Shrewsbury School

Personal and Social Development workshops and lectures

Thursday 27 June 2019

During the post-exam period, two highly rated speakers and two thought-provoking workshops have focused pupils' minds on a broad range of issues, including gender equality, addiction, ethics in relationships and inflating our balloons of self-belief.

James Shone from the charity I Can and I Am spoke inspirationally to four different year groups on the topic of “Inflating our Balloons of Self-belief”.

Following a 16-year teaching career and having been offered a job as Headmaster in 2012, James was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Following 27 hours of brain surgery, James unfortunately lost the majority of his sight. James showed us how he embodies a positive attitude to life and a determination to turn setbacks into springboards. In his talks he aimed to inspire confidence in every individual to enable them to know who they are and what they are able to do, rather than focusing on what they can’t.

Patrick Foster shared his journey about a severe addiction to gambling with Fifth Form and Lower Sixth in an emotional, gritty and enthralling talk “Before the Fun Stops, Stop”. Having heard about his high-profile boarding school days, his professional cricket career, a solid university experience and then his glamourous job in London, we then learned about how things unravelled and spiralled out of control in his new career teaching at a prep school. He discussed some of the problems and the isolation that can occur with gambling addiction and many other manifestations of addictions.

James Shone and Patrick Foster related extremely well to Salopians, having both had successful backgrounds at schools very similar to Shrewsbury. We are very grateful to them for speaking so frankly, discussing their successes as well as giving candid first-hand stories about how certain events can hugely change lives and about the impact this has upon those closest to you.

The Good Lad Initiative led a three-hour participatory workshop to engage Third Form boys in discussions about gender equality.

Rigid gender stereotypes impact everyone, can have negative consequences in the short and long term and contribute to gender inequality. We wanted to start a vital conversation with our youngest year group about the state of gender inequality that helped them become aware of the issues, but crucially, also made them think about being part of the solution.

We split the boys into groups of 20 facilitated by two of the Good Lad Initiative volunteers. This gave the groups plenty of time for high quality, thoughtful discussion. The approach was to get the boys learning from each other as well as from the facilitators. No one claimed to have all the answers – and they told the boys that from the start – they were there to get them talking, questioning and thinking about the issues in new ways.

Gareth Cheesman from ACET UK delivered a Lower Sixth group workshop on "Ethics in Modern Relationships". Some of the ideas discussed concerned:

  • Who owns your body? You, your parents or the state?
  • What rights do you have about your body?
  • What responsibilities do you have with your body?
  • Is it a responsibility to keep it healthy? Why?
  • Is it a responsibility to keep it clean? Why?
  • If we are living without a physical disability, is there an ethical responsibility to make good use of our body?
  • Do we have a responsibility to our species to reproduce? As without reproduction we will die out as a species. Or is our world so overpopulated we have a responsibility to our planet to not reproduce?
  • Does the source of an ethical principle impact how much you value it?

Gareth offered a refreshing approach to Relationships and Sex Education by engaging pupils in conversation rather than by lecturing about the issues.

Mr Farmer
Director of Welfare

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