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A day of activities, talks and Awards at John O’Gaunt School.

A quick tour of the school with the Headteacher was very, very insightful – the challenges the school has handled and is handling, their ethos and vision. Very impressive……


Our Values are to be:

  • Passionate about learning
  • Proud of our achievements
  • Ambitious for our students
  • Supportive of our differences
  • Caring for ourselves and each other
  • Determined to be the best we can be

First off was getting involved in the house rowing competition – the school had specifically hired in half a dozen rowing machines to support the rowing themed visit of Atlantic Experience – what an honour!

Each house was going to have a day to get as many house members involved and row as far as they can to with a winner to be announced at the end of the week. It was fantastic to see how the students got so engaged, all age groups and other houses supporting the ones on the rowers.

concept-ii-model-d-rowerThe school would desperately like to get three ergos for their own – any help from the rowing community would be massive.

Typical of this sort of thing – there were some stand out candidates for getting in a boat – largely due to the length of their limbs and not least their enthusiasm and commitment. I think there is a lot to be said for other activities helping young people discover that pivotal moment that can change their course and apply themselves more to their school careers.

The school are very aware of this and it ranges from birds to outdoor classroom, activity areas and now, potentially, rowing machines. I was tempted onto one as well – not publishing my score but chalked up a breathless few metres.

The next session was a keynote talk to students who were selected as high performers and looking at ways to keep motivation and keep going at a task. Some great insights from the kids and not least very nice for us to get great feedback on the talk – and even be asked for some autographs!!

The Headboy and Headgirl sat in on the session and immediately identified that it would be great to run a similar thing with kids at the other end of the performance spectrum – the theme of there being only ordinary people in the world, and it is ordinary people that do extraordinary things really struck home.

Last on the agenda was the evening Awards Ceremony with an opening speech from the Headteacher about the value of education today being so powerful for their future lives – a real insight too from a teacher who talked about how influential teachers can be on young people. Here she was, turning a school round, leading from the front – yet still haunted by being rubbish at maths….as her teacher told her she was at school. Words have such power.


‘Writ’ large on the side of the boat that won last year’s Atlantic pairs event…’s a choice

In the Awards speech I talked about attitude, how we have a choice; using the boat analogy, we can get caught up in worrying so much about how our boat is not as good as someone else’s that we forget that it is the crew that makes the boat go faster, not the boat itself.

Equally, if everyone does just a little bit – parents, staff, students, support staff – just what can all those people pulling together achieve?

At the end of the day, my belief is that what makes a champion is what is in their heart – not just the medal round their neck or the award in their hand – and John O’Gaunt school has plenty of heart.

Good work.

Nice to get a name check on Twitter that evening from the Head teacher too…..

Thanks @ianrowe65 for an inspiring day at JOG; choose your attitude, be part of the team, all gold medalists. Brilliant stuff.



Ian's Blog, Insights
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