This week our Head Scholar, Alistair Green, tells the School that being academic does not have to be confined to the classroom.
“Being academic doesn’t mean getting full marks on every test and handing in stacks of extra work. Whilst this obviously won’t hurt your results, and I would clearly not discourage it, there is more to being academic than marks. Reading a book on a topic that interests you is such a simple thing, and yet so few people do it. I am not suggesting you pick up a text book and learn it cover to cover, but that you read a book for LitSoc, or just because you want to. And it is not only lovers of English that the library caters for, if you prefer science, there are hundreds of popular science books available, and even the maths department has its own book club.
The School has worked hard on providing enriching activities for all pupils. Some of you may even be part of an “academic” club without realising it. Model United Nations (MUN) for example is a hugely rewarding experience for pupils, and members rave about how MUN is fun, but behind that, it helps improve skills critical for school work. Inter-House debating is very well supported and it was great to see the number of people at the staff versus sixth form debate, even if half only turned up to see Dr Allday argue against the use of the already infamous Lightspeed filter system.
The language department put on a very successful European Language Day, with people from all year groups descending on the language corridor at stand easy to be served at the continental café. Staff are working tirelessly to put on events across the School, from pyrotechnic or dissection club over to RS symposium and psychology film club, there are clubs that cater to every interest. However, it is a waste of time for staff to organise these activities if nobody turns up, and so I would like to challenge all of you to participate in at least one event that interests you. At the very least, read a newspaper, listen or watch the news and keep track of current affairs – it is easy to forget that there is a world outside of RHS that everyone, even those in Year 7, will be thrown into all too soon.
Last week the Heads of School went to particular care not to press the point of seizing every opportunity, but I am going to brave the cliché. RHS provides the tools to help you succeed, but it is up to you to use them. Just ask anyone in the Upper Sixth and they will tell you how important it is to develop a strong work ethic early on. It is obviously never too late to start developing study skills, it is a lot easier to start early, and find what works for you.”