From the Headmaster

Posted by MM - Thursday 27 September 2018

I can’t believe that we are at the end of September already – it does seem to be absolutely the case that with increasing age, the years, months and weeks do seem to pass much more quickly. The start of term has been exceptionally busy for us all. On a personal note, I have enjoyed spending time with some new Year 7s during their visit to Stratford last week, and I was also fortunate to be invited out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, South West division, with the Upper Sixth winners of the National Business and Accounting competition – where we fought off competition from over 520 schools and 4,000 students. The evening was a welcome break from the usual round of meetings with Governors and Heads of subjects, following the summer’s examination success. We are always keen to review our approach and improve our practice, and individual meetings with subject leaders are a useful mechanism for effective self-evaluation. I am fortunate to have Heads of Department that are committed to continuous improvement.

As part of our continued strategy to strengthen pupils’ ability to improve their work, we have reminded students of the need for them to respond to feedback given to them by members of staff. Pupils are asked to use green ink so their teachers can check their responses when they next mark their work, creating a ‘learning dialogue’ between the pupil and teacher. It is critical that pupils know what is good about their work, what they need to do to improve and most importantly how they are going to improve. If you have any questions about this, please do contact Debbie Brake (Deputy Head) at db@strs.org.uk.

Additionally, in response to the feedback we have received from parents over the last year or so, we have introduced the use of ‘Show my homework’ for Years 7 – 11. We really do hope this will enable parents to help their children at home. Several studies have shown that pupils who spend any time at all doing homework benefit in terms of attainment, but the effects are greater for students who put in two hours a night. We know it can be deeply frustrating for parents if they do not know what homework their child should be doing. If you have any questions about this, please do contact Dave Dempsey (Assistant Head) at dd@strs.org.uk.

We continue to enjoy sporting success at every level and it would be impossible to mention all teams that have been successful so far, but I would like to highlight the fantastic victories yesterday for the netball teams against The Cotswold School and the 1st XV’s convincing win against St Peters in the first round of the NatWest cup – providing opportunities outside the classroom remains very much part of the vision of the School. As well as representing the School in sport, I was also very proud of all of the boys in Year 8 who were excellent ambassadors during our Open Day and Open Evening a couple of weeks ago. There were so many comments from prospective parents and pupils – some failed to believe they were just ‘normal Year 8s’. A real credit to all involved. This reminded me that it is our values, our ethos, and the way we do things that underpin the education pupils receive at Rich’s. An environment of high standards and high expectations is important, but so too is tolerance, kindness, leadership and resolve. Seeing Year 7 practise singing ready for tomorrow evening’s Speech Night has reinforced my firm belief that the most impressive quality of Sir Thomas Rich’s School is not, in reality, defined by our achievements but rather by who we are.

M SR Morgan

Matthew Morgan,
Headmaster