“….direct the minds of your children in the way of a right attitude towards their neighbours, whatever their fortune in life might be….”
Mr A Bovet was appointed Principal at Sir John Adamson High School in July 1946. At the start of 1947, he transferred to the Principalship of Forest High School. For many years thereafter, he permitted the sportsfields of Forest High School to be used by the pupils and staff of Sir John.
EXTRACT FROM THE 1946 PRINCIPAL’S LETTER TO PARENTS
Changes seem to be the order of the day at Sir John Adamson. Even in my very short time here I have experienced many comings and goings amongst pupils and staff. Every year, I understand, at least half the pupils are replaced, and a complete change takes place every three years. On the staff, changes have been frequent. As change is a sign of life, we need not yet let that state of affairs worry us. The important thing to remember is that every individual, whether pupil or teacher, who passes through Sir John Adamson, for however short a period, is a contributor towards the building up of the tradition and the name of the school.
This tradition has been soundly laid during the last 44 years by a very worthy succession of learners and teachers, all of whom are rightly proud of their association with this School. We, as a School, are proud of them. But a tradition in a school can be a good or a bad thing: it is bad when it reaches the static stage; it is good so long as it is and remains in the making. And so we who are here now must regard ourselves not so much as the guardians of a tradition but as builders of the School, and every member of the staff, has this important responsibility to fill, a responsibility which we cannot escape because we exert some influence – whether we wish it or not – and if it is not in the right direction it must be in the wrong.
Now where do you – the parents – come into this picture? Is it possible for you to be mere spectators, watching from outside the flow of events in the School – the making of the School? I think you would all agree that that is not possible. Even if you were not given an opportunity – which I sincerely hope will be provided in the near future – or are unable to take the opportunity of contributing directly to the development of the School, through different forms of parents’ associations, you cannot escape the fact that your children’s attitude towards their school is largely a reflection of your own attitude. This may be an alarming thought to some, but it is undoubtedly true. If you regard school as important, and not merely as a stop-gap, it will help your children to take it seriously and will reduce their desire to leave before reaching an adequate stage in their standard of education. If you accept the inconvenience of subordinating your own personal arrangements to suit the School timetable, it will undoubtedly help to develop a sense of regularity and punctuality in your children, which will not only benefit their work, but avoid the unfortunate necessity of external means of discipline ( in this respect I must mention my alarm at the amount of lateness in the mornings), or irregularity of attendance for trivial reasons, and especially of notes from parents asking for their children to be allowed to leave school early.
These things all tend to unsettle the children at a time when it is particularly necessary for us at school and at home to combat the prevailing unsettled conditions. If you take the necessary steps to ensure that your children are able to wear the School uniform, and are always neat and tidy in their appearance, it will have an effect on them far beyond anything that you can conceive, and at the same time raise the tone of the School generally. If you ensure, by paying the School subscription promptly or by sending a note to the Principal explaining your inability to do so, then your children will not experience the discomfort of being questioned about their overdue subs. You will be helping in developing their self-respect. If you regard the bioscope and other forms of amusement in their true perspective, and control with discrimination the participation of your children in these forms of amusement, you can help them considerably in forming sounder values of life, and can encourage them to devote more time to the development of their minds either through their homework given to them by the School or through the voluntary and intelligent pursuit of their interests.
If you take an interest in the good works of men – and all the appeals which come our way surely give us ample opportunity for that – you will help direct the minds of your children in the way of a right attitude towards their neighbours, whatever their fortune in life might be.
All these things we strive to achieve at school. But our efforts are largely wasted if the children are brought up to feel that these are matters belonging exclusively to the School. To establish a correlation between school and life we rely on you the parents; and when that is established you will have done more than we can do to raise the status of the School from that of a purely academic institution to that of a real dynamic factor in the lives and development of the children.
I am not in this letter giving you the usual review of the School’s activities during the past year, as I am a newcomer here. The magazine as a whole will supply that information. This letter is the new Head’s heart-to-heart talk with you as he assumes his responsibility; and I sincerely hope that you will take my remarks in the spirit in which they are written, having but one object in mind: the good of your children.