Monday, 9 December 2013

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 6th December

It was with great sadness we learnt yesterday of the passing of President Nelson Mandela, one of the most influential and inspirational leaders of all time. He changed the course of South African history for the better and taught us the values of tolerance, kindness and respect in the face of adversity. The freedom and peace he bought to his country will remain his lasting legacy and I hope countries around the world currently in conflict will pause for a moment and reflect on the remarkable achievements and contributions of this truly great man.

Last weekend the weather was very kind to our Gold DofE Y12 students who were on a practice walking expedition on Dartmoor.  They were accompanied by one of our parents, Lt Col Rich Cantrill (father of Sophie in Y7) who taught the students important navigation skills. My thanks to Mrs Jenny Wilkinson and Mr Ed Southwood for taking the trip and I am sure Mr Cantrill will be joining the DofE team on their next expedition! The support we have from the parent community never ceases to amaze me and I am grateful for all that you do to support the School and the education of our Sexeians. It was hoped that the weather would be slightly more inclement to challenge our students - maybe they should go this weekend…

Sunday saw the First Day of Advent and it was fitting that I was joined by my elves who helped decorate the Main Hall and the School tree. I hasten to add that we took all the necessary health and safety precautions while putting up the decorations and my thanks to all those students, some of whom returned on Monday to further decorate the tree, for giving up their Sunday evening for this Sexey's tradition. A particular thank you to Hannah Petrovic without whom Christmas would not have been possible at Sexeys! Father Christmas also made an appearance at Sexey's this Wednesday at the Senior Citizens' Christmas Party - it was a splendid occasion and it was a real pleasure to meet so many friends of the School - Old Sexeians who fondly remembered their time here; residents of Hugh Sexey's Hospital and those who served the School. Hearing the old stories over a cup of tea was inspiring and I look forward to welcoming back our friends next year. Our 6th formers were outstanding in looking after our guests and were in fine voice when we sang carols together along with the Choir and the Wind Band. The festive season is well and truly here!

The Christmas Concert that very evening saw fine performances by the Wind Band, the newly formed Folk Band and some individual performances, namely Rebecca Parham who played Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘I Giorni’ (which incidentally was played at mine and Mrs Latif's wedding) and Rosie Carroll's stunning rendition of Keane's ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. We were also given a taster of next year's Drama musical production; ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Company’ which looks very entertaining indeed - remember to bring along your dictionary!
On Thursday afternoon the Y11s received their Mock Examination Results, which are also available for you to download from our eLearning site, Moodle. Strategies will be discussed with the Y11s over the coming week when colleagues go through the exam scripts in class for the students to implement over the coming Christmas break. There is now only 6 months to go and it’s important that the Y11s make good use of their time to prepare effectively for their GCSEs.

I witnessed another Sexey's tradition this Friday when the Annual House Cross Country event took place. The school was awash with students (and a number of colleagues) in their colourful kit and fancy dress running for their Houses and charities such as the Bodies Hodges Foundation (Joe Stewart-Sendell and the Head of School, James Russ were in quite fetching numbers!). Thankfully the weather was kind to us today and the atmosphere by the Coombe was electric. The camaraderie and support shown by the students for each other, and for colleagues was truly humbling. Again, it never ceases to amaze me the sheer talent that is in such abundance here and the fervent pride the students have for their Houses, let alone their School. I am very privileged.

The 2nd Ashes test started in earnest this week in Adelaide and I look forward to another set of sleepless nights...

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