The College is excited about the launch of the 2025 Strategy. In development for 18 months, with vital input from across the Bradfield community, we feel it codifies formally so much of what we do well whilst aiming to stretch and develop the College in areas of focus for the years ahead.
WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR PUPILS?
The initial phase started with a situational review looking at both the external and internal factors to ensure we fully understood how we are operating within our context both now and in the future. Firstly, we defined the parameters of the strategy development. Our Vision was set and our guiding principle remained: ‘What is in the best interest of our pupils?’
Once we had established the framework, we conducted a formal review examining external Political, Economic, Social, Technological and Environmental (PESTE) factors. The most significant factors causing uncertainty at the time in 2019 were the outcome of the General Election and potential impact of Brexit.
Once we had an appreciation of external context, we conducted our internal review to understand our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). It was encouraging to see how much was done well but also areas where we could improve and take advantange of new opportunities. This first step concluded by trying to understand what significant disruptors could be on the horizon; we had never heard of COVID-19 at that stage.
All of this was condensed into a Strategy Primer that consisted of some focussed and supplementary questions for consideration. Through this external and internal diagnosis five clear themes began to emerge:
THE STRATEGIC THEMES HAD SUCCINCTLY CAPTURED THE COMMUNITY’S PRIORITIES.
These five strategic themes were then captured within a Strategy Framework document, effectively a Green Paper, for further analysis, reflection and refinement before we launched a consultation document, a White Paper if you like. What was striking through consultation was how well received the strategic themes were; they had succinctly captured the community’s priorities.
These Strategic Themes, which were now set, were broken down into a number of objectives to ensure that the Strategy was digestible and deliverable rather than just remaining a vague concept or aspiration.
THE THEMES ENSURE THAT EDUCATION REMAINS HOLISTIC.
A pivotal piece of work was unpacking the Education Strategy to articulate the investment in our pupils. Historically we would have followed the traditional lines of Academic, Co-Curricular and Pastoral but as there is so much overlap and synergy a fresh outlook was required. What emerged were six unique objectives that help focus on an ‘Education for Life’. As one example,
Life of the Mind is applicable to so many aspects of a pupil’s day; in the classroom, on the sports field, playing an instrument, within their House or in the wider community; everything they are doing is developing their mind. The same is true for the other five themes; they ensure that education remains holistic.
As the Strategy was nearing maturity and we were drawing nearer to a public launch, the pandemic became the unforeseen disruptor and we rapidly transitioned to remote teaching and learning. The development of our Digital Strategy had ensured that we were able to deliver a connected and interactive education despite the situation.
The midst of this pandemic was not the time to launch the Strategy and we also needed to make sure that it remained fit for purpose in the new paradigm. We kept our draft under review and what was encouraging was how the strategic themes and their objectives stood the test of this global disruptor, a tribute to the work done through analysis and development.
FOCUS ON PROVIDING THE BEST POSSIBLE EDUCATION FOR LIFE.
In January 2021 we were able to publicly launch the Strategy. We could not launch it with the fanfare and publicity that we would have hoped given the context, however we have been able to cascade this through a series of events across different media. This article forms part of that cascade.
We strongly feel that our vision, guiding principle and the development of these five strategic themes continues to ensure that we focus on providing the best possible education for life and will see the College continue to thrive in the years ahead.