Please enjoy Mr Manning's article in the January Education DirectoryPosted on: 16/01/2020
Setting foot in St Birinus School, the only all boys’ state school in Oxfordshire, I guarantee that you’ll be struck by its visceral, vibrant and welcoming feel. The culture of the school rests on developing our boys into well rounded, successful young men who epitomise masculinity in a very modern sense and who are well prepared to contribute to society and thrive personally. For me, that means setting the bar high and prizing character, good manners, self-discipline and leadership just as much as academic standards.
Simplicity, clarity and aspiration are paramount. We promote a calm, ordered and supportive environment where relationships flourish. Boundaries and expectations are clear and a relentless focus on excellent teaching and learning ensures the boys aim high in all that they do. We work hard to equip and instil in them the skills, knowledge and personal attributes required to grasp any opportunity, especially when the weekend, the social mixer, sports fixtures or a mesmerising games console naturally compete to trump a teenage boy’s ability and alacrity to focus, let alone future plan.
I am very grateful for my staff. Every adult on site is animated and passionate about working with boys. They ensure that service and leadership are understood and valued, and that teachable moments are always capitalised on, however and whenever they crop up. The touchstones and the bedrock of our community are our values - “Care, Courtesy and Commitment” - real and tangible values that are woven into our DNA and which promote responsible and open-minded 21st century citizenship.
Unhelpful laddish stereotypes are quashed every day by St Birinus boys’ unprompted and overwhelming politeness, thoughtful and reflective attitudes and their burgeoning prominence in the Arts. Aside the traditional bastions of male interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, increasingly, boys of all age groups are shining in concerts, drama productions and a recent sell-out dance show.
The by-product of our integrity, ambition and relentless graft is a vivacious community where we are exceptionally proud of the boys for their spirit, individuality, resilience, loyalty and sharp humour.
Mr William Manning