Schools as communities in the widest sense
– Mark Wallace, Principal of Lincoln Minster School
Schools today have a much wider focus within their communities. Whether that is because they want to be seen simply as a 'good neighbour' or they actually want to make a contribution or difference is down to the leadership. Certainly, independent schools, and particularly those with a boarding element, take their responsibility to the community very seriously, both internally and externally. A wide international mix of pupils helps to broaden horizons in the classroom and in the boarding houses, and small 'sleepy villages' can come alive during term-time with the mix of pupils passing through the local shops.
A rich environment
Schools like Lincoln Minster benefit wholeheartedly from the experience of a multi-faceted microcosm of our global society. The classroom environment is far richer and far more laden with opportunity and discovery than ever before, both for teachers and pupils. Consider the environment in which a boarder at an independent school will grow up. It is much more than the 'long sleepover'. Taking responsibility for their own space and tidiness, initiating activities or games and planning outings and trips are just some examples of how boarding gives leadership opportunities to pupils as well as a sense of self-worth.
More and more boarding schools are playing an active role in their communities whereby they are adopting a local charity to support over the course of an academic year through visits and fundraising initiatives. I know a school where during a particularly harsh winter, the boarders borrowed a number of shovels from the maintenance team and then cleared the snow from their neighbours’ driveways. The local newspaper loved this story as did the neighbours!
Mark Wallace became Principal of Lincoln Minster School in September 2015. His previous leadership roles have been at Kingston Grammar School, where he was Principal Deputy Head as well as Acting Head for a period of time, and Caterham School (part of the same United Learning Group as LMS), where Mark was Head of Boys' Boarding and Head of Sixth Form. Mark's academic background is Mathematics and he had a spell working in the banking sector. He enjoys all sports, in particular golf and hockey, and has held a number of Board positions of local associations and societies including Chairman. In hockey, Mark has enjoyed regional, provincial and national levels of representation at all age levels. Mark enjoys charitable fundraising and has been in the Guinness Book of World Records on two occasions. Mark is married to Cathriona and they have three children.