Last week, one of the schools within Samuel Ward Academy Trust was privileged to have a Royal visitor.
Castle Manor Academy were honoured to host the Earl of Wessex and it was a fitting tribute to the outstanding work the school has done in promoting the Duke of Edinburgh awards and the benefits of outdoor learning.
I also know how important the visit was. There are not many opportunities for a student to have a member of the Royal Family visit his school and it was heart-warming to hear such positive feedback after the visit had taken place.
It was a similar reaction to when the Duchess of Cornwall visited Newmarket Academy last year and students from the school were also on hand to meet with the Earl of Wessex when he went from Haverhill to Newmarket last week.
It also got me thinking about the importance of having these big visitors to school.
Royal visits bring with them a sense of grandeur that makes it extra special for students, staff and governors alike.
But there is equal stardust when Olympians and Paralympians visit schools as they are showing what hard work and dedication can really achieve.
But you don’t need to have a gold medal to be inspirational.
Our schools work closely with their local community to ensure students are acutely aware of what life is like when they finish their studies.
Whether it be interview preparation, work experience or guest visits, successful people from the world of work can be equally inspiring for our young minds.
Achieving in the classroom will always be paramount. But schools have a duty to also ensure students are work-ready or, in the case of Castle Manor, go above and beyond their traditional classroom-based lessons.
A great education must be more than just exam results. For some, it’s the broad curriculum that ensures not just a passing acquaintance with the creative and performing arts, wide participation in sport and exercise, the development of confidence and resilience and the being ready for life with all its joys and demands.
For others, it’s the contribution to society that the best schools make – through fundraising for charities or an understanding and active contribution to looking after our planet.
Of course, we want it all for our children and are fortunate to have skilled leaders working with their colleagues each day to achieve it all.