Monday, 17 March 2014

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 14th March

I was looking at the school's website and our social media feeds trying to keep with all that is going on in and around school and I noticed a comment from the Good Schools Guide, particularly the last line, on the front page - Lots of good teaching here and a genuine sense of community".  And it struck me why we are such a close knit community at Sexey's. There have been numerous examples of community spirit here at school but one recent event particularly highlighted this - last weekend's Big Yellow Friday. This was a community event in every sense of the word masterminded by our very own Mr Hill which not only brought together students, their parents and staff, but also people from the local community and beyond - friends of the school, Old Sexeians, local community groups, local businesses, the fire service (there were no fires I hasten to add!), Olympians, bishops and the list goes on. It was humbling to see so many people take part (over 300 cyclists), how much people genuinely care and how we look out for each other in this special community of ours at this fine institution. The event has already raised a staggering £7,500 (and this figure is increasing every day) for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation and it is great to hear that Tilly is doing well after her transplant - we look forward to seeing her at Sexey's in the not too distant future.

Over the extended exeat this Saturday, the school is taking part in another community event - the Bruton Coffee morning in the Community Hall -  if you are around do drop in for a slice of cake and a cup of tea, it would be lovely to see you. And next Friday the school has been invited to take part in the 'Bruton Community Spring Clean' community event organised by The Mill on the Brue to give Bruton a real clean up now that spring (fingers crossed) has finally arrived. The 'Bruton the Way Forward' consultation afternoon took place not so long ago and from a town perspective it was interesting to see the community taking an active role in suggesting ideas and strategies to ensure that the town continues to develop for the benefit of the local and wider community - a real sense of community spirit which can only be a good thing. I'll keep you posted on developments here as the school (being one of, if not the largest employer in the town) will have a considerable interest in this initiative.

Closer to the home, we have had numerous rugby, football and netball fixtures; the rugby 7s ventured into deepest Wales (buoyed by last Saturday's 6 Nation victory) to take part in the prestigious Llandovery 7s - a tough competition in all respects and the U16s travelled to Berkshire to compete in the Independent Schools Association 7s competition - they managed to win their quarter- final match which is a tremendous effort. Not to be outdone, the Girls' U15 rugby team had excellent victories against Huish Episcopi and St Dunstans in the area tournament and progress to Burnham  next week - exciting stuff. The U13 netball teams also celebrated successes against King Arthur's and The Gryphon and the Motor Sports Team raced in the qualifying stages for the British Schools Karting Championship at Cheddar yesterday - Sexey's has a proud history in this prestigious national competition (founded by Old Sexeian Will Tew) reaching the National Finals in four of the past six years and finishing 5th nationally (out of 800 competing schools) in 2013; sport this term is going from strength to strength despite the poor weather and I'm grateful to colleagues for providing these valuable opportunities to our students to allow them to flex their sporting muscles in a variety of competitions. It’s wonderful to see so much participation, engagement and support - important life skills such as resilience, teamwork and leadership and are constantly being developed and it is my privilege as a Head to watch our students grow and flourish in these areas from the safety of the sidelines...

On the academic side, colleagues from Sexey's and schools from all over Somerset are coming together today as a learning community to share best practice and to learn from one another what works best in the classroom - over 1000 teachers in over 40 schools are working closely together for the benefit of the next generation. Community on a bigger scale and good to be part of. Also, it’s not every day that you receive a letter from the Queen acknowledging and thanking the students for the work they have done - Sexey's is now even being talked about  in the corridors of Buckingham Palace - thank you to Mr Manning for taking the time to write to Her Majesty.

So as the exeat beckons, I will be watching the climax of the Six Nations with the local community in Bruton with intent - will England win the spoils against Italy or will the talismanic Brian O'Driscoll have a fairy tale ending to his glittering international rugby career. There's nothing like a good game to bring the local, national and international communities together.

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