Goldilocks may have been onto something: porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold is undoubtedly best. Her wisdom may be applied beyond breakfast: planets neither too far from nor too close to stars are ‘Goldilocks’ ones, best suited to hosting life. Can this principle be applied to schools? Chafyn Grove is big enough to offer enviable facilities and opportunities, but small enough to ensure that they fit each child. There are enough children to ensure that there are good numbers of boys and girls for successful teams and friendships, but everyone still knows everyone.
That last principle is our secret ingredient. Whether it’s having lunch together, learning a lesson or taking a trip, staff and pupils know each other in as many ways as possible. That personal understanding helps the teachers tailor their provision to the individual. The more meaningfully the children know the adults, the greater the trust. That leads on to our favourite Goldilocks test: Enjoyable Challenge. Too much is intimidating, too little is dull; in between lies the bedrock of discovery.
Breaking and entering, vandalism and theft aside, Goldilocks would be welcome at Chafyn Grove. I’m certain she’d find our balance (and food) ‘just right.’