Last Thursday saw the exciting launch of the latest season of Look Out lectures. As part of the Forest Diploma, all Sixth Formers attend fortnightly lectures from nationally and internationally recognised speakers in their respective fields.

The Look Out format- a 50-minute talk is followed by breakaway discussion groups, before pupils finally reconvene for an-depth Q&A session- enables students to truly get to grips with the issues under consideration. The purpose is to help pupils gain a stronger sense of themselves as active participants in a modern liberal democracy, as well as developing crucial listening, communication and critical thinking skills.

The opening speaker of this year’s programme was Richard McCann, who shared his personal journey through life with us in a talk that was by turns heart breaking, deeply poignant, hilarious and ultimately inspirational. Richard is a Sunday Times best-selling author and motivational speaker who has overcome huge adversity to get to where he is today. His childhood was marked by terrible tragedy; the murder of his mother, Wilma McCann, at the hands of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, sparked off a series of events which eventually led to imprisonment. From these bleak beginnings, however, Richard has managed to rebuild his life, showing huge resilience in the process. He demonstrated how tenacity and a positive attitude- and a willingness to put yourself forward, take positive risks, and be enthusiastic in everything you do- can help individuals to rise above their personal circumstances. His philosophy is an incredibly uplifting one: that everyone has the potential to say “I can” when faced with the challenges of life. Richard is an incredible speaker and his words truly struck a chord with our Sixth Formers.

 

What the pupils said

“It was a really interesting lecture and fascinating story from someone who didn’t have a privileged background but managed to turn his life around by having a positive mental attitude.”

 

“Richard’s not just told us his story, but taught us beneficial lessons from it. I think it was very humbling to hear Richard. In a private school, where many of the pupils most probably do not appreciate enough what they have, talks like Richard’s are vital. They bring humility and drown away taking anything for granted.”

 

“Really inspirational, and gave a lot of people a hard hitting reality check which hopefully will be really beneficial.”

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