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Friday, 20 October 2017
The Cinderella Principle

The Cinderella Principle
Posted 16/03/2016 09:45

'Everyone has a right to learn, and will do so, given the right kinds of support'

Following the recent Leadership Conference of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA), where we focused on the power of principles in shaping school cultures, I'm more convinced than ever of the transformative nature of this simple realisation.

Speaking of simplicity, here's another realisation that will come as an earth-shattering insight. When families embark on an expatriate career, they take their children with them. All of them. It's not, "Sorry, Billy, you learn differently. We'll be back in five years. There are sandwiches in the fridge".

So, what's the role of international schools? What are we here for? Surely it's a simple answer: "to educate the children of globally mobile families. All of them". If it's not our primary purpose, whose is it? Are there smarter schools than ours out there, better equipped for this purpose? I trust not. Is it the responsibility of national schools to educate international students? I think not.

The responsibility is ours, unless we're comfortable creating a Cinderella in the family, the forgotten child excluded from the main event, an international education.

Deciding to meet that responsibility is, simply, deciding to meet our obligations as leaders in education, if we accept the simple definition of leadership as "doing the right thing". I am conscious of the heavy use of simple here. In fact, if we accept the definition of management as "doing things right" then I can confirm that the management of inclusive schools is far from simple. It requires high levels of conceptual understanding, competence and character but it can be done, and done wonderfully well.

The Next Frontier Inclusion (NFI) exists to support schools in the management of inclusion, the carefully developed systems involved in doing things right. But we can't oblige anyone to do the right thing. That's leadership. Leadership is down to individuals and their own conscience.

Anyone who has taken this step will confirm that there is no turning back, and no regrets. Inclusion transforms individuals and schools. Schools get better in both senses: smarter and morally sounder. In inclusive schools, everybody learns, everybody wins..... everybody goes to the ball.

Kevin Bartlett
CGC Design Team