The Wimbledon School Where Failure Is An Option

Girls encouraged not to wonder...."if only"

Pupils at a Wimbledon school more used to striving for success are about to embark on a "Failure Week".

Wimbledon High School will be encouraging girls to put failure into context and learn from it, during the special week, which starts on Monday (February 6).

The Mansel Road independent school says actitivities will include assemblies focussing on the subject of failure, with examples of successful people, including famous names and teachers, who have 'failed’ along the way.

Teachers will discuss the merits of failure, sharing a 'failure' they faced in their lives with their students and discuss how they came through it.

Parents will also be encouraged to discuss any 'failures' they have had with their daughters and what they learnt from them.

School headmistress, Heather Hanbury, who came to teaching after a career in management consultancy, is adamant that success and satisfaction in life can come from "daring to fail and daring to get it wrong".

She said: "My message to girls is that it is better to lead a life replete with disappointment than one where you constantly wonder 'if only.....'. The examples I use include: 'If only I'd tried out for the first team, I might have been selected'. 'If only I'd applied for that job, I might have been successful'. I want to suggest to girls that it is acceptable and completely normal, not to succeed at times in life.

"'Failure Week' complements what we do throughout the school, which is to encourage our girls to be courageous and to take calculated risks. We give our students plenty of support and opportunities to try new things in and outside the classroom.

"For high achieving girls especially, where the fear of failure can be crippling, this intellectual resilience and robustness is vitally important. Successful people learn from failure, pick themselves up and move on. Something going wrong may even have been the best thing that could have happened."

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February 8, 2012