Memories and affection

I was asked to write something about my involvement with Fyling Hall School and ever since I have been debating what I can write. As a solicitor, writing letters has become second nature but what can I add to the memories and affection of Fyling Hall that have been shared by so many that have been touched by the school…

I was a pupil from 1993 until 2001. I arrived at the school as an 11 year old girl and left at 18 with life skills that have helped me ever since. As a trustee my involvement hasn’t ended. I feel privileged to have become a member of the Board of Trustees that safeguards the school, ensuring that it continues in its ethos for generations to come.

The school has produced so many successes; fame and fortune for some as you will see if you look through the alumni pages…but actually the truest successes of the school are the number of students who leave with “old heads on young shoulders”. Young people who may not achieve fame and fortune but leave with more than just exam grades…an ability to have a conversation, to listen to others, to care and show compassion. A resilience and determination to be the best that they can be and a sense that they have been supported by staff who are devoted to their success.

Fyling Hall is non-selective and proud of that. Children are not defined by the grades that they can achieve but by the people they are and have the potential to become.

In life, more than ever, the pace has changed. Bureaucracy seems to have infiltrated every aspect of adult life and this “digital age” whilst offering new opportunities and a new way of existence does have its downfalls. Good education has become defined by government officials who sadly have spent little (if any) time in a classroom…I am not writing a critique of the failings in the education system but I am trying to express what sets Fyling Hall apart.

What sets it apart is an understanding and an appreciation of the belief that education is as much about experiences as it is about academic grades.

I have not fallen far from the Fyling Hall family tree – in fact I look up at Ramsdale Woods from my house every day. I see the dailies from the village catching the bus each morning and the boarders ambling down to the village for sweets at the weekend. The way of life remains, to a large extent, as it was during my school years. How fantastic that in a world where non-stop emails and digital communication haunt so many of our professional adult lives that this little school that does such great things continues with the same ethos; making childhoods richer through learning and experiences. Horse riding, mountain biking, Duke of Edinburgh, forest school, Harry Potter School (for the juniors), beach cleaning, concerts in the Rose Garden, impromptu lessons taken outdoors in the gardens when the weather permits… An oasis in what is frankly now, more than ever, a pretty mad world to live in.

My memories from my time at the school are not dissimilar to so many other alumni of Fyling Hall but they are mine so are precious to me. The fancy dress event where a boy I forget the name of came dressed as a bed with one of the boarding house mattresses tied to his back, the numerous times the buses couldn’t get down to the school in the snow, horses escaping, the hunt hounds appearing in the geography lesson, cross country runs (the running is unlikely to be a real memory of mine as I have no doubt anyone reading this that knew me at the time would point out!), art lessons spent sketching on the beach at Boggle Hole…what an amazing place for any child to flourish.

Happy memories last forever. In a world where national curriculum dictates what so many educational institutions must teach and when, where is the focus on an individual child, on his or her experiences and abilities? This is a question I do feel I can answer. It is located here in the North York Moors National Park; here looking out to Ravenscar; here at Fyling Hall School. Come and visit us. Come and see.