Seaford’s Headmaster, John Green, was recently interviewed for Sussex Life Magazine, to talk about the changes he’s made over the last 3 years, his determination to continue developing the school, and helping every child to reach their academic and personal bests. Read the interview in full below. If you’d like to find out more, register for our next Open Morning for an informal tour of the school, and a chance to meet John and his senior team.
What makes your school unique?
Ambition is vital and Seaford’s number one focus is to make sure pupils attain the best results they are capable of, their personal best. Seaford isn’t the normal conveyor belt school and I believe in an all-round, inclusive and non-elitist education. This is the strength of Seaford, where pupils are encouraged to be the best they can be – as the School motto states: Reach for the Heights! – Ad Alta!
Seaford is set in over 450 acres of listed parkland nestled at the foot of the South Downs. Students benefit from this space whether it’s training on our first class sports facilities; enjoying the woods at forest school; taking part in Combined Cadet Force; having a music lesson on the terraces or taking our pastoral dog for a walk. Seaford offers an impressive range of extra-curricular activities and has its own golf course and clay pigeon range.
Seaford offers a breadth of choice to meet the needs of the whole family and our focus on the individual is proving to be very alluring. This focus is both in and outside the classroom allowing families to send all of their children to one school. We have individual flight paths to enable a child to reach their personal bests in all subjects. Our unique Challenge Grades system and one-to-one data interviews enable pupils to have realistic and ambitious targets giving them the confidence to succeed. Pupils succeed at Seaford because they believe they can. We have pupils who go to Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities and others who aspire to compete professionally in their chosen sport. Others head off to Art colleges or move on to professional careers in music.
We have a vibrant family community made up of day pupils and we also offer weekly, flexi and full boarding and this choice is proving very popular with busy families.
Was there a teacher who inspired you, and why?
John Davies: Biology teacher, PE and Rugby Coach.
John was an absolutely passionate teacher who made a huge difference to me both in and outside the classroom. John was an outstanding rugby coach who always went the extra mile to run extra sessions both from an academic and rugby coaching perspective. He had such rapport and respect with all pupils – he also had a great sense of humour. John was very inspirational and you always wanted to do your best for him. I invited John to Seaford’s recent Sports Dinner with our guest of honour Sir Gareth Edwards CBE and it was a real pleasure to host him at the school. It was an evening with lots of reminiscing and a chance to remember how significant John has been to me over the years.
How important are extracurricular activities to pupils’ development?
I see them as vital to a pupil’s development. I want everyone at Seaford to be part of a team, because I believe pupils develop important life skills by doing so, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a sports team – it could be a debating team, a choir, a rock band or some other school group. Our entrepreneurial students have a lot of fun and success on the Young Enterprise scheme and gain vital business skills and contacts for the future. We offer a vast range of activities from Green Power where pupils build and race their own cars to jewellery making, fly fishing, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, fencing, drama, horse riding and design and technology where students recently took a Land Rover apart and learnt how to put it back together. There are too many activities to mention!
I also believe that playing sport provides vital benefits to all pupils, regardless of their level of aptitude. At Seaford every pupil has timetabled sports lessons and is encouraged to be part of a team. We don’t want anyone to be left on the bench at Seaford. We have an ethos here of personal bests both inside and outside the classroom, and sport is an important part of that. We also make sure that all A, B and C teams have training with our world-class coaches and compete in fixtures. Many pupils discover a passion for a new activity at Seaford and others go on to a professional career in their chosen sport. We are very lucky to have exceptional facilities, including rugby, football, cricket and hockey pitches, a golf course, an astro-turf field, a swimming pool and a newly developed sports hall.
No matter what extracurricular activity students follow, the skills they develop include teamwork and collaborative work, prioritising and setting targets, independent learning, discipline and setting themselves goals. You learn far more from the people around you, whether it’s in school, business, or wherever, if you can get used to working as a team for a goal.
Competing in any extracurricular activity and particularly with sport, the idea of sportsmanship kicks in right from the very start. It’s pure common courtesy. It teaches you about meeting people, greeting people, being gracious in defeat, thinking, ‘How can I improve?’ Congratulating those who have earned success, perhaps got a job over you, then accepting it’s being done for a reason, accepting a decision. These are important life skills for the future.
The next Seaford College Open Morning will be on Saturday 4th February 2017, 9-11am. Please register your interest with the Open Day Form. We look forward to seeing you there!