The Latymer Link - page 3

O
ver a career in education one becomes accustomed to the rhythm of the academic year, but I don’t
believe that anyone could become bored whilst working at Latymer. The community is one of like minds,
devoted to the ambition that students will leave with outstanding qualifications and a start in life enriched in
other ways by their time at the school. It has been a privilege and a joy to lead the school since September
2005.
Captain Kirk had a Prime Directive: don’t interfere in the internal development of civilisations on other worlds.
What is the Prime Directive for a headteacher? What is a school for, what is the school’s aim, what does the
school stand for? Is Latymer’s purpose to produce members of a future workforce, to convey the best of
what has been learnt in civilisation up to now, to disseminate a cultural inheritance, to facilitate bright 11 year
olds maturing into independent, thriving young adults? Thoughtful schools grapple with these philosophical
questions.
At Latymer I have seen socialised behaviours leading to gains in learning, and the stability that allows altruism
and initiative to thrive. In the week that I write, the Whole School Assembly, a tremendously important
element of the timetabled week, was led by a group of students. There was no staff involvement. The group
for several years have been the Barnet Hospital Youth Advisory Panel. They have worked with hospital staff
for a long time and have had input into the refurbishment and working practices of the children’s ward.
Two members of the hospital staff came to accept the gift of two ipads for patients to use. They seemed
more overawed speaking to nearly 1000 people than the student presenters. Altruism and initiative were in
evidence on this occasion. And that is only one such group of students. Individuals at Latymer excel; when
they combine with a common aim, whether it is a performance in a chamber concert or a Duke of Edinburgh
expedition, team-working skills are developed for life.
I am very grateful that Latymer has provided me with daily interest, the challenge of teaching very bright
young people, the security of serving with committed, highly performing colleagues, both teachers and
support staff and the generous support, financial and in promoting the school’s philosophy, of parents. It has
been enormously satisfying to captain the ship for a decade; I wish Mrs Cobbett well for next term and look
forward to hearing of future successes.
For me in the future, perhaps a little work in education, but immediate plans are to sail across the Atlantic and
then move to the calmer waters of Chichester harbour. Here or there or seas asunder, One great name we
shelter under. Sing it Latymer loud and long, Fifty, hundred, a thousand strong.
Mark Garbett
Farewell Mark Garbett
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