Interview with new Dunannie Head
In an article for Absolutely Education magazine, Victoria Homewood explains why she simply had to take the job of Head of Bedales Pre-prep School, Dunannie, and talks about her passion for outdoor learning.
Dunannie has a track record of pioneering and innovative education, with the school’s ethos as established by founder John Badley – ‘Head, Hand and Heart’ – prescribing an education for the whole child, combining the academic, the practical and the social. Victoria says: “The school’s values and approach align very closely with my own philosophy, which focuses on the needs of the individual and the development of children’s inquisitiveness and love of learning.”
However, Victoria also observes that this requires interpretation to make it relevant for its time. For example, of her enthusiasm for outdoors’ education, she says: “These days, most of us spend the vast majority of our time indoors, and our connection with nature is consequently limited. It is time to reimagine education and rectify this balance”. Victoria believes that exposure to nature can help children connect with themselves and others in an unpressurised way.
Victoria is not in favour of testing for young children, but instead favours children learning to understand mistakes as evidence of something that they are simply not able to do at present but will eventually achieve.
Looking to the future, the school under Victoria’s stewardship will devote time to ensuring that the essentials – reading, writing and numeracy - are learned alongside the values of being kind and decent to one another and having good interpersonal skills. However, her passion for outdoor learning might see more happen outside the classroom. She concludes: “This has always been an outstanding feature of life at Dunannie, but I plan to make it even more so.”
The full article can be read here (PDF version) with thanks to Absolutely Education magazine.