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Welcome Back


A very warm welcome back – it is just lovely to see you all. An extra-special welcome to Year 7 who are starting senior school today and those of you in other year groups new to KC.   I hope you all had a really wonderful summer. I had a fantastic time in Mallorca and then in Edinburgh with family.

I always feel that the start of a new academic year has even more promise and excitement than a new calendar year. For a start, we come back with so many new things; uniform, books, pencil case and we are all in a different ‘place’ – you have all ‘gone up’ a year and for your teachers, we have new groups and we too enjoy the newness of coming back to school in September.   However, the summer is an extremely busy time for our estates team and office staff who work really hard to get the school ready for us all in September. This summer has been no exception and a lot of work has gone on around the school which I thought you might like to see.


Re-surfacing of the main drive


Refurbishment of the Heritage Room


Refurbishment of the Theatre's external wooden cladding


Painting throughout Tilley (Sixth Form) Day House

Painting throughout the Music Department


New bathrooms in Hawkwell and Hargreaves Boarding House


Installation of new Prep play equipment


Installation of new Prep play equipment


Installation of new Prep play equipment


There are, however, some potential pitfalls around a long summer break and one of those is that we can forget where we left off at the end of the last school year and the things that we need to focus on so that we can improve on where we got to at the end of the summer. But, one thing a break and a fresh start gives us is a different perspective and an opportunity to look at things in a different way, which does require us to think flexibly and be prepared to look at things differently. I think that this story about the artist Picasso is a good example of looking at things with a fresh approach. Picasso was a on a train from Nice to Paris and a wealth American art collector was also in his carriage. The story goes like this…

The American thought he recognised the artist. “Hey, aren’t you Mr Pablo Picasso?”

“Si,” said Picasso.

“Listen”, said the collector, “Why don’t you paint people as they really are?”

“Que?” said Picasso.

“Why don’t you paint people as they really are? I mean, if I look at one of your paintings it just ain’t real. You got \n eye in the middle of the forehead, a nose where an ear should be. It’s just ridiculous. It’s all wrong. It’s not real and it’s not art!”

“I don’t know what you mean,” said the artist.

“Art should reflect life. Hold a mirror up to nature and all that. You gotta paint people as they really are”.

“I still don’t understand,” said Picasso.

“OK wise guy, I’ll show you what I mean.” The American took his wallet from his jacket, opened it, and took out a photograph.

“Look,” said the American. “This is my wife, that’s how she really is.”

“Oh now I understand,” Picasso said in a serious manner, “Your wife is extremely thin and about 10 centimetres tall.”

How then do we take a ‘Picasso’ view of the world around us?

On Speech day, I talked about how here at Kent College, we believe that no girl should set limits on what you can achieve and we want you to recognise that intelligence is not fixed but can grow and that ability can be developed as opposed to being “fixed”. Also, success comes to those who make the greatest effort and are prepared to regard mistakes not as failure but as an opportunity to learn. In other words, we are looking at us all developing a Growth Mindset and that is going to be our focus this year. To develop a Growth Mindset you need grit and determination. To help us think about what it means to have GRIT, we have formulated this GRIT acronym:

Being Generous with your time and talents to support each other, your community and the wider world.

Becoming Resilient. Don’t be afraid of picking the challenging option both in the classroom and when working at home. Also seeing mistakes as opportunities to learn from rather than as a reason to give up.

Being Independent whereby you actively seek out learning opportunities. And perhaps crucially, and particularly challenging in this digital age, that you develop a more robust affection for reading that good old artefact – the physical book.

And finally, being Tenacious that is the understanding that effort is a path to success and that persistence is crucial, as is long-term planning, followed by a step by step journey to the intended goal.

’Respice finem’ our school motto translates as keeping the end in sight and with new academic year stretching out ahead of us, I hope that you have an enjoyable and fulfilling year at Kent College.

We will finish with a Native American prayer:

Our Father the Sky, hear us and make us bold.

Our Mother the Earth, hear us and give us support.

O spirit of the East, send us your Wisdom.

O sprit of the South, may we walk your path of life.

O spirit of the West, may we always be ready for the long journey.

O spirit of the North, purify us with your cleansing winds.

Posted: 12/09/2017 at 12:23
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