Monday, 21 October 2013

Head Master's Notes - 18th October

The seventh week of this Michaelmas (Autumn) term saw us take a deep breath as we took on the might of Millfield in our first Saturday fixture, home and away. At home our U14s played with great determination with fine performances from Daniel Diaylou (9 Hobhouse CC) and Ryan Hilborne (9 Knight SW). Although we lost 37-14, we put in the effort needed against a well drilled team. My abiding memory of that game was after Daniel had made a crunching tackle on his opponent, he stopped to help him back up on his feet ? true sportsmanship. A Millfield parent commented on our boys’ spirit and the ‘maturity and work ethic of our captain, Sam Wilson (9 Knight SW), high praise indeed. We have an outstanding group of players here who will develop into a fine team over the years. Watch this space! The U15s played a cracking game and beat Millfield (a school renowned for its strength and depth) 60-5. The boys, led admirably by captain Henry Smart (10 Hobhouse KP) played a high-risk, fast and expansive game with excellent performances from Jack Coville-Wright (10 Glynn-Jones KM) who was named Man of the Match, Joel Oke (10 Hobhouse KP) who scored a hat trick, Charlie Johns’ (10 Glynn-Jones RBG) safe hands at the back and the reliable boot of Tom Parnell (10 Hobhouse CC).  At Millfield, our 1st XV played out of their skins and put in a respectable performance losing only 35-5 - the match went to completion this time unlike last year when it was stopped mid-way, demonstrating just how far we have come. There were also mid-week rugby fixtures for the U12s, U13s, U14s, U15s (again!) and the U16s against Queen’s College, Taunton, Dauntsey’s and a strong King’s Bruton, the latter of which taught our 1st and 2nd XVs a thing or two about rugby; we have a bench mark we can work towards which will help develop our rugby further at the school.

Not to be out done, on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon our Equestrian Team competed in the Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition at Kings Sedgemoor and they too put in strong performances, especially Gwen Patch (10 Golledge DB) on Paddy completing a faultless round in a very competitive time.  Lottie Pottow (10 Knight ACA), Evie Pearce (8 Hobhouse LF) and Tamsin Doar (13 Golledge RH), together with their horses, did the school very proud indeed and should be congratulated for their resilience and fine riding. My thanks to Mr Boyd, Mr Smith and Mr Armitage for their time and commitment on Saturday and to Mrs Croot and Mrs Asbury for guiding and encouraging our team (and the girls’ horses) on Sunday. Parents too are important and without their support and dedication the school will not be able to compete at such levels. So much so, that there is talk that the parents would like to help sponsor a Sexey’s Show Jumping event next year ? I can’t wait! The PSA also put on a fabulous show on Friday night when we had a record turnout for the PSA Quiz (Cranium Cruncher) in the Main Hall which was expertly compered by our very own Mr Partridge and was won by a team called The Management….had they been to the Neuroscience lectures at the University of Bristol with Dr Beeching and a group of our A-level Biologists and Psychologists? Our group of Historians returned from Berlin on Tuesday (full report on the website) and our A-level Business Studies students attended the Entrepreneur Live 2013 event at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. Plenty of enrichment opportunities for our students to engage with and again my thanks to the staff who make this all possible.

As we hurtle towards the end of this busy term we stop and pause for reflection at our annual Speech Day which took place this afternoon where we welcomed our Guest of Honour, Ms Kate Allenby MBE and celebrated the success of Sexeians past and present. I was thoroughly impressed with the slick organisation, the conduct and maturity of our students, the calm composure of the Wind band, the assured delivery by the Heads of School and the quality of our guest speaker, Kate. A truly memorable occasion which highlights all that is outstanding about this fine school.

A reminder that Y11 have their Trial (Mock) Exams after the half term holiday (w/c Monday 18th) and it would be wise for them to use the holiday productively to prepare for these important examinations. Whilst the students are revising, I will be in China with the Yueyang-Somerset partnership and the British Council to gain an understanding of the Chinese education system and its intriguing culture. I hope to further develop our relationship with our partner school (Yueyang No 2 Middle School) and to learn some Mandarin. Keep up to date with my exploits in the Far East on Twitter @SexeysSchool and I look forward to seeing you on my return.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Head Master's Notes - 11th October

As Shakespeare once said, ‘If music be the food of love, play on’. And that is exactly what we experienced last night at the excellent Joints Schools’ Concert where Sexey’s played host to the three other Bruton schools, Bruton School for Girls, King’s School, Bruton and Bruton Primary. It was a wonderful occasion with many fine performances from the schools and it was clearly evident that so much work and effort had gone into this collaborative concert. The hair on the back of the neck moment was the three schools coming together to perform In Paradisum, the final movement of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. A real treat if I say so myself. Bruton has a rich tapestry of music and the arts and it is this healthy partnership between the schools which can only help benefit the children of this community by helping to improve the provision and quality of music and the opportunities on offer. My thanks to the three schools and their Headteachers for their cooperation and to Miss Jenna Middleton, our Director of Music, and her team for putting on such a brilliant show. Dates for your musical diary - The Senior House Music Competition takes place on Thursday 7 November, the Christmas Concert on Wednesday 4 December, the Christmas Acoustic Night on Tuesday 10 December and to round off the term our Carol Concert at St Mary’s, Bruton on Friday 13 December.

And the opportunities are certainly in abundance at the school – last weekend 27 of our intrepid explorers gained their DoE Silver qualifying expedition on Exmoor and the assessor, Mr Tim Olivey, was so impressed with our students’ attitude that he felt it was necessary that he write to me! Testimony again of how our students and staff conduct themselves which embodies the values of the school. The full story is Here. Hockey and rugby matches continue to dominate the Elm and Daisy Fields this week – the U16 Girls’ Hockey, led by the charismatic Emily Dudley (Y11 Hobhouse) comprehensively beat Crispin School 4-0 on Thursday in the County State Cup, with Mia Blake (Y11 Glynn-Jones) scoring twice and Captain Dudley scoring a stunner from the edge of the D. The U12A Girls’ are now finding their form, and quickly at that, and beat King Arthur’s in a league match winning 2-0 while the U12Bs drew a friendly game with them. On Tuesday alone the U14 and U12 Boys’ Rugby teams played Beechen Cliff ; the U12 Girls’ Hockey played The Park School, the U16 Girls against Preston School, whilst on Thursday, the 1st XV played Chew Valley School in the Natwest Schools Cup whilst the U15s played away at Dauntsey’s School, winning 25-7. Approximately 200 students were involved in sport in some shape or form on the Tuesday afternoon around the school estate – matches, swimming, hockey practices, table tennis etc. The standard of provision is certainly high and it makes a huge difference, both culturally and physically to our school community. This weekend sees the first Saturday block rugby fixture against Millfield and on Sunday we compete in the King’s Bruton/Hazlegrove Inter-Schools Show Jumping Competition at Kings Sedgemoor Equestrian Centre, near Greylake in Somerset. Next Friday is Speech Day, which is an important event in the Sexey’s Calendar, and we welcome Kate Allenby MBE as our Guest of Honour and Speaker. Miss Allenby is a World Champion GB pentathlete and Olympic medallist who won bronze in Sydney and competed in Athens. It proves to be an inspirational occasion. Please do come along and support the school and our students in their various endeavours – you are always welcome.

On Tuesday we had our 6th Form Open Evening for prospective students and their parents and over 150 families were in attendance. We have an outstanding 6th Form (the results at A-level speak for themselves) and a dedicated team who go over 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 Sam Brownlow, the Admissions Officer who will be only too happy to organise a private visit for you. Speaking of the 6th form, our Y12 Artists met with the Director of Hauser & Wirth, Mrs Alice Workman at Durslade Farm and the school will be working closely with Mrs Workman to bring further cultural opportunities to our students. Read the Eleanor Nurse’s (Y12 PH) full story of their meeting on the website here. Exciting times at Sexey’s and Bruton! Also, a reminder that the Lower 6th (Year 12) ‘Meet the Tutor’ event takes place next Monday, 14th October at 4pm in the Sixth Form Centre.

Yesterday we bid ‘auf wiedersehen’ to our Y10 and Y11 Historians who are on their way to Berlin, to learn more about its history and influence on the world stage and to take in the cultural sights and sounds. I hear the ferry crossing over the Channel was rather choppy, but they have arrived safely in the German capital! Keep up to date with regular tweets direct from Berlin @SexeysSchool. As you know I am very keen to further develop the all-round education that we provide at Sexey’s and none of these extra-curricular activities, which ultimately teach our students about resilience, team work and leadership would be possible without the sheer dedication and commitment of the staff who give up their time willingly, for which I and the students are very grateful.

The planned industrial action by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) takes place next Thursday, the 17th of October and I can confirm that the school will remain open and fully operational.

I look forward to seeing you at the many school events organised over the coming months and at tonight’s PSA Quiz (Cranium Cruncher) – let the cerebral battle commence!


Irfan H Latif JP

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Head Master's Weekly Notes 4th October

Last Sunday, a group of Sexeians and colleagues attended the Bath Children’s Literature Festival for an audience with Robert Muchamore, the celebrated author of the bestselling "Cherub" series  as well as the Henderson Boys’ sagas. The packed event, which was sponsored by Sexey’s, took place at the Guildhall and the audience were treated to a selection of traditional folk Music played by our Sexey’s musicians who were organised by Miss Jenna Middleton. The welcome address was given by our very own Mrs Deborah Holmes who spoke very eloquently and is a big Muchamore fan. The Q & A session which followed the interview with Mr Muchamore was entertaining and informative and my thanks go to the Head Girl, Ella Hutchinson and Will Stanton, the Head Boy, for their excellent stewardship. As ever, our Sexeians behaved impeccably and were a credit to both you and the School – I am very proud of them. I have been meeting a number of students who have been awarded commendations for excellent work in my study for the Headmaster’s Reception and it’s been wonderful getting to know them and celebrating their success over a cup of tea.

On Monday we said farewell to Mr Martin Searle after 11 years of sterling service to the school as Head of Modern Foreign Languages. Always the consummate professional, he leaves the department in good shape and in the very capable hands of Mrs Denise Magill and Mrs Armina Harris-Urwin – their European Day of Languages is a taste of things to come. We wish Mr and Mrs Searle the very best in their retirement and I am sure they’ll be crossing the English Channel before too long! Congratulations to Mr Pete Prescott, the School’s Facilities Manager on reaching a significant birthday (his 60th) this week and to Mrs Claire Nevitt (nee Woolley) our SEN Coordinator, who tied the knot last Thursday.

After school on Monday, we had the Sports Photographs and it was an opportunity to invite our sponsors and to say a thank you for all their support and financial assistance in helping the school realise its sporting vision and philosophy – the school is very grateful to them in providing opportunities for all our students and I look forward to working with them, and you, in the future – I do have a rather long shopping list!

On Tuesday, Laurie McMahon performed to the whole school at the beginning of Assembly and I was really impressed with the high standard of singing – he will certainly give Ed Sheeran a run for his money! The students then sang that well known Welsh hymn ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’ and we look forward to developing their hymn repertoire and singing on these formal occasions. The theme of the Assembly was on Temptation and I thank Atlanta Severn and Charlie Bygrave for carrying out their assembly duties with such aplomb. This week we also interviewed a number of candidates for the post of Deputy Head and after a gruelling round of interviews, which included two presentations, a number of panel interviews, in-tray exercises and meetings with various colleagues, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Paul Reddick MA to the post of Deputy Head – Teaching & Learning at Sexey’s School from January 2014. Mr Reddick takes over from Mrs Hopegood who will be taking up the Headship at Selwood Academy in Frome after Christmas and he has some big shoes to fill. He is currently Deputy Headteacher at St Dunstan’s School and was previously Assistant Headteacher and Head of History at Sexey’s. He was educated in Worthing and Sheffield University where he read Modern History and Politics gaining a First Class Honours degree and then at Warwick University where he gained an MA in British Politics. He has also completed an MA in Education from the Open University and has successfully completed the Leadership Pathways and the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) at the National College of School Leadership. We look forward to welcoming Mr Reddick and his family (Mrs Reddick is currently our Head of Art) to the school and to them joining the school community again over the coming months. I am sure you will all make them feel very welcome.

Rugby and Hockey fixtures continued, despite the poor weather and the U12 Girl’s Hockey secured a resounding victory beating a strong Stanchester 5-0, a convincing win which has instilled confidence and self-belief amongst the girls. Well done to Louise Mayes for captaining the side this week. Similarly the boys battled heroically in the mud against The Gryphon, Kings of Wessex and Ansford – full match reports are below and are available here.

The DoE Silver Qualifying Expedition to Exmoor left this morning and I wish Mrs Jenny Wilkinson and Mr Ed Southwood god speed as they and our intrepid Sexeians tackle the unforgiving hills and weather this weekend. For those not taking part, there are plenty of other activities to keep them occupied from Mountain Biking, Climbing in the Vallis Vale, a trip to the Moor Valley Country Park in Bournemouth and a Yr7 and 8 Disco at Sherborne School to name just a few.

With changes a foot at Senior Leadership which will continue to help move the School forward, we are looking for a Parent Governor to join the Governing Body next February and I would invite applications from those of you who are interested  – it’s a great opportunity to join the Governors and myself at this exciting time to help shape the School’s future and to support its aim and aspirations. Please see the attached details from the Clerk of Governors, Mrs Helen Gadsden and I look forward to hearing from you.

We have our Sixth Form Open Evening next Tuesday (8th October) and if any you or any your friends are considering sending their children to Sexey’s for Sixth Form, then please let them know. Full details are available on the website and you can also follow us on Twitter (@SexeysSchool) for all the latest news and goings on at the school.

Next Friday sees the annual Parent Staff Association (PSA) Quiz taking place in the Main Hall and I recommend that you organise a team for Cranium Cruncher (registration closes next Monday (7/10) at 4pm) as soon as possible.  I hear that it is fiendishly ruthless and that the competition is stiff. The Headmaster’s Team will be there, which may well include the new Deputy Head…


Irfan H Latif JP
Head Master