Dear members of the Marcellin family

It was with real sadness that I learnt of the recent death of the renowned educationalist and author Sir Ken Robinson. It was many years ago that I first watched a TED Talk given by Sir Ken called How to escape education’s death valley. While it had an American context, to this day it remains one of most influential professional learning experiences I have ever had. It drew me in to listening to other talks given by Sir Ken including his 2006 Talk Do schools kill creativity, which still holds the record for the most watched TED Talk of all time – 66 million viewers and counting. I have since read countless articles and papers which have helped to shape my philosophy of what schools should be doing to light the fire of curiosity and creativity in young people.

I’m obviously not the only one here at Marcellin that has been inspired by Sir Ken. The Leadership Team received a wonderful email from our Head of Applied Learning Fran Davy when the news of Sir Ken’s passing came through. Fran spoke eloquently of her admiration for his work in promoting creativity in schools and of his hugely significant legacy.

When we acknowledge such an extraordinary contribution in the field of education it is worth reflecting on our own heritage as a Marist school. It is worth noting that over 200 years ago in the south of France, a young priest called Marcellin Champagnat received stinging criticism from some for setting up new schools where the philosophy was built on the student being at the centre of the learning process. Two centuries on and Marcellin College Bulleen is implementing a learning framework that ensures exactly that. Polaris is focused on tapping into curiosity through greater student choice, a pedagogy that has the student at the centre of learning, and structures that support the development of individual creativity. I’m confident St Marcellin would be well pleased with this twenty-first century interpretation of his vision. 

For Sir Ken Robinson, diversity, curiosity and creativity were always to be put before standardisation, conformity and compliance. He continued to speak and write passionately about these things over many years and his legacy is that many education systems and individual schools right across the world (and therefore countless numbers of children) have benefited greatly.

Vale Ken Robinson

With blessings for the week ahead

John Hickey