EducationPosted on Feb 4, 2020
This is taken from an address by the headmaster of Shrewsbury School to Third Form entrants in September 2019:
WB Yeats’ definition of education always rings true with me: “Education is not the filling of buckets but the lighting of fires”. Of course, we want our pupils to learn interesting things; to develop remarkable skills; to nurture their own individual gifts and talents. We want them to become the best possible version of themselves.
But there is a deeper project here.
Schools are not about dispensing truths unthinkingly. Schools are about empowering the young to seek truths for themselves; to pursue lives of meaning and purpose; to grow in character. And, in quiet moments, to seek the deeper truths of the spirit.
The dynamics of the modern world make trust, truth and meaning increasingly elusive. Rapid change is the only real certainty. As well as navigating the turbulence and change of adolescence, our children need to equip themselves with the wisdom and skills to thrive; and the virtues and values to be a force for good.
The Shrewsbury School motto captures the deeper project of education: Intus Si Recte Ne Labora – If all is right within, trouble not.
We want our pupils to learn, and to learn deeply in an atmosphere of serious fun. We want them to develop the virtues that allow them to lead lives of meaning, active compassion, generosity, purpose and truth.
The fires we aim to light are the true fires, the torchlights, that guide us through life’s choices; those fires that cast light into dark places; those fires that light the way to truth.