You know how it is… you find a locked box in the attic, blow off the dust and prize open the rusted lid and you unleash something a bit surprising, if not downright scary? Well, I was delving in the Best vaults this afternoon (aka my PC’s overflowing hard disk) when I came across a very historic document – the first ever press release announcing the formation of Best from March 1998! It’s pasted at the end of this blog.
What was really pleasing was the realisation that in all those years and all the changes that have happened at Best and in the world in general, all of the founding principles of Best have stayed the same.
So what has changed in the past 24 years, apart from the colour of my hair?
On the outward face, our logo and styling has evolved and with the advent of better graphics packages, our presentation in general is much better (have a look at the new website!).
We’re still at our first venue – Sandringham School, and that has changed massively! Loads of new buildings, more students and better facilities.
Culturally, I think we are all much more aware now of the diversity of humanity and the challenges and open thinking that this demands. We have become much more conscious of the need to create and nurture an emotionally and mentally safe space alongside the physical security that has always been there. Best has become a place where our students have their ‘tribe’ – a place where they can explore their identities without judgement.
And alongside this perhaps runs the ways in which children have become much more self-aware at a younger age. This poses its own challenges as young people may not have the emotional maturity do deal with all the information and expectations thrust on them by peers and by the media – social and otherwise. The huge amount of unfiltered information freely available at all ages exposes our young people to experiences and images often well before they are ready to deal with them.
We’ve also seen how parents’ expectations have grown alongside the relentless pressure of social media and the severe testing regimes in the education sector. Thankfully it’s still very rare that parents’ stress arrives at our door – perhaps Best has earned their trust.
Although I’d like to think we’re a lot better at what we do than when we started, actually I think we’ve always been good at what makes Best best – and that is the individual attention we give to each student, the equality of opportunities we offer, the excellent, inspiring teams of teachers we welcome and the smile that’s always on our faces. It’s just we’re doing it with more students in a wider variety of classes. And we’re still doing it after 24 years. So we must be doing something right!
Here’s what the press release said:-