The Context

At the Grammar School we are not just educating our boys: we are helping them to grow into men. Our GREAT Men Initiative is about drawing our thousand-strong community together to talk meaningfully about masculinity.

It’s a tough time to be a young man:

  • There is a widely reported growth in depression, anxiety and a sense of isolation amongst boys – over half of mental ill-health starts by the age of 14.
  • Masculinity itself is under scrutiny in the media and is often associated with unacceptable behaviours.
  • Boys face an increasing absence of strong male role models.

We live, and our boys are growing up, in a world which can conspire to rob young men of fulfilment and happiness. This is not what we want, nor what they deserve.

Our Aims

We want our boys to grow into men who are:

  • Good role-models – leaders with integrity and sound judgement.
  • Resilient and tough, able to make and learn from mistakes and become stronger as they do so.
  • Emotionally aware, knowing who they are but sensitively aware of who others are too.
  • Let’s be honest: boys aren’t always good at talking. We want them to be articulate, to be open to talk and also listen respectfully and positively.

Our aim is for our boys to be confident young men who emerge from school steadfast in who they are and in the values they embody; ready to take their rightful place in the world and to make a difference through how they live their lives.

What we are doing

We are starting a conversation with our boys which lasts all seven years of their time in our community.

  • Boys experience male role models particularly in the House system, as the junior boys mix with and are mentored by the senior boys.
  • Conversation is a priority for the boys in their lessons, in their time with their tutors, and in their social time together.
  • The boys get opportunities to speak and give presentations to their peers, to their year groups and even to the whole gathered school.
  • We provide opportunities for genuine and significant leadership within the school community.
  • We help the boys to engage with adult opinions – for example, members of staff have been filmed giving short Vlogs on topics related to masculinity, which are used in PSHE lessons to spark discussions and conversation.
  • Physical play and competition is embedded into the daily life of the School, and our Student Council have just taken over the running of the play spaces which all the boys enjoy.
  • There is a strongly articulated vision from the school’s leadership and ongoing staff training on how boys can be enabled and empowered to talk, discuss and learn about themselves and the wider world.

Our one thousand boys are positively embracing their masculinity and maturing into young men prepared for the challenges, opportunities and adventures life will bring.

We’ve started the conversation.

We’re talking together and encouraging each other.

Our boys are becoming GREAT men.