Friday, 18 July 2014

Head Master's End of Term Notes - 18th July

It seems remarkable that the term and academic year has come to an end – 43 weeks have flown by since that crisp September morning when I stood at the lectern and met the school for the first time. The summer term, with exams, study leave, work experience and the like, always gives the impression that it is the easiest term, but I assure you, it isn’t. This last week alone we have had Sports Day, Shakespeare’s ‘The Comedy of Errors’, the FIFA World Cup Final in Macmillan House, Old Sexeian Cricket & Classic Car Show, the Y6 Boarding Induction weekend, Enrichment Week, Gold DoE expedition to Monmouthshire, new staff induction, the Y7 Summer Science Exhibition, the Farnborough Air Show…

It has been a privilege saying goodbye over the last few weeks to the departing Y13 and Y11s – the next generation of Old Sexeians (OS). Final Assembly this afternoon was an opportunity to say thank you to them on behalf of the School; they had their Ball and Leavers' service and the atmosphere at both was just right and it says much about these year groups that they have left in such style and with such affection for the School . . . there were a few tears, and not just from the parents! To those parents, as well as to the students, I emphasise the fact that you are all welcome at any time in the future.

Of course, we have also been saying farewell to departing colleagues and it was fitting that we should pay tribute to them this afternoon at Final Assembly. Dr Michael Genton who was the school doctor for 26 years and then Governor for 15 years (4 years as Chairman) retired after giving 41 years’ service to the school and we thank him for his dedication, commitment and wisdom. The Governors’ Dinner was a wonderful and moving occasion and an opportunity for the school to salute Dr Genton for his selfless work both to the School and the community of Bruton. There was a most moving moment at the end of assembly as the students saluted our departing colleagues: they have been schoolteachers of the very highest calibre, both in and beyond the classroom, and it was touching and fitting that they should be recognised in that way. Other academic staff we say farewell to are Mrs Byrne (PE); Mrs Davis (PE); Mrs Baker (Head of RE); Mr & Mrs Smith (PE and Macmillan House); Miss Young (Learning Support); Mr Ruddle (RE), Miss Rudolph (MFL - German Assistant) and Mrs Porter (Science Technician). We wish them all the very best.

The strength of the Sexey’s School community goes beyond its staff, parents and present pupils, however. The Old Sexeians is very much alive and are eager to support the school and last Sunday we had our OS XI Cricket match. It was lovely to see so many on such a glorious day and I would also like to note the generosity of the current 1st XI in allowing the OS XI to get away with a win! We have many plans for the OS and will be rekindling those friendships over the coming months with numerous sporting fixtures, ‘Class of’ events and dinners.

It is always a busy few weeks for sport but it has been a vintage summer at Sexey’s. The Cricket Club have had a successful season taking on the might of traditional cricketing schools such as Wells Cathedral, Clayesmore, KES Bath, Dauntsey’s, Milton Abbey and the like. Particular highlights include the 1st XIs emphatic win over Wellington School where we needed 6 to win in the last over and Tommy ’10 wickets’ Stewart success with the U14s at The Gryphon by achieving record breaking bowling figures of 10-2 and winning Cricket World’s Player of the Month. He only then went on to hit his maiden century against All Hallows a week later – a talent to watch out for in the future. Girls’ Rounders has had a good season against the likes of Huish Episcopi, Stanchester, The Park School and Bruton School for Girls amongst others and the talent coming through the ranks bodes well for the future. The Athletics Club have had a tremendous season with many of our students being selected to represent county in both track and field events and Caitlin Carnegie (9 GLY JM) being confirmed as the 14th fastest girl in the UK in the 3000m having achieved a new school record of 11.03:03. This is the 2nd school record she has broken this year having already beaten the 1500m time earlier in the year. Sport is strong and diverse at Sexey’s (Equestrian, Motor Racing, Sailing, Swimming to mention a few) and we are certainly making a name for ourselves both nationally and internationally (the 1st XVs fine win over the Swedish National side is another highlight) and with the addition of the new Head of Girls’ Sport to the team, it can only get stronger. The rescheduled Sports Day was a success last Friday with an excellent turnout from parents and friends of the school and the weather actually stayed fine! Knight House took the spoils with some terrific performances and Hobhouse won the inaugural Macmillan Cancer Race – a wonderful occasion overall with the PSA, as they have done all year, serving delicious tea and cakes and raising valuable funds for the school along the way. The PSA are incredible and I would like to thank them for all that they do for the school. If you would like to join the PSA, then please do drop the Chairman a line - they will be holding their AGM on Sunday 22nd September at 7pm in Walwin House. They have big plans for next year so do please support the events and keep up to date on Twitter. I have been so impressed with the parental support this year, from parents taking Sports teams to fundraising to accompanying trips - long may it continue.

The Creative Arts are never to be outdone and we have had some wonderful concerts, exhibitions and shows this summer. My thanks as ever to the students for their performances at assembly; the various groups that played at Acoustic Night, the Bands for their annual concert and the artists and dramatists who have worked tirelessly to deliver creative pieces of art and stellar performances on the stage. With Hauser & Wirth Somerset on our doorstep, the Young Cinema Foundation coming to Sexey’s and Trinity Guild Hall exams from September, the creative talent can allow continue to flourish at Sexey’s. And the Y7 Summer Science Exhibition was just that - creative in every respect and exciting - it was impressive to see all of our young scientists communicating enthusiastically about their various experiments, from making ice cream using liquid nitrogen to producing elephant toothpaste - you could feel the energy and electricity throughout the Main Hall – literally!

And so the academic year draws to an end. The School remains in good shape, with overall numbers strong for September and development plans over the summer include various upgrades and maintenance works and continued planning for the estate as we move forward as a School. There have been many, many highlights in my first year as Head Master of Sexey’s, too numerous to mention here, but I hope you have been kept informed of all them over the past year through the school’s weekly e-bulletin- From the Head Master. And have enjoyed reading them too! I wish all students the very best for exam results and hope that they all have a pleasant, relaxing (but not too relaxing?!) summer. Thank you to all parents and friends of the school for your undying support, encouragement and cooperation throughout this academic year – it means a lot to me, my colleagues, but most importantly, our students.

They say time flies when you are having fun; it certainly has in my first year at Sexey’s and I look forward to September, which no doubt, will be here in the blink of an eye!

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