The power of an assembly
Assemblies matter. They are an opportunity to get across a clear message to big groups of pupils and we need to take them seriously if we want to embed a culture which reflects our values. Each of the academies makes a big deal of assemblies and we see some very special events. The EATZ assemblies at Rushcliffe set the standard. The concept of entering in silence, being welcomed by a senior leader, being addressed by a member of staff and then leaving in silence was a new one in 2010. Now it's normal.
The pupils have , over the years, listened to a wide range of "Thoughts for the Week" ranging from talks about leaders, inventions, charities, families, religions, wars, the alumini...... Hopefully most pupils take something from the assemblies. Even though they might not find it easy to admit at the time. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Summers talking about poetry earlier this term. I felt as if I was back at the Hay Festival.
At Farnborough the assemblies follow a similar pattern. They are a chance to sit quietly and reflect. Pupils don't speak in assemblies. They sit quietly and listen. Mrs. Hallam recently spoke about the importance of the community and how the academy needs to present itself positively to those who live in the area. Really interesting - and important. Farnborough pupils acquire information that enhances their lives from adults who have really thought through what they want to say.
This morning I attended an assembly led by Mr. Egan at Arnold Hill. It included some thoughts about how people use self help books to overcome barriers which prevent them from fulfilling their potential. He particularly discussed the effect of fear and our reluctance to challenge it. This led to Charlie from Year 13 talking about how she had overcome anxiety about performing on stage. And then she sang - quite superbly - "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from "Grease". It was a lovely experience for everyone involved. The power of the assembly.
And if you want to see a great show please get a ticket for "Grease" at Arnold Hill next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.