Friday, 7 March 2014

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 7th March

So what are your thoughts on the badger culling and would you like to be Prime Minister? These and many other questions where posed to The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Education, who visited the school last Friday (just before I was due to go to Bath for the Literature Festival – that’s another story!). The students seized the opportunity to question the Education Minister on topics as diverse as Basque separatism, behaviour in Prime Minister's Questions, flood defences in Somerset, his educational reforms and Scottish Independence. I was impressed at the way the students handled the occasion (and Mr Gove) and the way they articulated themselves to their conversations with him. The students also met with the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome, David Warburton, that afternoon and also put him through his paces! The full story is on the website.

Next week we have the prospective Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome, Sarah Yong (OS) coming into school to meet with students for a similar grilling and to tell us about her political journey. And we have also contacted Mr Tristam Hunt MP, the shadow Education Minister , inviting him to Sexey’s to meet and speak with our students in due course. Providing students with a range of political, cultural and social views is important so that they can make informed choices based on their own judgments, which is one of the main reasons why we decided to get involved with the Bath Literature Festival. Myself and Mrs Latif hotfooted it over to Bath last Friday to meet the Artistic Director, Viv Groskop (herself a Brutonian) at the Launch Party and we were also fortunate to meet the editor of the Independent, Amol Rajan who hopefully will be visiting the school – he is very intrigued about state boarding…

Today, a group of Sexeians met with the Mayor of Bath and had a private audience with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams. Again, our Sexeians were very impressive and asked Dr Williams a number of searching questions from the comfort of the Mayor’s Parlour ranging from gay marriage, the conflict in Ukraine, women bishops, secularism and the works of Tolstoy. Dr Williams is an eminent theologian and it was a true honour to meet him and for us to have a conversation with him. For our students to meet such dignitaries is a privilege and we are very fortunate that we can provide such opportunities for them in order to broaden their horizons and access knowledge of this quality.
To say it’s been a busy week is an understatement – the PSA Spring Dinner Dance took place last Saturday and was a roaring success thanks to the legion of parents (next year’s date has already been confirmed (Saturday 7th March 2015 so put it in your diary now!); the Equestrian Team took part in the Taunton School Show Jumping competition last Sunday, while some of the boarders went skiing and played golf; the Teaching and Learning Review took place all this week where we monitored the quality of Teaching and Learning in the school; The Annual Centenary Lecture (I heard it went with a bang!) was given to local feeder schools during the day and governors, staff, parents and guests in the evening where Sexey’s ice cream was unveiled for the first time; the Sexey’s U15 Rugby 7s competition (we won the plate final beating Hampshire Collegiate 21-14), netball matches, football matches, Big Yellow Friday (it’s happening while you read this and Kate Allenby MBE who delivered our keynote address on Speech Day has asked me to ride with her this evening!) and meeting the wonderful Dr Rowan Williams.
I now need to find my cycling shorts so must dash!

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