Friday, 28 February 2014

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 28th February

Half term came and went in a flash as did the Winter Olympics, but the foul weather seems to be still here! I watched a lot of sport over the half term - England's tremendous win over Ireland in the 6 Nations, Arsenal's dogged performance against Bayern Munich and the events in Sochi. It was with great admiration and awe that I followed the athletes' exploits at the Winter Olympics. Inspiring stuff to say the least. Watching Somerset's very own Lizzy Yarnold hurtling down the ice on a carbon fibre-tray the size of a biscuit tin lid in the skeleton was exhilarating even from the comfort of one’s armchair and learning about the nuances and intricacies of curling, short track speed skating and the deliciously named slope-style snowboard was a lesson well learnt. The Olympics was sensational (I love my sport!) and the Russians topped the medal table and Mr Putin must be very happy and relieved that they passed without incident.  The games cost an eye watering £30bn to stage - the most expensive ever and as much as all the previous Winter Olympics put together. Has Mr Putin got what he wanted and were the Games worth it? The last games hosted by Russia was back in 1980 and 34 years on we witness thepresident’s drive to return Russia to its historic position as a major player on the world stage.Although the Games are meant to be apolitical, Mr Putin has certainly used them to further his cause of developing a more traditional Russia with conservative values. Just don't mention the ice hockey! So Team GB will now take stock after this games (it had invested some £14m over the past four years) and will now invest even more money in a number of Winter sports to help climb up that medal table in South Korea. Can we expect curling, snowboarding and the skeleton to become part of our curriculum? Harley Jai Morton-Grant (OS 2013) is part of the Great Britain Bobsleigh team and snow is apparently forecast for tomorrow...

The determination and commitment that our athletes have shown in Sochi should be an inspiration to us all. We have come back from our half time talk, eaten all the oranges, tended to any wounds and are ready to take on the second half with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. And we have seen this in abundance this week from our students; from Laurie McMahon winning ‘Weston’s Got Talent (Laurie got through to the finals in September 2013 performing a cover by Jake Bugg. He decided to comprise/write/play and sing his own song last week which resulted in him winning the overall prize) to Captain Adora Woodgate leading the U13 Netball team to a staggering 12-1 win over Stanchester and the U12s also coming away with a 7-1 win. The U15s put in a stunning performance against Huish Episcopi putting some 33 points against them. Football scores against Ansford (U16s 5-0 and U15s 3-1) and Millfield (2nd XI 2-1 loss) have also been encouraging and the U18s hosted seven schools at the 2nd Annual Sexey's 7s competition on the Elm Field yesterday. With sun, rain, wind and hail to contend with, not to mention the might of Wells Cathedral and Warminster, our boys lost in a keenly contested Plate Final to a strong Wellsway School with Marlborough College winning the Cup. The 7s season has started in earnest.

Sarah and I were fortunate to be invited by Bath Rugby Football Club over the half term to watch Bath play Wasps and it was a cracking game at The Rec. It was a privilege to meet Cpt Stuart Hooper and I look forward to working with the club in the future in providing useful opportunities for our students to be coached and mentored by Bath RFC. Talking of opportunities, there were plenty this week in music where pupils had the chance of trying different musical instruments and there were performances throughout the week during lunch. The GCSE Performance took place last night to high acclaim. Music is integral to what we do here at Sexey’s and its important that pupils seize these valuable opportunities to be creative and to be challenged.  Talking of challenges (it all seems to flow!) our Zambia exchange students were outstanding at last night’s presentations at Castle Cary and were a real credit to the school. They did the Bag2Bag collection this week and are off flint picking tomorrow – sterling fundraising efforts in every sense.

So as I get ready to attend the launch night of The Independent Bath Literature Festival (we are sponsoring the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams this year), prepare for the boarding interviews on Saturday morning, try to find my cheque book for the silent auction at tomorrow's PSA Spring Dinner & Dance (only a few tickets left), and work out how to get to Taunton School to support the Equestrian Team in Sunday's Show Jumping competition, I do wonder where the half term break went.

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