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Mr Marston's Thought for the Term - Modern Masculinity

Posted on: 02/11/2018

As a school we have been talking for a while about the idea of Modern Masculinity. It is perhaps useful to unpack this and consider what its elements are.

St Birinus in Years 7 to 11 is about boys. Teenage boys are fantastic – energetic and talented, vibrant and witty and passionate and committed. We are proud of our boys, not just for their many achievements but also for how they live our values of “Inspiring Excellence through Care, Courtesy and Commitment”.

We love the fact that they like sport, Science, Maths and Computing – perhaps what are sometimes seen as the stereotypical interests of the boys of this age group – but also that they love to act and dance, to write and to sing and to be comfortable being themselves and developing their own identity within our enriching school environment.

We know that our boys are tolerant – kind to each other, understanding of difference, empathetic and sympathetic. One of our significant recent campaigns has been against homophobia and the ways in which the boys have been determined to eliminate such prejudice has been hugely impressive.

Our boys believe that they can make a difference. We listened carefully to their views as part of the “Choices for Change” consultation led by the School Council and the ongoing refurbishment of the student toilets is the product of this. In recent weeks we have been focusing on the “SBS War on Plastic”. We now no longer sell plastic bottles of water in school and almost all our boys bring either sports or survival bottles to drink from which they refill during the school day.

The “SBS War on Plastic” is important because the example of plastic bottles demonstrates how one person’s actions can make a difference. As we have said to the students this week, we are not going to confiscate plastic bottles if we see them but instead leave the responsibility for their elimination in school to the individual student; if each individual acts responsibly then things change for us all.

So, Modern Masculinity cannot be defined in a pithy sentence or turn of phrase. It is multi-faceted and has many parts. However, it is about being a responsible, well-rounded, tolerant young man and we are very proud that this is what our students become.

Mr J Marston, Headteacher

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