I've done very well this term. I've got to the beginning of February without the use of a gratuitously self-indulgent musical clip by way of tenuous introduction to my main blog theme. So I'm owed one!

Dreaming, from Blondie. Vintage 1979!

On Friday we took a mixed group of twenty-five Year 10s and Year 12s to the 'Dreaming Spires' (said it was tenuous!) of Oxford on an 'Inspiration Day' visit to University College and Oriel College.

Oriel College Oxford
Park House Students at Oriel College

It's an annual visit which is, appropriately, very much about dreams; aspirations. And, crucially, about offering advice and guidance about how to turn them into a reality. I couldn't have been prouder of our students as they debated, with a group fantastic undergraduate student ambassadors, challenging interview-style questions such as...

'How much of the past can you count...?'

'Can a person who stabbed another who was subsequently found to have died of a heart attack be convicted of murder...?'

'Should I be interested in the Twilight Saga...?'

Park House Students at Oriel College
Park House Students at Oriel College
Park House Students at Oriel College
Park House Students at Oriel College

Dreams have been a theme of mine so far this year.

I opened the term with a series of assemblies introduced by a burst of this..

'I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition...'

'Happy Birthday'. Stevie Wonder's call to recognise on a special day of celebration the life and the courage of a man who's dream for a better society inspired a generation and continues to resonate over half a century after it was delivered on 26 August 1963...

Martin Luther King I Have a Dream

A dream that was also reflected in another, perhaps lesser known but poignantly prophetic speech to lowly paid, striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee on the evening of 3 April, 1968...

'Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of The Lord.'

Hours later, Martin Luther King was shot dead at his motel, aged 39.

Martin Luther King

In my assemblies to commemorate what, thanks to the pressure of those like Stevie Wonder, is now officially recognised as Martin Luther King Day (15 January - his birthday) I asked students to reflect on their dreams. Their hopes; their aspirations.

Dreams are personal and often rightly self centred. I want students to strive to be the best that they can be and achieve their limitless potential as individuals.

But, in spirit of Martin Luther King's collective dream, I also asked them to also consider what they can contribute to community betterment, too.

And in this respect, I am uplifted by what our students do on a daily basis.

Blondie Dreaming

Dreaming, as Debbie Harry put it, is free.

With slightly greater sophistication, American thinker Dr Russell J. Quaglia, describes the purpose of education as...

'To be able to dream about the future, while being inspired in the present to reach those dreams'

I agree. That's what last Friday was about. And it's what every day for those of us privileged to work in education is about.

Dare to dream. They might just come true...