Books and screens

Welcome back everyone.

The start of a new term is always a great opportunity to remind everyone of our vision and I have enjoyed talking to staff about our belief in the limitless capacity of all pupils to achieve great things. We all firmly believe that what we become comes from hard work, fantastic support and great teaching.

At the start of every term I am always asked by families what they can additionally do to support their child’s education. My answer always starts with two topics, read as much as possible and reduce the time spent on smart phones and screens.

Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success. It is one of the most important predictors of test scores at age 16. The more children are read to and the more they read for pleasure, the more successful their lives will be. Their vocabluary is better, their academic ability is greater and they perform better in all subjects, not just English. Reading also improves empathy skills and there is a string correlation between regular reading and mental wellbeing.

The overuse of smart phones means that children can become addicted, monopolised and then controlled by these devices. This addiction can be seen when mealtimes, conversations and social interactions are consistently interrupted with a checking of the phone. These products are made more addictive because it will make companies more money. If they are hooked as children, then they are hooked for life. The addiction can cause mental health problems, loneliness and a breakdown in healthy communication. It can lead to anxiety, insomnia and relationship issues. It can lead to children craving instant gratification, by counting views, likes and subscribers rather than appreciating the delayed benefits of effort and hard work. Worryingly, the comfort blanket of a screen leads to children saying things they would never dream of saying face to face.

My message to start the term is to read more and use screens less. I hope everyone has a lovely week.