From the Headmaster
Posted by MM - Wednesday 11 July 2018
The poet TS Eliot made the famous claim in his 1940 masterpiece The Four Quartets: ‘In my beginning is my end.’ Gloomy stuff perhaps – he later goes on to say that ‘In my end is my beginning’, which leaves us to sort out what we think he meant by this poetic riddle. Beginnings and endings are especially evident in a school. Education is both cyclical – in that through revisiting and practising skills, and reflecting on experience, pupils embed their learning – and also linear, in that we expect progression through years 7 to 13. We delight in welcoming new pupils to Rich’s in September, and we have bittersweet feelings when we send them on their way at the end of Year 13. The celebration of beginnings and endings is a fitting theme for my final email this academic year.
There has been something really rather special about the last few weeks at School. The days have felt long and hot, and the 1st XI cricketers have kept the mellow sound of willow on leather echoing from the field. The weather reminds us that the summer break is just around the corner, yet it has been ‘business as usual’ in terms of learning and extra-curricular activities. Of course, we have striven to keep pupils as cool as possible and taken into account the extraordinary weather in our planning, but pupils have shown impressive focus and resilience in the way they have tackled lessons, sports fixtures, examinations and musical performances. Much has been achieved.
On the Expressive Arts side, we were once again treated to a fabulous summer concert on Friday 6th July, where the pupils show-cased their commitment, talent and professionalism. I thank Pauline Jones for her dedication and expertise in curating this wonderful celebration of our pupils’ musical prowess. The Art Department also mounted a truly inspiring Summer Exhibition, in which the coursework and examination work of our Art A Level candidates could not have been more varied, stimulating and cutting-edge. As I write, the English Department is gearing up to deliver their annual Drama Days for all Years 7 and 8 pupils, which culminate in performances of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Tempest’. The Geography and Biology Departments have been out and about with pupils, making the most of the weather to complete important field work in Slimbridge Wetland Centre, The city of Gloucester and Lulworth Cove in Dorset.
The summer term at School is always slightly bitter-sweet as it is so much about beginnings and endings: endings in the sense that learning and teaching for some of our pupils culminates in those all-important A Level examinations; we also have wonderful occasions to mark the passage of time and celebrate our heritage and place in the community such as the G15 celebration of success concert in Gloucester Cathedral. The Year 13 Prom went off in grand style on 25th June, and we are looking forward to our annual Sports’ Evening and Summer Fayre that will take place on Thursday 12th July. Our school year will culminate in the final Awards ceremony in the last week of term. However, we are also keenly focussed on planning ahead for next year. School priorities for development next year are being scrutinised by Senior Leaders as we seek to ensure a secure strategic vision for school development.
The last two weeks have also seen wonderfully uplifting Induction Days for Year 7 and 12 pupils who are joining our school in September. It has been very affirming to receive their feedback on the sense of community and positive energy they noticed here at STRS. On a final note, it was very satisfying to note our position in the top five Gloucestershire schools in the recent new Real Schools Guide in ‘Gloucestershire Live’: first in the county for progress and outcomes and second for results.
I very much hope that, when we get there, students and parents have a well-deserved and relaxing summer break.