Friday, 29 April 2016

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 29 April 2016

Prince, the influential pop star who passed away last week wrote ‘Sometimes it Snows in April’ and it’s ironic that during this Trinity term it actually snowed a few days after his untimely death. The weather forecast is not great.

We spoke in assembly and at St Mary’s, Bruton last Sunday, about our strong values and those British values of service and duty that epitomises the work of Her Majesty the Queen and that of St George and what we do together as a community. It was a delight to hear the exploits of our sportsmen and women as they spoke eloquently about their Sports Tour to Paris and the trophies they won, the most significant being the Fair Play Award which reflects the maturity and understanding of our students and the values that I hope they subscribe to. I hope the KS3 Trinity Exams have gone well this week and that these will continue to inform and prepare our students for the future. Our Y11 and 6th Form students continue to display a strong work ethic with the exam season ever looming and amongst all this exam preparation, the students still find time to rehearse, perform and play tennis, rounders and cricket - there were fine performances against Milton Abbey, The Gryphon and All Hallows’ this week. It is so important that there is a balance between academic studies and extra-curricular activities  – there are plenty of opportunities to participate in the latter to test physical prowess, strategy, musicality (the Summer Concert takes place next Wednesday), team work, spirituality, confidence, creativity and simply being in the great outdoors (weather permitting, of course!) – we strive to deliver an all-round education which develops the whole person.

This week, I’ve mostly been revising organic chemistry with my U6 students and we have been talking about the isotopes of carbon and how we use this important element in everyday life. I am hoping to use some carbon in the BBQ this Bank Holiday weekend but only if the sun decides to show its face. I do wonder if it is still on its Easter holidays…

Enjoy the extended exeat.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 22 April 2016

Staying on TRaK (Tolerance, Respect & Kindness) continues to be our drive this term with preparation for public examinations fully underway (the KS3 Trinity Exams take place next week), and it is important that our students remain fully engaged and focussed. The pace and intensity has been relentless since we got back last week and has seen our students taking on the responsibility of public exams in a mature and considered manner. I have been impressed with their work ethic, independence of thought and positive attitude in and around school, including the boarding houses, and I commend them for their sterling efforts. No doubt nerves will be frayed and patience tried (and that’s just the teachers!), but we are here to help and support our students during this tough time. And I am sure they will do you and the school proud – everyone has the ability and potential to succeed, so long as one has self-belief and determination, which has been evident over the course of these past few months.

Opportunities continue to abound at Sexey’s – from auditions for Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ which have kept our budding actors occupied, our 6th form film-makers being showcased at the world-renowned Hauser & Wirth, to the Macmillan House charity fundraiser for ‘Rescued Dogs 4 Life’ last night – plenty of opportunities for our students to grow and flourish.  House Rugby 7s took place all this week ably assisted and officiated by Old Sexeian Ben Chapman and it was a hard fought competition with Glynn-Jones as overall winners. Good camaraderie, sportsmanship and community. We are a special and unique school and we are certainly on TRaK in many ways and I hope that our students continue to value the first class education that they are receiving here and achieve to their potential, both in and out of the academic arena. Keeping on TRaK can be difficult at times, and some will invariably come off it, but we are here to help them get back on TRaK and to hopefully stay on it. You are very welcome to join us at St Mary’s, Bruton for the Schools’ Service with Father Justin this Sunday morning and experience this sense of community - it would be lovely to see you.

Speaking of community, may I politely request that parents do not use the main school entrance for morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups please? This practice is making the area unsafe for our students and staff and is an accident waiting to happen. The only place drop-offs and pick-ups should happen is the large overflow car-park between the Lisbury and Macmillan sites and the Coombe Garden. This rule does not apply to parents of boarding students in Coombe House who may enter the main school site, but only at the start or end of the three terms. Coombe parents should also use the overflow car park for dropping off and picking up at all other times. Thank you for your continued cooperation in this matter – let’s hope all of us can stay on TRaK, much like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who turned 90 yesterday.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 15 April 2016

Welcome back to the start of the Trinity Term – a term traditionally when courses culminate in the taking of public exams, cricket, rounders and athletics form the major sports and the sun is supposed to be shining…Where has the sun gone? I hear you ask and I’ve been asking myself that very question as the new term started! However, it’s great to be back at school and to see the students in their summer uniform getting back into the swing of things (pity the summer hasn’t quite turned up just yet – but we can only hope).  Over the Easter holiday, the Sports department had a successful tour to Paris where the netball and football teams did the school proud and won trophies and accolades whilst they were out there. Time at Disneyland, Paris was also fun, I hear! And sporting success continues with the Y7 Netball, having won the area finals last term, are now at Millfield today taking part in the County Finals – we wish them well in their endeavours.

Also over the holiday, the school celebrated its 125th birthday (on the 6th of April to be precise) and I am sure its founders’ Mr Hugh Sexey, The Rt Hon Henry Hobhouse of Hadspen MP and the school’s first Head Master, Mr William A Knight would be proud of how far the school has come since it was established back in 1891. And to mark this auspicious occasion, we are having a number of events to celebrate; from an Old Sexeians Squares Tournament (that playground favourite), a Victorian Day to An Evening with Marco Pierre White – details of which are attached. I do hope that you will support these events and help us celebrate another milestone in our school’s illustrious history. Speaking of significant birthdays, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will also be celebrating her 90th birthday next week. We wish her the very best.

We welcomed three new members of staff to the Sexey’s community; Mr Tim Clements who takes up the position of Temporary Teacher of Geography, Dr Emily Deaney who will be undertaking her teacher practice with us, also in the Geography department and Mr Josh Brooker (OS) joins the Humanities Faculty this term where he will be gaining valuable experience as he also trains to become a teacher. We look forward to working with them as they help move the school forward.  And I would like to officially welcome Mr Dan Bull to the Senior Leadership Team as our new Deputy Head, and to thank both him and Mr Philip Clackson for stepping up and taking on the roles of Associate Heads last term – the positive impact both of these colleagues have made with the various responsibilities bestowed on them whilst on SLT have been far reaching and I thank them for their commitment and efforts.

So with enrichment activities taking place (Mandarin lessons on Mondays), cricket practices, early morning swimming, County netball finals, Parent Staff Association meeting (do join the PSA – they do so much for the school), Maths interviews, revision sessions, Yoga sessions, it’s like we have never had a holiday. Have we really only been back a week? Time flies…