Two year-nine students at Farlington School, Gaby Eltham and Natasha Pennington, were amongst those inspired by this year’s Windlesham Lectures, entitled ‘A Force for Good’, which focused on developing responsibility and character innovation. Speakers included the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, the headmasters of Eton and Harrow, Tony Little and Jim Hawkins, Lord Michael Hastings CBE, KPMG International’s global head of corporate citizenship, and Chanté Joseph from the charity Step Up to Serve.
The focus of the day was on education for responsibility and standing for a purpose greater than oneself. Tony Little, the headmaster from Eton, asked the students to “unleash their appetite for knowledge”, while Chanté Joseph promoted social action for young people and aimed to inspire students to use their privilege to help others.
Over the course of the afternoon, the students learnt about issues and initiatives that could equip them to lead and make a difference. They were asked for their opinions on democracy, education and global responsibility. During one feedback session Natasha volunteered to speak and suggested that one approach to helping everyone have the tools they needed for education around the world would be to make backpacks which would be, in her own words, “a school starter kit for those that couldn’t afford it and include uniforms, books and pens and pencils”.
Jean Ward, Farlington’s head of learning support and challenge, who took Gaby and Natasha to the lectures, said: “After the session the girls were buzzing with ideas about how they could make a difference. The aim of this event was to inspire pupils to become leading citizens in their schools and communities.
“I am sure that it did just that and I hope we will be hearing more about issues of social responsibility from Gaby and Natasha – our children of the future. Jim Hawkins, the headmaster of Harrow, quite suitably summarised his speech with the words of Mark Twain, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why’.”