the Gryphon - Issue 3

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t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> N o 03<br />

Class of<br />



IS NOT THE<br />




A FIRE.’<br />

W.B. YEATS<br />


Welcome<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> N o 03<br />

SUMMER 2021<br />

Welcome to <strong>the</strong> Summer edition<br />

of our termly chapbook, <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Gryphon</strong>, where we look into <strong>the</strong><br />

future and examine what school<br />

may look like for children in<br />

30 years time.<br />

2<br />

IT’S LIFE JIM…<br />


How <strong>the</strong> power of knowledge and<br />

formation of individuals will still prevail in<br />

a world of intellectual computing.<br />

4<br />

At Embley every child is unique<br />

and deserves <strong>the</strong> recognition<br />

of that as <strong>the</strong>y grow. We help<br />

<strong>the</strong>m achieve <strong>the</strong>ir ambitions,<br />

encourage belief in oneself while<br />

being mindful that <strong>the</strong> greatest<br />

happiness is achieved by being<br />

compassionate to o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Embley Park, Romsey,<br />

Hampshire SO51 6ZE<br />

Main switchboard:<br />

+44 (0) 1794 512206<br />

Email: info@embley.org.uk<br />

www.embley.org.uk<br />


While technology will be an enabler of<br />

successful learning, <strong>the</strong> classroom will<br />

look reassuringly familiar.<br />

6<br />


How schools of 2050 should offer<br />

breadth, choice and opportunity.<br />

8<br />



Embley pupils imagine a virtual school of<br />

<strong>the</strong> future for specific moments, across<br />

boundaries and even space.<br />

10<br />


A story of Emily and her sister Tessie as<br />

<strong>the</strong>y battle for survival, by Hannah in Year 8.<br />

12<br />

Carbon balanced print is produced by a carbon<br />

balanced printer on carbon balanced paper.<br />

This edition of <strong>the</strong> <strong>Gryphon</strong>:<br />

73kg of carbon balanced & 51m 2 of land protected.<br />



The importance of interpersonal<br />

relationships in teaching now and<br />

in <strong>the</strong> future.<br />


It’s life Jim…and<br />

just as we knew it<br />

In a world of intelligent computing, <strong>the</strong> power of<br />

knowledge and formation of individuals will still<br />

prevail writes Headmaster, Cliff Canning.<br />

Illustration by Greg Joens<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

Remember Spock? It will certainly date me<br />

and offer opportunity to draw all kinds of<br />

conclusions, but he was my favourite character<br />

on Star Trek. I mean of course, <strong>the</strong> “real” Star<br />

Trek! Every Christmas among <strong>the</strong> gifts Fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Christmas delivered was <strong>the</strong> prize gift of<br />

all, <strong>the</strong> Star Trek annual. I loved <strong>the</strong> sense of<br />

adventure, <strong>the</strong> possibilities a little lad in a tiny<br />

corner of a little place could be transported<br />

to. Teleporters, being beamed up and down to<br />

new planets and <strong>the</strong> uncompromising logic<br />

of Spock. I was quite taken aback recently<br />

when some parents commented on how<br />

tickled <strong>the</strong>y were to read <strong>the</strong> “kobayashi maru”<br />

reference in our parent and staff newsletter,<br />

Highlights. The ability to beat a system by<br />

stepping outside of it and not playing by<br />

<strong>the</strong> rules.<br />

This issue of <strong>the</strong> <strong>Gryphon</strong> challenges what our<br />

sense of education will be by <strong>the</strong> year 2050. I<br />

only imagined as a small boy <strong>the</strong> notion of<br />

communication by video, I saw James T do it,<br />

but it was science fiction wasn’t it? Hmm OK,<br />

point taken.<br />

There is no doubt that <strong>the</strong> technology Rubicon<br />

has been crossed and <strong>the</strong>re is no going back, but<br />

nei<strong>the</strong>r should <strong>the</strong>re be. I suspect by 2050 <strong>the</strong><br />

presence of a ‘Siri’ or ‘Alexa’ as a companion in<br />

<strong>the</strong> classroom will be an established reality, but<br />

I mean as a bespoke companion to each child,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir virtual paidagogos if you will. Consider<br />

some of <strong>the</strong> dynamics of what is involved in<br />

teaching. The classroom instructional piece,<br />

crucial and irreplaceable (remote learning<br />

during Covid has illustrated <strong>the</strong> consequence<br />

in terms of human relationship of its absence).<br />

The teacher having set <strong>the</strong> direction of<br />

<strong>the</strong> class takes homework and collects in<br />

marking to read a similar thing 15 or 20<br />

times, more if <strong>the</strong>y have a number of classes.<br />

Mistakes are identified and <strong>the</strong> revised plan of<br />

instruction developed to tackle that which was<br />

misunderstood first time round. Why couldn’t<br />

intelligent computing ‘read’ <strong>the</strong> work, identify<br />

<strong>the</strong> common areas of misunderstanding and<br />

<strong>the</strong> areas where knowledge is sound? The<br />

teacher <strong>the</strong>n has an immediate focus for <strong>the</strong><br />

next development and maps <strong>the</strong> way forward.<br />

In class, <strong>the</strong> virtual teaching assistant sitting<br />

with every pupil <strong>the</strong>n iteratively increases <strong>the</strong><br />

level of difficulty, <strong>the</strong> better to allow each child<br />

to be <strong>the</strong>ir best. This is not a version of Google<br />

by ano<strong>the</strong>r means, but a bespoke companion<br />

understanding <strong>the</strong> cognitive and, who<br />

knows, by 2050 maybe even <strong>the</strong> emotional<br />

understanding of <strong>the</strong> child.<br />

The second observation I would make is<br />

that knowledge will still be central. Seems<br />

idiotically tautologous but I am suggesting <strong>the</strong><br />

primacy of children working to understand<br />

difficult concepts. I deliberately didn’t use <strong>the</strong><br />

phrase “struggling to understand” because<br />

it suggests <strong>the</strong>re is something wrong or<br />

unacceptable. There isn’t. Some stuff is just<br />

difficult to understand and that is fine. The<br />

2050 issue I am highlighting is <strong>the</strong> change in<br />

focus of our understanding and engagement<br />

with <strong>the</strong> process. Children will be more<br />

pedagogically literate; <strong>the</strong>y will understand<br />

that education happens through, not to, <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

They are active participants in a process, not<br />

<strong>the</strong> passive recipients of data and instruction.<br />

This is a cultural not a technological shift but<br />

a necessary one as we pivot to a system that<br />

prepares children for an au<strong>the</strong>ntic life. School<br />

is not an ivory tower nor a proving ground<br />

away from reality. In preparing children for<br />

life, “life” is not a remote destination arrived<br />

at after Year 13 but <strong>the</strong> thing <strong>the</strong>y are doing<br />

right now.<br />

The final note may be a surprising one.<br />

Remember Spock? The Enterprise was replete<br />

with only to be imagined gadgetry, but it was a<br />

‘bit-part’ player to <strong>the</strong> characters. It is this that<br />

is core, <strong>the</strong> intrinsic quality of what makes us<br />

ourselves after all <strong>the</strong> costumery of tech has<br />

been stripped away and put back in <strong>the</strong> props<br />

department. Tech; gadgetry; stuff won’t make<br />

<strong>the</strong> world a better place; won’t save <strong>the</strong> planet;<br />

won’t make us happier or healthier; people do<br />

that and <strong>the</strong>ir characters form <strong>the</strong>ir intent.<br />

The formation of individuals, ambitious to<br />

understand, confident of <strong>the</strong>ir own value and<br />

compassionate of o<strong>the</strong>rs will continue to be<br />

central to what Embley does, not because it is<br />

innovative, but because it isn’t.<br />

E: headmaster@embley.org.uk<br />


A Space<br />

for Learning<br />

The classroom of 2050 will be reassuringly<br />

familiar with technology continuing to be an<br />

enabler for successful learning writes our<br />

Deputy Head, José Picardo.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

During a school holiday not too long<br />

ago, I visited a museum that featured a<br />

meticulous recreation of a Victorian classroom.<br />

Chalk and caning aside, I was struck by <strong>the</strong><br />

similarities with classrooms today, well over<br />

one hundred years later: a dais, a board, desks<br />

and exercise books all seemed reassuringly<br />

familiar. Sure, educational philosophies have<br />

pendulated between traditionalism and<br />

progressivism various times, and pedagogy<br />

has matured to take into account what science<br />

and research have ascertained about how<br />

best to teach and learn since those desks were<br />

last occupied by school children who weren’t<br />

dressing up.<br />

This got me thinking about <strong>the</strong> future. But<br />

not in <strong>the</strong> way that you might imagine: my<br />

thinking was not an abstraction about <strong>the</strong><br />

ways in which society will be transformed by<br />

technologies that haven’t been invented yet<br />

or about preparing children for jobs that we<br />

haven’t yet imagined. You see, I prefer to think<br />

about <strong>the</strong> future as something that you build,<br />

not something that you simply enter without<br />

agency. And <strong>the</strong> best way to build <strong>the</strong> future is<br />

to lay strong foundations in <strong>the</strong> present.<br />

For all <strong>the</strong>ir ills, <strong>the</strong> past few months have given<br />

us an opportunity to evaluate what a different<br />

kind of teaching and learning might look like.<br />

And <strong>the</strong> conclusion is perhaps not what one<br />

might expect. Technology has undeniably<br />

helped to keep <strong>the</strong> heart of <strong>the</strong> school beating.<br />

Lessons have continued without interruption,<br />

schoolwork has continued to flow and we have<br />

continued to work toge<strong>the</strong>r, separated only by<br />

distance.<br />

While accentuating our distinctively human<br />

ability to overcome difficulty through <strong>the</strong><br />

judicious application of technology and<br />

innovation, as time went on a connection<br />

exclusively reliant on e<strong>the</strong>rnet cables and<br />

wireless access points also proved to be very<br />

much second best to being in <strong>the</strong> physical<br />

company of o<strong>the</strong>r folk. Offshoring <strong>the</strong> school<br />

system to <strong>the</strong> internet turns out to be possible,<br />

it’s just not preferable.<br />

There remains of course a place for <strong>the</strong> sort<br />

of informal online learning that works well<br />

for <strong>the</strong> self-directed, <strong>the</strong> inquisitive and <strong>the</strong><br />

knowledge-thirsty. We have all resorted to<br />

YouTube to find out how to change <strong>the</strong> oven<br />

clock or to Wikipedia to discover with surprise<br />

that we were never taught about <strong>the</strong> English<br />

Armada. On <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r hand, formal online<br />

learning of <strong>the</strong> sort sometimes offered by<br />

universities and o<strong>the</strong>r specialist outfits has<br />

remained on <strong>the</strong> fringes of <strong>the</strong> educational<br />

landscape because, quite bluntly, given <strong>the</strong><br />

choice, people prefer people.<br />

Strangely this description of <strong>the</strong> present may<br />

offer <strong>the</strong> clearest glimpse of <strong>the</strong> future yet.<br />

Despite enjoying <strong>the</strong> use of technology that<br />

was firmly in <strong>the</strong> realm of science fiction in<br />

<strong>the</strong> living memory of many, classrooms remain<br />

identifiable through generations. Whatever<br />

new technologies arise, <strong>the</strong>y will do what<br />

technology does best: <strong>the</strong>y will become invisible<br />

for us to rely on inadvertently, assisting people<br />

in <strong>the</strong> indispensable endeavour of learning<br />

from those who came before us, so that those<br />

living in <strong>the</strong> present can become <strong>the</strong> agents of<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir own future.<br />

If I were foolish enough to predict <strong>the</strong> future,<br />

I’d probably advance that artificial intelligence<br />

will help pupils routinely to navigate through<br />

personalised curricula in support of oldfashioned<br />

timetabled lessons, while assisting<br />

still very human teachers in curating and<br />

selecting resources, as well as in marking and<br />

assessing. But I wager that in ano<strong>the</strong>r 30 years,<br />

by <strong>the</strong> mid 2050s, we’ll still find classrooms<br />

reassuringly familiar. This is <strong>the</strong> future I would<br />

like to build. But I don’t really know. And<br />

nei<strong>the</strong>r do you. All we really know for sure is<br />

that making predictions is difficult, especially<br />

about <strong>the</strong> future.<br />

E: jose.picardo@embley.org.uk<br />


Opportunity<br />

& Aspiration<br />

The world has changed, no<br />

more so than in <strong>the</strong> past year,<br />

but where is Prep education in its<br />

response to <strong>the</strong>se changing times?<br />

Asks Head of Prep, Sheina Wright.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

When I heard <strong>the</strong> recent statistics<br />

noting <strong>the</strong> changes in A Level choices<br />

it made me reflect on <strong>the</strong> choices we give and<br />

opportunities we present to our primary aged<br />

and nursery pupils.<br />

Many young people are shunning traditional<br />

subjects such as English Literature in favour<br />

of Geography when <strong>the</strong>y reach an age which<br />

allows greater choice (figures published by<br />

<strong>the</strong> assessment watchdog Ofqual in May 2021<br />

show that A Level entries for English Literature<br />

fell from 38,310 in 2020 to 36,135 in 2021).<br />

The fall had been attributed to a number of<br />

factors including a push in subjects such as<br />

Computing, Science and Maths and, in part, to<br />

tie in with a ‘<strong>the</strong>se subjects lead to <strong>the</strong> jobs of<br />

<strong>the</strong> future’ mantra. So is a fear of <strong>the</strong> inability<br />

to secure a job leading to <strong>the</strong> demise of some of<br />

our once most popular subjects?<br />

This got me thinking… how should we respond<br />

to this shift in Prep education in <strong>the</strong> next 10,<br />

20 or even 30 years? I believe that a really<br />

good Prep education is about opportunity<br />

and aspiration. Keeping multiple doors open,<br />

encouraging children to give <strong>the</strong>m a nudge on<br />

a regular basis and just giving new things a go,<br />

not feeling <strong>the</strong> need to be perfect at everything<br />

but embracing <strong>the</strong> opportunity to try when it<br />

comes <strong>the</strong>ir way. So first and foremost I believe<br />

that <strong>the</strong> future of Prep education should<br />

maintain breadth not just in curriculum<br />

time but in its co-curricular programme too:<br />

whe<strong>the</strong>r that be a series of after school Art<br />

workshops where a child learns to make a clay<br />

pot; planning, designing and making a clock<br />

in a STEM club; sailing <strong>the</strong> Solent as part of a<br />

collaborative crew; or learning how to play a<br />

killer game of chess!<br />

From a curriculum perspective, a deep and<br />

secure foundation in English and Ma<strong>the</strong>matics<br />

should remain vital. The ability to read and<br />

write and be numerate, as well as puzzle<br />

through problems, is essential both in life and<br />

<strong>the</strong> world of work. That said education is not<br />

a means to an end or a function: it is about<br />

igniting a passion within a young person<br />

whe<strong>the</strong>r that be a passion for literature or<br />

Ma<strong>the</strong>matics.<br />

Our generation of young people have a greater<br />

sense of responsibility and self awareness of<br />

<strong>the</strong> impact <strong>the</strong>ir actions have on our planet. So<br />

<strong>the</strong> profile and depth of Science teaching will<br />

continue to rise in coming years, alongside<br />

a thirst for knowledge. Learning about <strong>the</strong><br />

impact we have on <strong>the</strong> environment and<br />

indeed our own bodies will be key, including<br />

sustainability, nutrition and nature. Being<br />

outdoors will continue to form an important<br />

part of school life, but it will be embedded more<br />

fully in <strong>the</strong> curriculum; Prep schools should<br />

provide <strong>the</strong>ir children with a substantial<br />

and deep Science curriculum which includes<br />

Natural Sciences.<br />

Geography will also need to raise its profile<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Primary years. This in part will be in<br />

response to an increased concern from our<br />

young people about <strong>the</strong> environment and<br />

climate change. Add to that a shared pandemic,<br />

which has challenged humanity and a political<br />

landscape that has made us more insular, it<br />

has never been more important to understand<br />

that we are part of something much bigger. It<br />

is particularly important to raise world ready<br />

children with an international understanding.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r subjects which I think will continue<br />

to become more prevalent are those such as<br />

Computer Science. It is important to see <strong>the</strong><br />

difference between playing on a device for<br />

hours on end and learning how to code, to<br />

create ra<strong>the</strong>r than consume.<br />

So in conclusion schools of 2050 should offer<br />

breadth, choice and opportunity. I believe<br />

core subjects will remain vital, but <strong>the</strong>re will<br />

be greater emphasis and interest in Science,<br />

Geography and Technology. However, <strong>the</strong><br />

subjects we offer are a small part of education.<br />

With an uncertain world and job market in<br />

front of us, it is about our approach, how we<br />

help young people to help <strong>the</strong>mselves. This<br />

is about <strong>the</strong> way we teach young people, our<br />

day-to-day interactions and modelling. Key<br />

qualities for future growth will be <strong>the</strong> ability<br />

to adapt, to create, to make mistakes, to repeat<br />

practice for confidence growth and to be bold<br />

enough to try something different if things<br />

really don’t work out.<br />

E: sheina.wright@embley.org.uk<br />




Embley pupils imagine a virtual school of <strong>the</strong><br />

future, attended for specific moments, available<br />

across national boundaries and even space.<br />

Remote learning, social<br />

distancing and elbow<br />

bumps were unfamiliar terms<br />

in our children’s vocabulary<br />

18 months ago, and <strong>the</strong> idea of<br />

using video conferencing to learn<br />

virtually from home was an alien<br />

concept. Having witnessed such<br />

extraordinary events in such a<br />

short period of <strong>the</strong>ir lifetimes, we<br />

asked some of our pupils - who<br />

will be in <strong>the</strong>ir early 40s by 2050<br />

- what school will look like for <strong>the</strong><br />

children of <strong>the</strong>ir generation.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

How will school be different for children in<br />

2050 compared to now?<br />

Phoebe: We will be <strong>the</strong> subject of our History<br />

lessons. Instead of learning about <strong>the</strong><br />

Victorians and <strong>the</strong> World Wars, children<br />

will be taught about <strong>the</strong> events that we’ve<br />

witnessed, such as coronavirus, lockdown<br />

and Brexit.<br />

Ellie: I think that <strong>the</strong> way children will learn<br />

compared to now will be totally different.<br />

They’ll write using electronic devices and<br />

styluses ra<strong>the</strong>r than using pens and paper.<br />

Phoebe: There are robots in <strong>the</strong> world right<br />

now so maybe we will have robots at school;<br />

maybe robots with a teacher’s face on it.<br />

Leon: On <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r hand, school may not<br />

change at all because, o<strong>the</strong>r than advances<br />

in technology, classrooms of today are<br />

very similar to classrooms 30 years ago.<br />

Handwriting will be crucial because it’s<br />

a valuable life skill that you’ll need when<br />

you’re older.<br />

What do you think children will be<br />

learning about?<br />

Ellie: In 2050 <strong>the</strong> world will be dominated<br />

by technology so children will need to know<br />

how to use computers and robots, and to<br />

reset and fix <strong>the</strong>m if <strong>the</strong>y break.<br />

Leon: Maybe we’ll all be chipped, and<br />

we’ll receive software updates when we’re<br />

sleeping. We’ll go to school for <strong>the</strong> social<br />

aspects and to learn physical activities such<br />

as Sport, Art, Music and Design Technology.<br />

We’ll learn subjects such as English, Maths<br />

and History, which don’t necessarily have a<br />

physical element, through our microchip.<br />

Ellie: Maybe children could tune into our<br />

lessons from around <strong>the</strong> world and learn<br />

through a common language translated by<br />

computer.<br />

Phoebe: There are new inventions all <strong>the</strong><br />

time. In <strong>the</strong> Music room, children may be<br />

learning newly created instruments that<br />

don’t exist today.<br />

Tommy: There could be an instrument<br />

that you play with your mind, connected<br />

wirelessly to <strong>the</strong> device which reads your<br />

thoughts to play <strong>the</strong> music.<br />

Phoebe: Perhaps instead of co-curricular<br />

activities such as sailing, it will be possible<br />

for children to go to space.<br />

Will books still exist?<br />

Ellie: I think books will become more<br />

expensive because <strong>the</strong>re will be fewer<br />

physical books available and digital books<br />

will take over. But I think reading a real book<br />

and turning each page is a better experience<br />

because it’s physical.<br />

Tommy: We may not even need to pick up a<br />

book ever again because of audio books.<br />

Ellie: Yes, but <strong>the</strong> problem with audio books<br />

is that you don’t develop your reading skills.<br />

Reading is such an important life skill that<br />

not to have it will be a real disadvantage.<br />

Do you think children will physically go to<br />

‘a school’?<br />

Ellie: I think about two thirds of children will<br />

come to school and <strong>the</strong> rest will learn from<br />

home because we’ve all adapted to learning<br />

from home since Covid. It could be that you<br />

don’t go to school from Monday to Friday<br />

but that <strong>the</strong>re is a mix of days at school to<br />

socialise and do physical and non-academic<br />

activities and o<strong>the</strong>r days at home dedicated<br />

to remote learning for <strong>the</strong> academic subjects.<br />

Leon: That could work if <strong>the</strong> teacher is a<br />

robot – you could have two teachers: a robot<br />

teacher for remote learning and a real<br />

teacher for teaching at school.<br />

Phoebe: Maybe you’ll have your own<br />

personalised robot, like a personal assistant.<br />

In 2050, what will school be for? Ellie, Leon,<br />

Phoebe and Tommy all agree that school<br />

will continue to be about developing friends<br />

for life, personal development, building<br />

knowledge and setting children up for <strong>the</strong><br />

future.<br />


A Dystopian<br />

Story<br />

Hannah, aged 13, tells her dystopian story of Emily<br />

and her sister Tessie as <strong>the</strong>y battle for survival.<br />

Emily wasn’t listening. The chaotic<br />

classroom was a whirlwind of screams,<br />

laughter and wasted education that only <strong>the</strong><br />

rich could afford. But it wasn’t <strong>the</strong> chewing<br />

of gum or <strong>the</strong> throwing of pencils that was<br />

distracting her; it was <strong>the</strong> streets. They were<br />

completely empty. Not a single person had<br />

dared leave <strong>the</strong>ir house. They all knew The<br />

Crew were coming.<br />

Outside, <strong>the</strong> last of <strong>the</strong> autumn leaves were<br />

cascading down slowly and miserably, like a<br />

child that finally gave in to leaving <strong>the</strong>ir friend’s<br />

house. Ice lined <strong>the</strong> pavement. It gave Emily a<br />

frosty wink, telling her that she’ll be <strong>the</strong> next<br />

unlucky pedestrian to slip precariously into its<br />

grasp. The towering apartments that provided<br />

life-saving shelter to many were so close to <strong>the</strong><br />

school that it felt like <strong>the</strong>y could all get crushed<br />

by this giant in an instant. The cracked glass in<br />

<strong>the</strong> few remaining windows reminded Emily<br />

that even money couldn’t buy <strong>the</strong> resources<br />

<strong>the</strong>y no longer had. Healthcare and food were<br />

at an all time low. The Ghost Flu had infected<br />

thousands living in <strong>the</strong> Jurius region of south<br />

Paria and The Crew saw this as a solution to<br />

<strong>the</strong> rebellions going on. Their logic was: <strong>the</strong><br />

more people die, <strong>the</strong> smaller <strong>the</strong> army <strong>the</strong>y<br />

need to annihilate. Only government officials<br />

had access to <strong>the</strong> life-sustaining medicine<br />

everybody craved.<br />

Emily jumped up suddenly as <strong>the</strong> bell gave a<br />

piercing shriek. Wearily, she collected her few<br />

precious belongings. As she was fastening her<br />

bag, she noticed something in <strong>the</strong> bottom of<br />

it. Her heart skipped a beat. It was a tattered<br />

old picture; but not just any picture. This one<br />

was not only symbolic but it was also worth<br />

thousands in <strong>the</strong> eyes of many. It was her home.<br />

Her real home. A huge colourful paradise full<br />

of all her favourite things. Back in <strong>the</strong> days<br />

when money really could buy happiness. Back<br />

when earth was a sweet, blissful place to live in.<br />

Back before <strong>the</strong> disaster that destroyed her<br />

world struck.<br />

Snapping back into reality, she weaved her<br />

way through <strong>the</strong> bustling corridors and <strong>the</strong><br />

cold metal gates. She grasped <strong>the</strong> collar of her<br />

uselessly thin coat and pulled it all <strong>the</strong> way up<br />

to her ears in a desperate battle to keep away<br />

<strong>the</strong> coldness of reality. The cameras stared<br />

down from every corner like seagulls eyeing a<br />

child’s ice cream. The desolation in <strong>the</strong> town<br />

echoed through her soul like a singer wailing<br />

down a microphone. Momentarily, she allowed<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

her mind to wander back to <strong>the</strong> warmth and<br />

comfort of her previous life. Her stomach gave<br />

a jolt. She was falling. Fast.<br />

As she opened her eyes, she glanced around.<br />

With no idea as to what had happened, she<br />

leant up and placed her hands beside her.<br />

As she did, she felt a strange tingling sensation.<br />

A lump underneath her pale, ghost-like<br />

arm itched. She was going to die. She didn’t<br />

doubt that.<br />

Tessie was alone. With her mo<strong>the</strong>r at work<br />

and her sister at school, she was stuck in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

cramped snail-shell of a house. She longed for<br />

<strong>the</strong> days when warm daylight would come<br />

flooding through <strong>the</strong> window panes like a<br />

golden wave come to thaw <strong>the</strong> frozen hearts of<br />

<strong>the</strong> manipulated inhabitants.<br />

She felt a sharp splinter jab at her torn<br />

skin. She pulled herself up from her old and<br />

battered armchair, one of her only remaining<br />

possessions that hadn’t been destroyed in <strong>the</strong><br />

nuclear disaster.<br />

Tessie grabbed a thick coil of rope and heaved<br />

it over her shoulders. She wandered over to<br />

<strong>the</strong> door and pushed it open slowly. As she<br />

sauntered into <strong>the</strong> broad daylight, it was a<br />

stark contrast to <strong>the</strong> lifeless, empty part of<br />

town she knew her sister would be in at <strong>the</strong><br />

moment; The Crew were due to arrive soon. She<br />

walked towards <strong>the</strong> only safe place for miles.<br />

The mountains. Her feet protested to <strong>the</strong><br />

painful stroll.<br />

She could clearly make out <strong>the</strong> snow-topped<br />

mountains. All <strong>the</strong>re was between her and<br />

<strong>the</strong> towering white-capped giants was a ditch.<br />

A very big ditch. She lugged <strong>the</strong> rope off her<br />

shoulders and jammed one end into a pile of<br />

rubble near <strong>the</strong> edge. Carefully, she peeled off<br />

her shoes. She took a deep breath and clung<br />

onto <strong>the</strong> remaining length of rope.<br />

She looked around to make sure nobody<br />

was watching her <strong>the</strong>n resumed her original<br />

position. Her hair swung from side to side as<br />

she darted over to <strong>the</strong> sides of <strong>the</strong> valley. She<br />

turned, gave a graceful leap, and plummeted<br />

over <strong>the</strong> edge.<br />

Emily had almost given up. She knew she would<br />

be dead by now if it wasn’t for her instinctive<br />

will to live. She lay down on <strong>the</strong> dewy grass<br />

and stretched out her aching limbs. Her mind<br />

swirled, thinking about <strong>the</strong> enormity of what<br />

having <strong>the</strong> Ghost Flu meant. Not only had she<br />

somehow crossed <strong>the</strong> line between reality<br />

and <strong>the</strong> spirit world, but a fourth-dimensional<br />

creature had also decided to curse her. She<br />

sighed, looked up <strong>the</strong> cliff face and couldn’t<br />

believe her eyes.<br />

Drifting down <strong>the</strong> mountain like an angel<br />

cascading from heaven was her sister.<br />

As Tessie came closer, Emily started to<br />

notice <strong>the</strong> alarming pace at which she was<br />

descending. Emily jumped to her feet to try<br />

and catch her, but swiftly collapsed. The curse<br />

had made her weak.<br />

As Tessie reached <strong>the</strong> ground, she spotted<br />

her sister laying helpless on <strong>the</strong> floor. She<br />

enveloped her in a warm hug. Tears of<br />

happiness slid down Emily’s face.<br />

She heard Tessie give a sigh of relief, but when<br />

she looked at her face it was full of anger.<br />

“What were you doing here?!” she raged. Emily<br />

started to explain herself but Tessie didn’t<br />

seem convinced, but even so, she grasped her<br />

sister’s hand as if it was <strong>the</strong> most precious<br />

thing in <strong>the</strong> world and hoisted her up tenderly.<br />

Tessie looked up at <strong>the</strong> towering hillsides on<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r side of <strong>the</strong>m. “Ok, I think we should go<br />

down this path,” she declared.<br />

After <strong>the</strong>y both took a few steps, it became<br />

evident that Emily wouldn’t be able to walk all<br />

<strong>the</strong> way back to <strong>the</strong>ir house. Tessie stopped her,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y sat down on a rock to contemplate<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir next move. Suddenly, she noticed<br />

something moving in <strong>the</strong> distance. As it came<br />

closer, she realised it was one of The Crew’s cure<br />

cars, carrying medicine reserved for MPs only.<br />

Without a second thought, Tessie raced over to<br />

<strong>the</strong> car and started banging on <strong>the</strong> doors. By<br />

this point she was willing to sacrifice anything<br />

to get her sister home safe and well.<br />

“Give me <strong>the</strong> medicine!” She screamed. A Crew<br />

member stepped out of <strong>the</strong> car. He lifted Tessie<br />

up like a rag doll and threw her into <strong>the</strong> vehicle.<br />

The last thing Emily remembered seeing of<br />

The Crew’s car was <strong>the</strong> boot, containing Tessie.<br />

Her sister. With a gun to her head.<br />


The Human Element<br />

of Teaching<br />

Stephen Fenlon, one of our Senior School<br />

Ma<strong>the</strong>matics teachers, looks at <strong>the</strong><br />

importance of interpersonal relationships<br />

in teaching now and in <strong>the</strong> future.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

Blackboards and chalk, log tables, T-squares<br />

and overhead projectors. All things I used<br />

or witnessed being used on a daily basis in<br />

my schooldays (and most through university<br />

as well!). All things that are ana<strong>the</strong>ma to<br />

<strong>the</strong> children I teach today. The teaching<br />

environment of <strong>the</strong> 1950s was very similar to<br />

<strong>the</strong> one I experienced in <strong>the</strong> late 1980s. Thirty<br />

years on and things are rapidly changing,<br />

where will we be and what will our classrooms<br />

look like in ano<strong>the</strong>r thirty years?<br />

The events of <strong>the</strong> past 18 months have<br />

changed <strong>the</strong> day-to-day procedures of my<br />

profession more than at any o<strong>the</strong>r time in my<br />

teaching career. The switch to a fully digital<br />

environment has accelerated faster than I<br />

ever expected. There are massive advantages<br />

for teachers with this; all my classes’ work can<br />

be stored, marked and returned on a portable<br />

device that weighs just under one kilogram, a<br />

far cry from my days of carting home shopping<br />

bags full of exercise books. I can monitor<br />

pupil progress throughout a lesson without<br />

leaving my seat, and can provide detailed,<br />

personalised feedback.<br />

This switch to a digital learning environment<br />

has led to bold predictions from many online<br />

‘experts’. Recent educational journals have<br />

included titles such as “Many educationalists<br />

now believe that is only a matter of time<br />

before robots – intelligent machines – begin to<br />

replace teachers in schools” and “Classrooms<br />

in <strong>the</strong> future will be virtual, pupils connecting<br />

online via virtual reality headsets”. Is this<br />

really <strong>the</strong> future of education?<br />

Whilst we were able to teach our classes during<br />

lockdown, <strong>the</strong> virtual learning experience<br />

also presented its own problems. The nuances<br />

of knowing each child individually and what<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir ‘tells’ are were lost. A raised eyebrow<br />

when a question is asked lets me know that a<br />

pupil may need fur<strong>the</strong>r explanation. Similarly,<br />

pupils who haven’t fully understood will often<br />

avert <strong>the</strong>ir gaze as I scan <strong>the</strong> room. These signs<br />

can be picked up in an instant in a normal<br />

classroom but are almost impossible to detect<br />

when teaching virtually. And if I had to listen<br />

to one more excuse of missed lessons or work<br />

not submitted due to ‘wifi issues’, I may have<br />

been driven to early retirement!<br />

One of <strong>the</strong> joys of being a teacher is building<br />

interpersonal relationships with pupils, not<br />

just in <strong>the</strong> classroom. A conversation on a<br />

Duke of Edinburgh expedition can lead to a<br />

breakthrough with a pupil I had previously<br />

struggled to motivate. Or recognising that <strong>the</strong><br />

afternoon tiredness is due to a 5.00am start<br />

for swimming practice ra<strong>the</strong>r than a latenight<br />

playing Minecraft or Call of Duty. This<br />

allows us to treat our pupils individually and<br />

tailor our expectations according to not just<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir abilities, but also <strong>the</strong>ir personalities. This<br />

is where teachers have <strong>the</strong> advantage over <strong>the</strong><br />

robots and <strong>the</strong> apps.<br />

The use of technology has helped to improve<br />

teaching and learning and will no doubt<br />

continue to do so. But <strong>the</strong> temptation to use<br />

technology just because it exists needs to be<br />

resisted. The bottom line is that if something<br />

improves teaching and learning in our<br />

classrooms <strong>the</strong>n it should be utilised. In 2050,<br />

I still expect teachers to be standing in front<br />

of a classroom, with pupils sitting at desks<br />

in front of <strong>the</strong>m. Our methods of delivering<br />

content and resources will no doubt have<br />

moved on, but <strong>the</strong> general principles of how a<br />

school operates will remain broadly <strong>the</strong> same.<br />

If it hasn’t, well, I’ll have retired by <strong>the</strong>n so it<br />

will be up to <strong>the</strong> next generation of teachers<br />

to wander round in VR headsets on <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

hoverboards, communicating wirelessly with<br />

pupils who are on a beach 500 miles away still<br />

asking “when will we ever use this in real life?”<br />

I hope I’m somewhere on a beach as well.<br />

E: stephen.fenlon@embley.org.uk<br />


Embley Park, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6ZE<br />

Main switchboard: +44 (0) 1794 512206<br />

Email: info@embley.org.uk<br />


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