As this Autumn term 2014 closes, it does so with newsletter, publications and reports galore for parents and pupils to read and enjoy. Some of the creative writing in the Christmas edition of Scribblings is quite extraordinary, capturing in very different ways the ideas around remembrance. As the Sporting Court Circular shows too, the sheer range and diversity of achievements by our pupils within sport last year raises the heart beat and takes my breath away – and I am just reading the prose, not participating in any way.
At the close of 2014 our community is some 1010 pupils and 200+ staff, working so successfully that we provide living testament to our belief that there is excellence within every child, whatever their starting points. We don’t select on artistic or creative ability and yet we are celebrating national awards holders in these fields. There is no reason for so many of our sportsmen and women to be selected for county and/or regional representation, other than they really do want to train hard, acquire the skills and put them to the test.
What the staff, be they teachers, coaches, instructors, administration or grounds staff show is an overwhelming dedication to the school, not because we ask them to show that, but because there is within our school a moral imperative to give every child that personal attention we know will make a difference.
And by way of celebration of our staff and what they can do, please enjoy watching this short video of the Senior Boys School Staff Choir at the end of term Carol Service. All of the rehearsal is done in their own time, led by John Carr, our data manager, whose skills ensure boys and girls, young and old, receive reports published out of our database. He is a remarkable musician, and digital film maker as well. John is seen conducting the choir, having set up the cameras in the church prior to the service. Behind every successful man is an even more successful woman, and the Senior Boys Director of Curriculum, Pauline Carr, was also on hand to ensure the cameras behaved! Senior Boys’ Director of Music, Adrian Roach also deserves enormous credit, for providing an environment in school where singing is seen to be really cool, for being open to all kinds of music trends emerging amongst students and the wider world, and for being in the forefront and leading the digitising of our provision. Two of Adrian’s pupils are now in the staff choir, Lucy and Hannah Wardman, as of course is Adrian himself, second right.
As the 17th Century Japanese Poet identified, ‘An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending upon the talent that rubs against it’. So to in schools, we need both children and staff to be open to the ‘concept’ of excellence, even though at the outset, neither will not really know what the outcome might resolve itself to be. If we were just to concentrate on Literacy and the STEM subjects, as so much rhetoric currently coming out of DfE and politicians mouths, then that would be a surefire guarantee we would have no music, no art, no creative or dramatic life. I love the fact that we are renowned for our Science, Technological and Mathematical provision, and that many children go on to pursue these disciplines at A level and University beyond. But with so much talent in every child, it really does fulfill our mission to ensure that we surface every bit of magic that lies therein.
Have a great break and see you in 2015!