Pocklington School

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Headmaster's Blog: Innovating Education

portrait image of Toby Seth, Headmaster Pocklington School

In 1990 Nelson Mandela proclaimed “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. He was, and remains, right. But what has changed in schools over 31 years? What does this powerful “weapon” look like in 2021? What have we done, at Pocklington School, to optimise our approach to education?

Schools are no longer judged merely on results; should they ever have been? What constitutes a “result” anyway? Schooling is about education in its broadest sense, about character building, about skill and talent nurturing. Schooling is about socialization, the development of thinking and the building of compassion, curiosity and commitment. What does this mean at Pocklington?

It means we’ve redesigned our timetable to facilitate the best learning opportunities for pupils. It means our lessons are of a length that allows independence, debate and reflection. It means pupils who engage in clubs ranging from Archery to Yoga, Classical Greek to Cookery. With a fixture list against the best of the best and pupils as pleased to participate as they are to win, we cater for all sporting needs – elite, enthusiastic, or both. 

It means we’ve remodeled boarding so pupils benefit from the myriad talents of our teachers, whilst accessing the amazing environment on our doorstep. Gone are the days of restrictive boarding regimes – we welcome pupils on a flexible basis, in the knowledge that demands on families require an approach founded on convenience. And this doesn’t stop at the boarding house – wrap-around care is on offer for all.

Infographic of Pocklington School Values and Virtues

As debate swirls around the relevance and use of examinations, we’ve curated a curriculum that maximises potential and develops the skills needed to succeed. This means sports leader qualifications, our new ‘Curiosity Project’ for our youngest learners, dissertation-style tasks for 14 year-olds, a scholarship programme that stretches the best and a suite of opportunities at Sixth Form that is the envy of many. At the heart of all this are our Values and Virtues. These underpin all we do at Pocklington and reflect the character of the pupils we challenge and support.

This attention to individual student needs is reflected in our world-class Wellbeing Service. With Clinical Psychologists and Mental Health First Aiders on call 24/7, along with a House and tutor system, we offer outstanding pastoral support to all in our community. This is our bedrock; our meat and drink - and should be the starting point for all successful education.

Future closures? We’ve got those doubly covered. Our new Bring Your Own Device scheme is, just like our attitude to education, founded on a tailored approach. In a world where personalisation is key, we ask all pupils to bring in their own technology that suits them. A laptop or tablet, for sure, but what type? What size? Brand? Up to you. It’s what you and your teachers do with it, not the logo, that counts. We are also proud of our online learning – so much so that we’re in collaboration with overseas organisations to train their teachers.

We’re spreading the word – innovation is in @Pocklington. Come and visit us to find out more.