I am delighted to announce that from September 2021 I have been appointed Head of Inquiry-based Learning at Blanchelande College, which is a fully co-educational independent school for boys and girls aged 4-18, in Guernsey.
I will be based in the newly built Senior Library, and am particularly excited to be responsible for the full implementation of FOSIL across all key stages of the school as this will provide us with an amazing opportunity to develop FOSIL in a PK-5 (Primary) setting, but as a foundational layer in a PK-12 (Primary and Secondary) continuum of inquiry learning skills. While it will take time for this work to fully bear its fruit, FOSIL is the outworking of a long obedience in the same direction, and inquiry a longer obedience still.
While we are looking forward to the next stage in the ongoing development of FOSIL, we also look back on 13 extraordinary years in the Smallbone Library, itself the extraordinary manifestation of an extraordinarily ambitious “vision for a Library at the heart of the school, somewhere to cultivate good and regular studying and working habits where a spirit of enquiry, that would last a lifetime, would be developed quietly and unobtrusively – the stuff of education”.
These words were penned by Graham Smallbone in 2009 for our celebration of 15 years of the realisation of this vision.
For our celebration of 25 years in 2019, I penned the following words:
Harold Howe, U.S. commissioner of education during the Johnson administration and senior lecturer emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, observed that what a school thinks of its library is a measure of what it feels about education.
In his introduction to the School’s Prospectus of 1985, [newly appointed Headmaster] Graham Smallbone wrote that “the development of a spirit of enquiry is fundamental to education”.
“Inquiry,” as the Galileo Educational Network so powerfully puts it, “is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world, and as such, it is a stance that pervades all aspects of life and is essential to the way in which knowledge is created”.
It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that a library, as the embodiment of this process and stance, would emerge, as envisioned, at the heart of the School.
This is, of course, not the only way to feel towards education, which is why the Royal Society for the Arts, in its call for an education for enlightenment, reminds us that this means “inducting our children into the great conversation of mankind – the unending dialogue between the living, the dead and the yet-to-be-born; that this means introducing them to the best that has been thought, said and done, and equipping them to appreciate it, interrogate it, apply it and build on it”.
And this is what we are celebrating tonight.
It is, therefore, with a profound sense of gratitude, and also some sadness, that we look forward to continuing our long obedience in the same direction at Blanchelande College.