Friday, 7 February 2014

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 7th February

There has been a lot of drama (in every sense of the word) this week, both in and out of the academic arena. Kevin Pietersen, England’s prolific batsman has been dropped from the national team; Prince Charles has visited our neighbours in the flooded region of the Somerset Levels and has criticised the Government for not making the area safe sooner; and the cast and crew of the school musical production having been practising and performing since the beginning of the week. I really didn't know what to expect especially when it took me some time to decipher the title ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’. But I was impressed when I saw the opening night performance on Wednesday. It was hilarious, witty, moving and full of energy - I also learnt a couple of new words too - syzygy, acouchi and ideate! The final performance takes place tonight (it was mentioned on Classic FM this morning during the School Run!) and so please do book your tickets - you will not be disappointed!

So we had our very own Six Nations Rugby curtain raiser last Saturday with Sexey’s taking on the might of Catholic University School, Dublin and winning 29-17. This was followed by a block football fixture against Milton Abbey up on the football pitches where the weather was, shall we say, different. Wonderful to watch the individual contests and the pride and passion our Sexeians played with. This was followed by the Spiral of Light festival at the foot of the Dovecote - a glorious community event for the town which was enjoyed by all (it didn't rain, thank goodness!) and our Y11 performers really captured the moment as they performed to hundreds of Brutonites and their families under the lights of the Dovecote. I think the event will be slightly bigger next year...

The Six Nations continues to rumble on this weekend with England travelling up to Scotland to contest the coveted Calcutta Cup, having narrowly missed a win against France in their own back yard – we can only continue to hope! Closer to home on Sunday, a local derby brimming with fervor and energy will be taking place in Wincanton when Bruton United Football Club take on Wincanton FC – both teams have a huge Sexey’s representation and the banter is already in full swing! My money is on Bruton Utd and I hope to see the likes of Rob Clackson and Jamal Benzair take on Raymond Allen and Zak Wheeler – friendly rivalry and healthy competition is good for the soul. We have also had a brace of netball fixtures against Huish, Bucklers Mead, The Gryphon and Kings of Wessex and the Sexey’s teams have again triumphed – I was fortunate to have supper with some of the U15 girls’ team on Wednesday eveningwho were so enthusiastic about their recent win (26-5) that they recounted every basket back to me. Wonderful to hear and witness the team spirit and camaraderie which was so evident amongst these girls. Opportunities. And of course talking of team spirit, today sees Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the conditions out there look tremendous – snow powder levels are about 350cm on the upper slopes and the weather forecast is excellent (I wish I could say the same here). The sensation of skiing down these pristine slopes created by nature amongst the imposing mountain ranges must be such an adrenaline rush and I hope it inspires many of you to sign up your son/daughter for the forthcoming school ski trip to Tonale in Italy this December. What an opportunity and a useful life skill to have. Who knows we may well a future Winter Olympian in our midst.

The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Michael Gove in his key note speech on educational reform on Monday at The London Academy of Excellence, paid tribute to the outstanding state schools working hard to make a difference and providing educational opportunities for our pupils. His aim is for the state sector to resemble the independent sector more closely so that a visitor to any school could not tell whether the school was publicly funded or not. At Sexey’s we have always offered the best of both the state and independent sectors in an inclusive environment and Mr Gove highlighted a handful, including Sexey's, as amongst the best in the world – read the full story on our website<>.  It is  to be recognized in this way on a national level and receive such high praise for the work that we do at our special and unique school. But a school is only as good as its staff, students and parents and we have a group of teaching and non-teaching professionals here who are passionate about what they do and are eager for their charges to do well, whether it be in the Science laboratory, on the archery course or at the Spelling Bee – and our parents work incredibly hard too supporting the school in everything it does for which I am grateful. All the ingredients of a successful school some might say? We will continue to be aspirational and ambitious for our pupils but making sure that at all times, our feet are firmly on the ground. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem though this weekend where the forecast is for more torrential rain on the already muddy Elm Field...

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