Headteacher’s notes - To learn and succeed the Beckham way

Pupils must learn from their mistakes and see them as an opportunity to learn.
Pupils must learn from their mistakes and see them as an opportunity to learn.

At this time of year many students across secondary school are completing Prelim Examinations, writes Lasswade High head teacher Campbell Hornell.

At Lasswade our programme finished on Tuesday, January 24. Students will then be fed back their results with associated good/disappointing news. It begs the questions, ‘What do you have to do to be successful?’

Recently I attended a conference in London with a keynote address by Matthew Seyd. His most recent publication is ‘Black Box Thinking’, which I would thoroughly recommend. What he said helped to confirm what I already believed. Success follows from two things – putting the hours in and acting on skillful feedback on your performance. All this underpinned by a mindset that views a setback or failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.

He talked about a very young David Beckham, who could only do three ‘keepie-uppies’. He practiced daily for hours, analysed what worked and gave his own feedback. He was determined enough to keep going and three years later could complete over two thousand. He then moved onto ‘free-kicks’ and even at the end of his career would do hours of extra practice to ensure a successful performance on the pitch.

I firmly believe that if students are to be successful in school and exams it demands the sort of attitude David Beckham demonstrated in his development. He accepted his mistakes and learned from them, he showed determination and effort, he listened to those who were coaching him and he set goals for himself and put the time in to achieve them. Therefore, he became a highly successful professional footballer.

In a school context at Lasswade, we are determined to develop these attributes in our students. We are working to adapt and improve our curriculum to allow more opportunities for our students to be challenged on what they are actually doing and what they need to do to succeed.

At the same time we are working as a group of staff to listen to and learn from each other, and from those out with the school with good ideas and a successful track record.

In these circumstances we will all learn and succeed.