I wonder if you have ever spent time reflecting on your own school days and comparing them to what you see today?
I was guilty of this last weekend when I met a member of staff from another school who had a similar prep school experience in Yorkshire to myself. We recalled muddy, windy breaktime runs, playing conkers, climbing trees, building dens and the general rough and tumble of prep school life in the 1980s. She bemoaned the constraints of a modern school rife with Health and Safety audits and risk assessments. In her school these are stifling many of the simple pleasures that we enjoyed so much during our own school days.
Now, of course, here at Craigclowan we comply with all of the requirements of the Healthy and Safety Executive and risk assess all activities as you would expect. However, we don’t let this stop us from having fun...indeed, once the form is filled in we we get on and swing in trees, get muddy knees, build dens, slide down the bank, play conkers and generally have fun. And why do we do this? Because it’s fun but also, crucially, because it teaches our children to manage risks effectively. It’s precisely because they might bump themselves one day that they learn, grow and become better at spotting risks and developing strategies to avoid them.
So, in our world here at Craigclowan, less has changed than you might expect...thankfully the heating is better than in my school days, the double glazing keeps the worst of the winter chills out and we are no longer forced to drink a third of a pint of semi frozen milk at lunchtime. However, we most certainly do find plenty of time to take small risks and enjoy some proper ‘old fashioned fun’!
John F Gilmour