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Mrs Raja’s Blog

Mrs Sarah Raja, Head of Junior School

‘Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous,’ Confucius.

‘How’s it going?’ is probably the question I have been asked most frequently over the past 10 weeks. Having taken on a new role it is not surprising that well-meaning friends, family and colleagues ask after my progress. More surprising, perhaps, is my inability to answer them with anything more eloquent than, “good, thank you.” For whilst I know that I am thoroughly enjoying the new experience, I haven’t really paused for long enough to reflect more deeply. With the words of Confucius in mind, I have made a conscious decision to spend some time over the Christmas break reflecting on the past term and looking ahead to the next and, having come to the end of their first term in a new year group, I would encourage all of our pupils to do the same. What are you proud of? What have you found challenging? And most importantly, what have you learnt?

The possible answers to the first question are too many to list here, but even a small sample demonstrates the breadth and reach of our pupils’ talents. The many University offers already received by our Upper Sixth pupils. Our Year 6 Raspberry Pi Team, whose work has been shortlisted for a TES Independent School Award. The excellent CROYMUN Conference, which took place in November and hosted over 280 delegates from 27 different schools. The fantastic Ivy Letters initiative in Years 5 and 9, which invites current pupils to write to our alumnae to share their experiences of Croydon High over the past 50 years. The incredible ‘She’, written and performed by the pupils themselves and in receipt of rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. ‘Angel Express’, ‘Jesus’ Christmas Party’ and a ‘Celebration of Christmas’ performed by Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 girls respectively. And of course, too many sports fixtures to mention!

With such a busy term behind us, it is hardly surprising that carving out time for reflection can be difficult, but the benefits of doing so should not be underestimated. The America philosopher, John Dewey stated that, ‘we do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.’ If true, then reflection could be considered the most important part of the learning process. With this in mind, I intend to observe the following advice over the holidays and would encourage all of our pupils to do the same:

  • Find some time for yourself over Christmas
  • Reflect on your experiences over the past term
  • Give yourself credit for your positive achievements
  • Give particular time to reflecting on the challenges you have faced
  • Consider your priorities for next term – are there any changes you need to make?
  • Ask others for their input and try your best to listen to it – teachers, friends and family may well have some useful insights for you
  • Relax – walk, read, socialise or do whatever you need to ensure that you come back in January refreshed and re-focused for the term ahead

Wishing you all a relaxing and reflective Christmas break.

Mrs Sarah Raja

Head of Junior School


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