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Young Bond author Charlie Higson encourages students to be “fresh thinkers”

Monday 22nd October 2018

Students at Sexey’s School, a state boarding school in Bruton, were captivated at today’s Speech Day, as author, comedian and actor Charlie Higson addressed the audience of students, staff, parents and governors.

Mr Higson, who had spent time working with the Year 8 students on developing their adventure writing earlier in the day, reflected on the role of education and schools in today’s evolving world. “What actually makes a good, rounded education?” he asked. “Has access to information and knowledge online made traditional school learning redundant? Should we instead be teaching our kids how to navigate this difficult new online world?

Echoing the news this month that Ofsted will be no longer focusing on exams and results in its inspections, Charlie emphasised the need to encourage creativity and problem-solving in schools, to “fire up kids’ imaginations”. He continued, “The most valuable commodity in the modern world is IP - intellectual property. Original ideas make the billions, not rote learning. But in the current structure, aren’t we simply encouraging a generation of kids who all know exactly the same thing? Where is the creativity going to come from? The fresh thinking?”

With that in mind, Charlie was pleased to celebrate the success of Sexey’s ‘fresh thinkers’, awarding the Speech Day prizes to Sexeians past and present.

Commenting, Mrs Helen Cullen, Headteacher at Sexey’s School said, “We thank Charlie for taking the time from his extremely busy schedule to come and share Speech Day with us, and particularly for his vital words on the value of fresh thinking and persistent curiosity. We aim to teach our students to be curious and to make their own opportunities and Charlie’s words were an excellent reinforcement of the importance of that.”

Charlie Higson is a successful author, actor, comedian and writer for television and radio. He wrote the phenomenally successful Young Bond series which has now sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages. The first novel in his bestselling zombie-adventure series for teenagers, The Enemy, was published by Puffin in September 2009, with the seventh and last – The End, published in 2017. Both books have been published to great critical acclaim. After leaving university, Charlie formed a band, The Higsons. He then became a decorator before turning to the world of television and going into partnership Paul Whitehouse. His television successes have included Saturday Live, the Harry Enfield Television Programme, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Shooting Stars and of course, the Fast Show. Charlie and Paul also co-produced the controversial and award-winning spoof radio series Down the Line for BBC Radio 4, in which they also both performed, which became the television comedy series Bellamy’s People, on BBC 2, inspired by the Radio series. Most recently Charlie created the series Jekyll & Hyde for ITV. The series was a great commercial and critical success.

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