November Update from the Headmaster
There have been a number of programmes on television in recent years about schools; the Channel 4 series Educating Essex, Yorkshire and more recently Cardiff has perhaps received the most attention. However, I know that the fly-on-the-wall documentary on Harrow: A Very British School was also popular. Whilst the schools featured in the Educating series appear to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from the famous public school in north-west London, they are similar in many ways. In the snippets I have seen, the overriding dedication of the staff to the true purpose of education is highly impressive even if one or two things that have been said have made me wince a little.
The interesting thing about these programmes is that you see very little actual teaching. What you do see is lots of learning. The schools featured are intent on promoting the academic achievement of their pupils but just as important is the well-being and emotional development of students. Just before half-term, Mr Carter took Whole School Assembly where we celebrated the achievements of various sports' teams, music groups and individual successes. It was pleasing to see so many pupils either receive awards or be part of favourable reports. It is through collaboration and teamwork, at the centre of the extra-curricular programme, that we can establish a collective pride and sense of self-worth that ultimately develops character and leads to success.
I hope you will be pleased to learn that the work on the renovation of the Old Gym has got underway. We expect this to be completed early in the Spring Term. The suspended ceiling is being replaced and equipment is being refurbished. Additionally, windows are being upgraded and the outside appearance should also improve. Please rest assured that money has not been diverted away from the revenue pot in order to undertake this project. The work has been fully funded by a successful bid to the Department of Education; the money can only be used for this purpose.
On the subject of funding, I hope parents of boys in Years 8, 9 and 10 have received my letter regarding the important Parents' Meeting regarding the School's funding which has been arranged for Wednesday 2nd December at 7:30pm in the School Hall. I hope that the meeting will provide you with information on: exactly what our financial situation is, the action we have already taken and the likely outcomes of further cuts. We will have to make even greater savings over the coming years and the severity of the situation is such that the curriculum we offer, and the extra-curricular activities available, are likely to be affected. I would be grateful if parents of boys in Years 8, 9 and 10 could let us know in advance if they are able to attend by completing the reply slip which was printed on the letter.
Your son or daughter will have received their first Order grades just before the break. I have spent some time over half-term looking at the data and I am once again pleased with the overall attitude and approach of pupils to learning so far this term and it is great to see so many commendations for outstanding effort and attainment.
A reminder that the Parents' Association Quiz and Pudding Evening takes place on Friday 13 November – I know tickets are still available. It is always good to see families support these social events.