Because of the lack of ready comparisons, we face the practical issue of monitoring how John Colet is delivering the academic, cultural and spiritual curriculum to the children. We are not in any system of comparable schools so it is a bit hard to check ourselves against any benchmark.
So feedback from parents whose children have joined us from other schools is very helpful, and it is heartwarmingly positive. Especially when the Shakespeare Festival is on, I speak to parents who are amazed at the level of performance which the children deliver; and this regularly leads into a conversation about the miraculous change that has come over their children since joining us.
This year’s Primary Shakespeare Festival is no exception. The Infants performances set an extremely high bar. The Primary plays have been wonderful. Together all the plays have been a massive credit to the teachers, parents and, of course, the children. While the weeks leading up to the performances are sometimes always fraught, the children never fail to rise to the high demands we place on them.
It may not be politic for me to say this (because I love every performance from every child); but I can t help feeling a swelling of emotion when I see a shy or awkward child who has struggled in past years, stride out confidently and begin to own the stage. As well as immersing the children in the greatness of Shakespeare’s works, it is this the building of inner strength and character which makes the commitment to Shakespeare worthwhile.