Friday, 6 October 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 6 October 2017

During this week’s Sixth Form and Lower School assemblies, we reflected on the senseless tragedy in Las Vegas last weekend and prayed for the victims and their loved ones. We said that immediate action must be taken by leaders to address the archaic gun laws in the US before more innocent people lose their lives. It is of course a topic that generates much debate and I am pleased to see our students embrace the opportunity to do so.

On Tuesday this week we had our 6th Form Open Evening for prospective students and their parents and were happy that once again, there was standing room only in the Main Hall. Our 6th Form helpers were a real credit to their parents and to the school and our speakers articulated their thoughts on their experiences with great passion - not an easy task addressing over 200 people in the Hall, but they did it. We have an outstanding 6th Form (the results at A-level speak for themselves – 41% A*-A as compared to the national results of 26%) and a dedicated team who go above and beyond the call of duty. If any of our Y11 parents didn’t get a chance to come in on the evening or would like to visit again, then please do get in touch with Mrs Stallion who will be only too happy to organise a personal visit for you. Speaking of the 6th form, a reminder that our Lower 6th (Year 12) ‘Meet the Tutor’ event takes place on Monday, 9th October at 4pm in the Sixth Form Centre.

Despite the colder weather, our Hockey and Rugby matches continued apace this week, with fixtures against Nailsea School, Beechen Cliff, Wells Cathedral School, Bruton School for Girls, and Milton Abbey. Planning sessions for the upcoming trip to Nepal have also been held this week and we are all getting very excited as the trip takes shape. More details to come soon.

I look forward to seeing you at the many school events organised over the coming months at Sexey’s (especially those Year 11 parents who will be here for Parents’ Evening tonight) and, of course, it’s Speech Day in a couple of weeks’ time which also signals the end of this half term. Where has the time gone?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 22 September 2017

The senseless terrorist attack last Friday at Parsons Green station in London formed the narrative of this week's 6th Form assembly. We asked the important question of whether we continue to be safe in our major towns and cities. The terrorist threat is still high on the agenda and it was an opportunity to reflect and remember those who had lost loved ones in attacks around the world since 7/7 and what we must do to stop this violence - education is the key and I hope our values will help reinforce this and empower the next generation of leaders and decision makers:
Those values were clearly demonstrated at the Lower School Open Evening this week which saw record numbers of prospective parents from far and wide come through the Sexey’s School gates. Parents commented on the maturity, enthusiasm and exemplary manners of our students and I hope we left them with a good impression. Thank you for promoting the event amongst your friends and our next Open Evening, which will be for our Sixth Form, takes place on Tuesday the 3rd of October. Do please keep banging that drum!
Plenty of activities this week, including rugby and Hockey fixtures against the likes of Clayesmore & Wells Cathedral, Sherborne Girls, The Park School & Bucklers Mead; Y13 EPQ trip to Southampton University and the Duke of Edinburgh Silver expedition to the Quantocks - I wish our intrepid explorers the very best and hope that the weather is kind to them - it has been good so far.
We also had the PSA AGM and Meeting yesterday in Walwin and it was our Chair's last one. Mrs Kit Pottow has dedicated her time, energy (and life it seems!) in making the Sexey's PSA what it is today and during her time, it has raised in excess of £35,000. The money raised through various events and activities is given to the school to improve and further enhance the education of our students. And this money has had a positive impact on the outcomes for our students. The work that Mrs Pottow and her committee have done over the past 8 years has been of tremendous value and we will miss her dynamism and passion for all things Sexey's as she retires for pastures new. My heartfelt thanks to Mrs Pottow and I wish the new committee every possible success. We are looking for volunteers (I know there are many new parents out there eager to support the outstanding work of the PSA). Do please get involved - it means so much to us, the school and ultimately our children. It is after all why we are all here.  

I wish you all a pleasant and restful exeat (good luck to the Equestrian team this weekend at Stonar) and I hope that the weather continues to be kind to us all… 

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 15 September 2017

School is in full swing this week, with the Year 7s navigating the school site like old hands, Girls’ hockey and rugby practices, the Sixth Form pantomime rehearsals set to begin, preparation for the silver DoE, the China Trip, Cross Country Club, Geology Club, Army Cadet Force, Cooking Club, British Sign Language Club, Fencing Club…. Our boarders took time at the weekend to unwind at Splashdown in Poole (pun not intended) and to take part in the Glow in the Park Run at Longleat - a success by all accounts. I do wonder has it really only been 10 days since the start of term? 

During Friday’s Key Stage 3 assembly, Mr Darryl Carpenter, the Head of Key Stage 3, explored with the pupils what is good about the school. We had a number of responses from the quality of teaching to the range of activities on offer – sport, music, art and drama to the food. One student talked about the students and staff here, and that struck me. It is people that make a place special and how we treat each other speaks volumes about us as individuals, as a school, as a community and more importantly, as a family. It is only our second week back and I can see our values of tolerance, respect and kindness in abundance here at Sexey's. As we prepare to welcome students and parents at our Lower School Open Evening next Tuesday (please spread the word!) I reflect on how proud I am of the way in which our students have begun this new term, with enthusiasm and endeavour. Long may it last!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 7 July 2017

With only a week to go until the end of term, there is no signs of activity slowing down in School. This week we held our Year 6 Induction Day, welcoming all of our new joiners, and this weekend sees our new Y7 boarders entering the houses for their sleepover taster weekend.

Tonight is the final production of the whole school musical ‘Bugsy Malone’, which had its premiere on Wednesday and has had sell-out audiences. Congratulations to everyone involved from the actors, to behind the scenes, to the technical department, to front of house. All of the funds raised from the tickets and refreshments sales will go towards the next school production and the Drama department, so we are immensely grateful for your support. Tickets for tonight’s show (7.30pm) are available on the door if you haven’t got yours already – I hope to see you there!

This week a huge congratulations goes to our Year 8 girls who – following a gruelling session at Millfield – have been crowned county champions in Rounders for the second year in a row. We are very proud of them – especially as many of them are also county netball champions! Well done ladies. Cricket fixtures and athletics meets have also been held this week against Warminster School and Millfield.

The Year 12 Geography department returns this afternoon from their field trip to the Dale Fort Field Centre in Pembrokeshire, where they have been assessing biodiversity change in intertidal zones, among other things. Photos can be seen via Twitter @SexeysGeogDept  Geography Trip.

On Tuesday this week we welcomed fifteen potential employers into school for a careers conference for our Years 8-10. Thank you to everyone who made this excellent opportunity to support our students’ future business lives a possibility – a full write up can be read here Careers Conference.

Should any of you be visiting the Yeovilton Air Day this weekend then do look out for our stand – we will be representing Sexey’s as we do each year, in support of our forces families. Spread the word!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 30 June 2017

Arts, Music and Drama are thriving this week at Sexey’s as set up for the whole school musical, Bugsy Malone, is currently well underway. I hope to see you there Wednesday – Friday next week (tickets available at Reception).  This week has also seen the End of School Art and Photography Showcase, when we welcomed parents, friends, and colleagues from the neighbouring schools to view the outstanding final pieces produced by our artists in Years 10-13. Well done to all of you for some superb artwork, described as “inspiring” by a visiting Head of Art. Congratulations also go to those students involved in the Trinity Guildhall Speech and Drama Showcase – what superb talent we have in school.

Our Year 7s have departed for a Science trip to @Bristol today and we look forward to hearing more about their visit on their return – please keep an eye out for updates on the school news pages (from the homepage) and twitter (@SexeysSchool).

We were happy to welcome some of our new students this week as the Sixth Form Induction and SEND Transition Day went ahead. The school was buzzing with a renewed energy – as it does every year at this time – and we look forward to welcoming our new joiners back again in September. Of course this also means that we bid a fond farewell to some of our current Year 11s, with whom we celebrated this week at their Leaver’s Prom at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Thank you to our hosts and all of the organisers for a truly fantastic evening. Photos can be viewed (and I understand, purchased) here Prom Photographs.

Our Sports Department has once again been busy with Athletics fixtures (well done to Maddy Britton and Josh Carr for winning their 100m sprints, and to the Y10 boys who won the Area Athletics Competition), Rounders (well done to the Y8 ladies team who also won a Rounders Area final tournament), and several cricket matches this week, including an U14A match against Wells Cathedral School and U13A vs Dauntsey’s. These matches can be followed via the twitter feed

A very special congratulations must also go to Sixth Former Georgia Silcox, who has been invited to trial for Great Britain in the triple jump – our very best luck to Georgia as she prepares for that.

Once again a very big thank you to our Parent Staff Association who met last night to discuss the department bids and distributed a great deal of funds to support our school. It is all hugely appreciated.

And finally, this weekend we wish our boarders well as they head off on trips to Studland in Dorset and the New Forest in Hampshire, to those students and staff who will be rehearsing for next week’s production of Bugsy and to the Sexey’s All Star Cricket XI who will be taking on a touring side from Cambridge on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 16 June 2017

I have been struck this week by the strength of community shown in response to the Grenfell Tower fire in West London. It is a reminder of our shared humanity – a lesson that as a school we will be taking forward into our work around National Refugee Week next week. I hope through education and our values of tolerance, respect and kindness, we all work to make our communities better places for us all.

There was certainly a strong sense of community at today’s Year 11 Leaver’s Service and barbeque. As I gave my address and looked out across the sea of faces, I realised how far these students have come, becoming engaged, helpful young citizens with an exciting future ahead of them. We look forward to welcoming many of them back to our Sixth Form next term. 

This week has seen a group of Year 10 GCSE History students on a trip to Montacute House to study hierarchy and status in Elizabethan society, as well as an extremely moving Acoustic Night (with Ben Macnaughton performing a song for his father serving in Afghanistan and Princess Ijaola singing a song that she had written for her friend who is leaving Sexey’s to return to Spain at the end of the year). There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

We must give our congratulations to Georgia Silcox for her Somerset County Schools win and new Long Jump championship record of 6.08m last weekend. Well done Georgia – your success is testament to all of your hard work and dedication. Cricket and rounders fixtures have been played this week against Millfield Prep, King Arthur’s, Dauntsey’s, Stanchester and Milton Abbey (more information at the dedicated School Sports site as always) and we wish the equestrian team well for the upcoming NSEA Dressage competition in Dorset this weekend.

I must close now and dig out my black tie for the Sixth Form Ball at Haynes Motor Museum – yet another opportunity to reflect on the strong sense of community and friendship here at Sexey’s.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 09 June 2017

Welcome back after what I hope was a restful half term – it does seem quite a long time ago!

Those of us who did not manage to stay up all night watching the electoral votes coming in, woke to a very interesting political scene this morning. Commentators have reflected that this is the General Election in which young people have taken to the ballot boxes to make their voices heard. Perhaps we will see politicians engage much more heavily with the younger demographic as a result – this can only be a positive thing for our future. As a school we take very seriously the need to equip our students with the life skills that they will need to stay informed with this ever changing world. Our mission statement resonates this - ‘Teaching boys and girls to think intelligently, act wisely and be fully engaged in a challenging and changing world’. We thank all of those politicians that have come into school in recent weeks to meet with our students and explain the political process. As I write this, the current Government, is looking to establish itself with the support of DUP, ten days before Brexit negotiations begin. The question of grammar schools, academy sponsorship and school funding, to name but a few, will become more important than ever now.

In the spirit of staying informed, I hope that you will take the time to read Mr Clackson’s safeguarding letter relating to TV programmes, websites and apps currently available to children who have access to mobile devices, sent out to parents and guardians earlier today. It is a topic that is important to us – we are continually assessing our safeguarding procedures to ensure that your child is safe at school, physically, mentally and virtually. Please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s tutor should you have any concerns.

It has been another busy start to term, not least as the exam season continues. Yesterday saw our Year 10 Drama students performing powerfully executed extracts from Hitchcock’s ‘The 39 Steps’. We also welcomed visitors from Bristol Cathedral Choir School who were conducting a friendly peer review of our teaching and learning to prepare us for future Ofsted monitoring visits. Their feedback was positive – they were clear that there has been apparent progress since January and that there are tremendous strengths and demonstrations of outstanding practice visible in the school. Thank you to everyone involved.

On Tuesday we held a minute’s silence in honour of all of those affected by the London terrorist attacks. Our thoughts and prayers remain with them and with their families and during times like this, it really does put things into perspective.

We have had a number of cricket and rounders fixtures this week, with fiercely contested matches against Millfield, Hugh Sexey’s, Westfield Academy and Huish Episcopi. And a reminder that next Tuesday sees the final Acoustic Night for the year – do please come along and support the excellent work of our musicians. The weather today has been pleasant (more reminiscent of how it should be during summer) and we wish all those going on the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition across the Mendips this weekend the very best of luck - let’s hope the weather is kind to them.