28/02/2016

The Beautiful Game...

In a slightly less frenetic moment over half term, I spent a leisurely couple of hours watching one of the many Sky Sports Channels, without any initial purpose.

Football is not in fact the first of my many, great sporting loves. However, the combination of historian and sports anorak in me was smitten by three consecutive programmes on the greatest ever international soccer teams...

Hungary in 1954...

Hungary National Footbal Team 1954


Holland in 1974...

Holland National Football Team 1974


And Brazil in 1982...
Brazil National Football Team 1982


Exponents of Total Football. A sublime version of the 'beautiful game' in which players interchange roles seamlessly; forwards defend with intelligence and defenders attack with creativity. Whilst appearing effortless, the approach places huge physical and technical demands on the players, with each member of the team working to create space for others to express their multi-layered skills.

Similarly - and more recently - the World Cup winning All Black Rugby Team have been described as embodying an equally total version of their game: twenty-stone prop forwards who can side-step and handle with the deftness of a back; backs who can clear out at a ruck with the power of a forward.

All Blacks Rugby Team

And then the analogy struck me. At Park House we are proponents of Total Education. In so many different ways...

Total Teachers, who as well as being subject specialists, tutor, advise, mentor and offer...

A Total Curriculum which provides extensive extra curricular opportunities and activities which excite, stretch and challenge...

Total Students: high-achieving, responsible, caring and articulate young people with outstanding all-round employability skills. Students like...

The wonderful Year 10 'Plane-a-Pult' team, who combined their design and business enterprise knowledge and skills to secure a special sustainability award for their innovative 'Plane-a-Pult' product from 10,000 initial entries at the National Final of the Design Museum Design Ventura Competition just before half-term...

Plane-A-Pult at Design Ventura
Plane-A-Pult at Design Ventura

And the inspirational Annabel Chaffey, Young Ambassador and Leader, recipient of my 2014 'Living the Values' Award for all-round contribution to the life and achievement of the school community and, as of last week, an incredible fourth-placer at the Youth Winter Olympic Games...

Annabel Chaffey
Anna Watkins and Catherine Grainger with Annabel Chaffey
Annabel Chaffey makes Team GB
Annabel Chaffey Winter Olympic Results


Also Like Total Football, Total Education is based on incredibly hard work and commitment. It's very demanding. And I am enormously grateful to all at Team Park House for embracing it.

Of course, the one criticism of Total Football is that its most celebrated exponents never actually won anything. At least when it really mattered...

The 'Magical Magyars' were edged in the Final of the 1954 World Cup by a mediocre West German side that they had thrashed 8-3 in the qualifying rounds

The mercurial, Cruyff-Turning Dutch were out-muscled by an equally functional West Germany at the 1974 World Cup

And the magnificent Brazilians were knocked out at the quarter final stage of the 1982 World Cup by an uncharacteristically dull Italian side, lacking in flair or imagination.

But that's where my otherwise valid comparison with Total Football ends. Because Total Education at Park House really does deliver, consistently and when it does really matter. And that's why I am so really proud of this letter, received this week, from the Minister of State...

Letter from Nick Gibb

When you are playing Total Education, with Total Teachers and Total Students, it really is a beautiful game...

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