Why a school?
Schools occupy a position, between family and society, that is unique. Only schools can socialise a young person to prepare them to function as an independent, contributing and flourishing member of a democratic community.
This unique position creates significant responsibilities, challenges and opportunities for educators. We must bridge that gap between family and society, and transport a child into adulthood. On this journey there are many confusing and challenging stages that the young person encounters, and the educator must be with them at every stage, supporting them with kindness and firmness.
For many educators, the experiences they have on this journey are among the most fulfilling of their lives. When people ask, ‘What does a teacher make?’ the answer is, ‘Adults’.
In any school, one has a feel for what the school community focuses upon. This can be the school’s league table placing for exam results, places at top universities, the school’s prestige, a comfortable life for the staff, or profitability for the owners.
Copperfield’s focus is community itself: the creation of strong links between students, staff, parents and the broader community within which the school rests. This is because our understanding is that schools occupy a unique position in any community, with a responsibility to support children to become adults. A school must serve its community, and its students.
Only through service can leadership arise, and all other educational goals flow from and depend upon the school’s leadership position. This is a huge challenge and requires transparency, humility and patience. And it requires the school to role-model self-acceptance: recognising that we are all imperfect, all doing our best to be happy, and all aiming to improve a little more each day.