What is the Tudor experience?
March 20 2012 by John Stewart, Headmaster
Last week, Sophie and I ventured off site to visit families in Scone and Moree. Australia is a big country and it is not until you are driving for a day you get a fuller understanding of this size. We met many families and were treated to good old country hospitality.
It is clear there are many families who appreciate all that Tudor House offers.
One old boy in Moree – 1950 Tudorian Stuart B. – summed up succinctly the impact of Tudor House:
“You don’t realise it at the time, but the things you learn at Tudor House stay with you for the rest of your life.”
It is the layering of experiences, the friendships made and the practical knowledge that comes as a result of that really bear testament to the benefit of a Tudor experience.
A much younger Old Boy – James H. (currently in Year 10) – also reiterated the benefits at our Scone function. Jamie was in Year Six when I first arrived at Tudor House for Term 4 in 2008. He emphasised Tudor House had given him confidence. He was now fully engaged in Cadets and looking to a future in the ADF as a leader. Jamie was with his father and was insistent: my little brother is going to Tudor.
Another Old Boy commented that we no longer let the boys climb trees. This seems to be perpetuated as a ‘truth’ distinguishing Tudor has changed – traditions have been lost. I reiterated the boys still climb trees, still ride bikes but now there were two recess breaks. I also emphasised that the school must look to offer balance – and therefore there was a scholarship class, a rigorous timetable emphasizing literacy and numeracy, and a major investment in technology.
On Saturday, I took a day to create a timeline of Headmasters, to digitize this school’s heritage. It is now online via our http://facebook.com/TudorHouseSchool/ page, and I ask all parents to take a look.
What was highlighted as I set about this task is the amazing history of Tudor.
Wilfred Inman wrote:
“In a school of this kind, everyone must surely admit that steady and methodical work is far better for young boys than forcing them prematurely in an atmosphere of exams. There is too great a tendency to regard a boy as a mere cramming machine, mainly useful for advertising a school by early success in unnecessary examinations. We don’t look for praise, for our efforts are mainly in the direction of training a boy to ‘learn how to learn’ and to fit him for the larger school to which the preparatory school is supposed to lead.”
I find these words very interesting and wonder whether Inman would believe his holistic philosophy of a good education system stands the test of time. We are faced with more examinations than experienced previously – and all our boys need to ‘compete’ on the NAPLAN playing field in Years 3 and 5.
League tables are now published ranking schools – and I was pleased to hear on 2ST unscripted news on Tudor House’s success in the local area. I also read with interest the ‘positions’ of others – as if it were a form guide. However, the form I reviewed highlighted many schools are teaching to the test – making kids test-smart. I would caution the misguided belief a school with a high NAPLAN result means a well-rounded education. I know from experience, there are schools that drill and kill the fun of learning, leaving teachers stifled as they meet the weekly schedule of test questions, and disengaging boys from appreciating learning is much more than recall.
I would emphasise professionally – there is a real difference between creating performers and developing learners. Performers are trained to compete in a show; learners are engaged and allowed to grow. It comes down to what is education truly for? A mark or for life? Ask Stuart from Moree and he’ll set you straight – Tudor House was an experience of a lifetime for a lifetime. Ask James H. – Tudor House shaped him for life.
Perhaps a true indication of Inman’s philosophy is found in the following correspondence to headmaster ‘Jerry’ Meyer in 1948:
“I was delighted to read in an English paper the other day of a HM who preferred a rough head to one with the abominable dressing so manyh boys use in Sydney. In the crews of both Oxford and Cambridge there was not one oiled head much to my delight, and may I, without being impertinent, trust that the custom of waved hair or oiled heads will ever be considered bad form after education at TH.”
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About Mr John Stewart
For ten years, Mr Stewart taught in the United Kingdom at famous schools, such as Hill House International School in Knightsbridge, London; and St John's College School, Cambridge... Read more
Tudor House Old Boy
Looking back now, my years at Tudor House were amongst the best years of my life. We just had so much fun. And the friends I made are still with me.
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