North Bridge House Heads Inspire at Renowned Festival of Education

On Thursday 22nd June, North Bridge House Head Teachers inspired policy makers, educators and practitioners of change at the Telegraph Festival of Education. Jonathan Taylor of NBH Senior & Sixth Form Canonbury and Brodie Bibby of NBH Preparatory were selected from over 900 applicants to speak at this leading forum for education leadership, development and debate.

Jonathan Taylor, well-known in the education sector already for his interest in better understanding the teenage brain, was invited to talk on this topic to peers from across the independent and state sectors.

Mr Taylor explained to his audience: “Adolescence is a highly charged time of life and too often the profound biological changes occurring are under-acknowledged by teachers and parents.” He also went on to say, “whilst we shouldn’t encourage excessive risk-taking behaviour amongst teenagers, it is important to understand that the imbalanced development of their brains makes greater risk-taking behaviour all but inevitable and as educators we need to expect, understand and prepare for this.”

Mr Taylor also elaborated on the approach taken at NBH Canonbury, including the benefits of a later school start for its Sixth Formers. He referenced a study by the Nuffield Department at the University of Oxford, which likens asking an adolescent to get up at 7am for school at 9am to asking a 55-year-old to get up at 5am!

Continuing with the theme of understanding children and the way they think, Brodie Bibby, NBH Prep School Head for the past 11 years, was asked to speak to audiences about his interest and advocacy for the ‘Philosophy for Children’ programme. Mr Bibby is a strong believer in encouraging children to question and remain inquisitive throughout their time at school and beyond.

Mr Bibby said: “I believe that children are natural philosophers – open-minded, naturally curious and constantly asking themselves, their teachers, parents and friends philosophical questions – whether they realise it or not! From the big questions such as ‘Why we are here?’ to ‘Can being selfish be a good thing?’, I strongly advocate the use of ‘P4C’ to allow children to think and debate issues, either practical or theoretical.”

Mr Taylor and Mr Bibby joined the thousands of festival-goers on Thursday and Friday, exploring; celebrating; learning; debating and connecting with other teachers, students and parents at Wellington College, Berkshire.