Wednesday, 9 May 2018

"For things to remain the same, everything must change"


I was interested to see an article in a recent edition of the White Horse News on the discovery of the grave of John Matravers. When he died in 1753, Matravers left £1000 in his will to set up an educational establishment for the children of Westbury. His bequest was used in 1814 to found a new 'charity school' for the sons and daughters of ordinary working people. Matravers School, named in honour of the benefactor, is a direct descendant from that original place of learning. I wonder what the man himself would think of modern Matravers, with its interactive white boards, and other techy stuff? 

My time as chair of governors at Matravers doesn't quite stretch back to the school's historic origins. But mine has been rather a lengthy period of office, starting in July 2013. It's been a privilege and I still enjoy serving as chair, but from now on I will be sharing the role with a colleague, Mr. Brian Ralph. 

Brian has been a governor at the school since November 2014. He was vice chair of governors and is chair of our Resources committee. Brian's children attended the school. With his background in the military and business management skills, he brings a wealth of experience to his role as co-chair. Brian is as committed as I am to ensuring that Matravers School continues to go from strength to strength. 

Our ambition is to be a system leading school. The board's Vision Statement includes the commitment, "Our bespoke collaborations with other organisations will positively influence both our own learning community and the wider education system." The move to co-chairing is designed to enable me to play a wider role in the school system. I have joined the board of the Wiltshire Governors' Association and have been appointed to serve on the Wiltshire Education Standards Board. WESB has been set up to oversee all schools and academies in the county from September 2018. 

It has been said, "For things to remain the same, everything must change". John Matravers wanted to ensure that children from the Westbury area had access to an education that would help set them up for life. We remain true to that same vision, although approaches to schooling will have changed massively over the centuries. 

There have been many changes at Matravers even during the time I have served as chair. Hopefully for the better. But the school's essence remains intact. We continue to offer a broad, balanced, arts-rich education to the young people of Westbury and beyond. I hope old John Matravers would approve.