Educational Leadership Team

Dear parents:

As mentioned in our previous newsletter, we occasionally want to go deeper into certain educational areas or issues. On this occasion, we have decided to focus on language and thought.

There are many different views of how they interact but there is broad agreement that, in learning, language helps to develop thought, and thinking helps the development of language.

As we have already stated, Richmond Park students will acquire the skills of learning to think and thinking to learn. They will be equipped to think with imagination and discernment for future study, employment and personal fulfilment.

We believe there are two major ways in which our students will benefit from this creative interdependence of language and thought: one focused closely on their thinking skills and their application to questioning, problem-solving, etc., the other to their state of mind or mindfulness.

In all aspects and areas of their learning, students need to be creative and critical thinkers, responding to, and posing questions, challenging each other, and sharing their thinking. Questions are just as important as answers.

Our teachers will lead and guide students, push them to think in different ways, go far beyond simply remembering towards analysing, interpreting, evaluating and creating.

Very young children naturally want to play with thought, explore, experiment, and learn though curiosity. We have to take full advantage of these tendencies, build on them and extend them. Especially, we have to ensure the students never lose this sense of excitement, and joy in discovery.

So teaching at Richmond Park School will be flexible, joyful, creative, curious and challenging. It is not just a case of learning thinking skills and developing conscious thought. Students also need to connect to other processes within the brain.

The constant chatter and busyness of the mind can be quitened to allow sharper focus, leading to clearer, more creative and more effective thinking. Our teachers will be specifically trained to support the students in these ways.

Christine has had a long and succesful career in Spain as a teacher, headteacher, and inspector. Also, she is a senior yoga teacher and her extensive training, research and practice in mindfulness across all ages have given her an extensive base of knowledge and skills. She will ensure students are well prepared academically and personally for the demands and needs of contemporary life.

James worked for many years in England as a teacher and, later, as a general inspector. In Spain, he has been the headteacher of three schools, educational founder of 5 British schools and general director of two school groups. He is the co-founder of the British inspection system in Spain and an honorary member of the National Association of British Schools in Spain. In 2000, he was awarded the MBE.

We hope we have given you a glimpse of how Richmond Park, as a ‘Thinking School’, will prepare students for all the complex challenges – actual and future – of the 21st. Century, which require greater adaptability, confidence, resilience and creativity.

These two major approaches also have a significant influence on language development.

Students will learn how to express their thoughts and feelings more confidently, lucidly and effectively.

Clearer thinking enhances language and clearer language enhances thinking.

They will gain the self-confidence to share their opinions, views, and emotions.

They will find out what they really think and fully comprehend what they are learning. In every sense, they will have their own voice.

Christine Curtis and James Shallcross