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.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 26 May 2017

From the Headmaster 
What a scorcher of a day for Sports Day! Spirits were high as we processed up to the Elm Field - our four houses were in fine form singing with gusto the School Song, building team spirit. It was lovely to see so many parents there in support (thank you again to the PSA for staving off the dehydration). My personal thanks also go to the PE department for their meticulous organisation, to the Estates team, House staff, KDR, IT and of course the competitors, who battled hard but shook hands at the end. This time victory belonged to Golledge who won the prestigious West Midlands Relay Shield and the Track & Field competitions with Knight House winning the Macmillan Cancer Support Student – Staff Race. It was a fine way to round off this busy half term and a well-deserved break awaits our colleagues and students alike.

It has been a moving week as we marked a minute’s silence yesterday in respect for the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack on Monday. We have been open in speaking to our students about how the news has affected them, but if you are anxious about doing so at home, you may find this information from the BBC helpful.

We welcome home our students from the China Exchange next Wednesday. To read more about their trip, please see here.

A moving Leavers’ assembly took place yesterday in the Sixth Form Centre and it was a fitting tribute to the maturity and diligence of this particular year group. They have been led admirably by Maximillian Kaberry, Victoria Regan and Francesca Llewellin, who have encapsulated all the qualities that make a Sexeian – all commented on the friendly nature and warm atmosphere of the school, the life skills they have learnt and the strong relationships they have built, which will last for many years to come. The Sixth Formers now immerse themselves in public exams after half term and we wish them well in their endeavours as they pursue coveted university places, gap years and internships come August. I thank them for the outstanding service they have given to the school – from music, art and drama productions, to a variety of sports teams and to the prefect body for setting the gold standard to the younger members of our community and keeping them on TRaK. Their skills in Car Pool Karaoke was also a revelation…

I wish you all a pleasant and peaceful half term break and look forward to welcoming you back into school on Monday 5th June (4th June for our returning boarders).

Monday, 22 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 19 May 2017

Summer exams started this week, with students taking part in breakfast and lunch revision clubs and The Sanctuary providing welcome relaxation. Our teachers can be seen poring over the papers in the break times, and the whole school is behind those are working so hard at this time.

Our extra-curricular activities provide welcome relief at these times and it was superb to hear our Sexey’s singing group perform so well at Roth Bar & Grill last weekend. Their fine voices certainly bode well for the whole school musical ‘Bugsy Malone’ in July. Tickets are already on sale in Reception; we do hope you can join us. Meanwhile, our sportsmen and women performed well in cricket, rounders, equestrian and tennis fixtures played this week against Ansford, Dauntsey’s School and Huish Episcopi Academy, and the athletics Track and Field Cup meet at Millfield on Wednesday saw wins in the relays and sprints – congratulations to everyone involved.

We also had a very successful Boarding Open Morning last weekend and again thank you to all colleagues and the community who go over and beyond to support us in our endeavours. It was an excellent opportunity to show our future students what they can achieve at Sexey’s, and to provide an update on all that we have been doing recently in Boarding. Feedback was extremely positive, and our existing parents may also be interested to read the latest updates to the Boarding and Academic Action Plans here and here respectively. As always, we welcome any questions or comments on these.

As I write, final preparations are being made for the China Exchange trip, which departs tomorrow to Beijing. We wish them the very best of journeys, a fruitful visit, and a safe return.  

祝你一个平静轻松的周 (I wish you a peaceful and relaxing weekend).

Monday, 15 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 12 May 2017

Whatever your political view, it is hard to be anything other than impressed by the fact that a person with drive and a vision for change could be elected French President only a year after starting his own political movement, En Marche. It is this level of passion with which we aim to enthuse our students and the coming week’s activities encourages me of our success. Continuing the political theme, we were pleased to welcome the Liberal Democrat prospective candidate for Somerton and Frome into school on Thursday to speak to our Sixth Form Government & Politics students on the democratic process. Engaging the next generation in the current political debate is important to us as a school and we encourage those Sixth Formers who are eligible to do so to register to vote in June.

The film festival this weekend at Hauser & Wirth includes Youth Cinema Foundation’s ‘Strange Magic’, written and directed by Sexey’s Sixth Former Megan O’Neil and involving several of our students. I would encourage you to get your complimentary ticket and support their enthusiasm and endeavour.

It is a season of school trips. This morning saw a group of our Year 8 Gifted and Talented students in the school car en route to The Salters’ Institute of Chemistry at the University of Bristol for a day’s competition with other schools in the South West, solving chemical challenges. More on this on our news section of the website shortly. Next weekend 15 students will be visiting our partner school Yueyang No.2 Middle School, China for over a week, working alongside Chinese students and visiting Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall of China and Ming Tombs among other sights. What a fantastic opportunity.

The summer sports season is in full swing with cricket, rounders and tennis matches played this week against Ansford, King Arthur’s, Millfield, Clayesmore, and Huish Episcopi Academy. Don’t forget the Sexey's School Sports dedicated site for more details of fixtures. Best of luck to students participating in the equestrian events this weekend and we look forward to welcoming you all at Sports Day on Friday 26th May, if not before.

We wish all our Y11 and 6th form the very best in their public exams which continue to gather pace next week.