The 1989 film Field of Dreams tells the story of Ray Kinsella, a fictional character who builds a baseball diamond on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
Late in the film all-star players from yesteryear arrive to play in a dreamlike sequence wrapped in sentimentality.
The film is often remembered for a misquoted line, when earlier in the film Ray hears a voice telling him ‘if you build it, he will come’. As often with movies, the line turns into what you want to hear, in this case - build it and they’ll come.
The combination of lines has been on my mind for a while. It applies to schools. If you build great schools, students and parents will come. This is what we are doing with our new facilities. Build world class science labs, classrooms and computing spaces. Offer students at the top of the school space to think. Allow all to dine comfortably, and then exercise vigorously in sector leading spaces. All this on the foundations laid over the last 17 years in purpose built spaces. A great school becoming greater.
The ‘build’ part of this doesn’t always have to be physical either. Building capacity in particular areas such as particular languages, courses such as Economics or Psychology and in roles such as Head of Outreach. Build it and they’ll come.
Nobody was quite sure what Head of Outreach would be doing when I announced it last year, but this weekend we saw the launch of Equity Partnership Season 2. Shrewsbury students partnering children from Thai schools all over the country in innovating and pitching products to JD central. Mutual benefit, outreach, leadership and collaboration. It started with just Shrewsbury students last year and now more international schools come together to refine, support and grow this event. Build it, and they’ll come.
At Shrewsbury numbers in engaging subjects with outstanding teachers are up. More families are accessing our playgroups in the new EY garden and the British Club. Sports teams are bulging, and charitable efforts blessed with increasing numbers of volunteers. Build it and they’ll come.