half, small tutor groups, a staff to pupil ratio of 1:9, making sure all staff are involved in pastoral care, curriculum PSHCE lessons, the House system, and through lots of peer support and peer leadership. Most importantly, we encourage pupils to be individuals and to enjoy and celebrate differences, rather than aiming for an identikit Abingdonian. Mark Hindley, Deputy Head (Pastoral) Abingdon News