Dear Prospective Parent,
Headfort has a first-rate academic record. The school has always prided itself on the success of its past pupils in their secondary schools – historically and currently, the leading schools in Ireland and Britain. But I don’t want to start this prospectus with a dreary, though apt, list of academic accomplishments. Instead, the aspect of Headfort life to which I want to draw first attention is a more ineffable one: the children at Headfort are happy – that’s the thing that most impresses first-time visitors.
The day pupils run eagerly from their parents’ cars in the morning, and often have to be coaxed to go home at 6.00 p.m. Likewise, the boarders dash away from their parents and into the school on a Sunday evening, keen to see their friends again.
The children’s happiness is central and precious. We give our pupils tremendous freedom at Headfort. There are acres of space and – just as important – plenty of time in which to enjoy that space. The children love to explore the woods and lawns and playing fields. Fort-building (at the edge of one of the woods) has always been one of the most popular pastimes; it was in my day as a pupil in the 1970s, and it is today.
Of course, the Staff constantly patrol: children can’t be given the freedom to do anything they may want! But our pupils do seem to recognise the magical qualities of Headfort; and they ‘lean into’ the magic in a wonderfully unselfconscious way. Quite simply, they love the place, and, at the end of their time with us, pupils tend to leave Headfort as thoughtful, confident, well-rounded young people.