‘Strategy makes a better woodcutter than strength. Strategy keeps a pilot’s ship on course when crosswinds blow it over the wine-blue sea. Strategy wins races for charioteers…..a man who knows how to win with lesser horses keeps his eye on the post and cuts the turn close, from the start keeping tension on the reins with a firm hand.’ Homer, The Illiad
What stunning words from Homer, written in the ninth century BC. The focus on strategy is quite interesting as it is a Greek work in origin, strategos, meaning literally the ‘leader of the army or leadership.’ Strategy is so important in organisations as it informs our future direction as we seek to achieve our aims.
Having finished my first term at Berwick Grammar School, the question I have been asked the most since has been ‘so what are you going to do now?’ This is an interesting question and one that is easily countered by the response ‘so what do you think I should do?’ One of the key elements of educational leadership is the development of a plan, a vision or a strategy. This is a series of arrows pointed at a target which establishes our direction for the future. This article provides a little snippet of the direction you may see the school head in the short term.
Berwick Grammar School is proudly a boys’ school, which offers a unique educational offering for boys. We teach boys and appreciate that at certain times boys learn differently than girls. As a boys’ school, within the framework of a larger organisation, we are uniquely blessed. As part of a one school ethos, our teaching and learning programs are tailored for the needs of boys yet we have an incredible capacity to engage with and utilise the resources of St Margaret’s School.
From here our strategy is simple. To be the very best version of a boys’ school that we can be. This is our arrow and my vision.
We will become deliberately more globally focused in our approach to boys’ education in the coming months. This is due to the importance of Global citizenship in our Global century but also to draw upon the resources of peak educational bodies and think-tanks. Our membership and engagement with the International Boys School Coalition (IBSC) sees us linked to the research and resources of the great boys’ schools of the world – Eton and Harrow in the United Kingdom, The Doon School in India, Montgomery Bell Academy and St Alban’s in North America and Michaelhouse in South Africa, to name a few. We are engaging with the best boys’ schools in Australia to benchmark and audit our programs and organisational structures. Our staff are leading these initiatives and engaging with the duality of why we exist as a boys’ school and how we achieve excellence in all that we undertake.
These are exciting times for us as we build a school with the goal of growing good men. I look forward to sharing this journey with you in both words and print in the years ahead.
Dr Steven Middleton
Head of Berwick Grammar School