Friday, 9 September 2016

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 09 September 2016

From the Head Master

Welcome back to the start of the new Michaelmas Term and a warm welcome to our new parents whose sons and daughters have joined us this September. I hope my weekly ruminations do not clog up your inboxes and subsequent posts will be shorter, I promise! So where did the summer go? Where indeed did last year go? The first week is almost over and I hope that our students have settled back quickly into normal school routines and that our new members to the school community (students and staff) are beginning to understand how we at Sexey’s work and operate. It is a delight to see our new Year 7 pupils enjoying all that Sexey’s has to offer both in and out of the classroom and I hope their energy and enthusiasm continues long into the term.  It was wonderful to see the Head of School, Max Kaberry (U6) and his peers sit with our new Y7s at lunch today and talk to them about school life – it was like older brothers and sisters guiding their younger siblings. And that’s what Sexey’s is about –  family. It was great to hear the School Hymn being belted out at assembly (I missed it over the summer!) and the Head Boy (Freddie Seymour Y11) and Head Girl (Lucia Elliott Y11) of the Lower School reading with such aplomb about the Olympics in Rio this summer and how Team GB was funded – do talk to them about it over the weekend and the implications for sport in general in the UK. I am now glued to the Paralympics in Rio…

As you can imagine, it has been a busy week for our students and staff – Leadership Training for our Sixth Form, meeting new students as well as new staff, girls’ hockey practices, rugby practices, various clubs and societies at lunchtimes and after school, assemblies, prayers, singing practices, learning how to play Squares, the implementation of ‘GCSEPod’ (watch this space), new boarding tutors in all the boarding houses, pre-season rugby training, DoE preparation, Professor Collingridge’s lecture (winner of the Brain Prize 2016) to our students and parents last night on neuroscience, PSA (Parent Staff Association) meeting (more below) and of course, lessons! There is so much going on here and I would like to thank my colleagues for making this happen – I am very lucky indeed to have such a dedicated and committed staff and I wish them well for the exciting year ahead.

We have had a very positive start to the term buoyed by the outstanding exam results the school has achieved at GCSE and A-level over the summer. The excellent performance at A-level (62% A*-B) is testimony to the hard work and effort by our Y13s and their teachers and our results give many of our competitors (independent and state) a good run for their money. Over 80% of our Y13s have now entered university, many of which are Russell Group. The AS results are equally encouraging and bode well for the future and the new Y13s know exactly what they need to do in order to enjoy the same success as their predecessors – academic discipline, commitment and dedication are all necessary attitudes which they are adopting in order to move forward and secure those coveted places in industry or university. Of course, there needs to be a balance, and enjoying life outside the classroom is equally as important and it was wonderful to hear two Y13s after a hard day at school, enthusing about Professor Collingridge’s stimulating lecture.

Not to be outdone, the stunning performance at GCSE by our Year 11s achieving the highest results for a generation are equally impressive. Our results, on all accountability measures including the main Government measure of 5A*-C including English and Maths (83%) by which all schools are compared by, is the best in Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall. Our students and staff have worked diligently to achieve these outstanding results and I am delighted for them. In amongst the headlines, there are numerous individual successes, students who have pulled themselves up to, and beyond their fullest potential, and it is just as exciting to see a student who might have expected a C achieving an A as it is to see those who achieve straight A*s or As. Many of our Year 11s have now moved into our Sixth Form and are already knuckling down to the demands of A-level and also look very professional indeed in their smart dress – they are here to work and to lead by example; this can only be good for the school as we carry on moving forward.

Please do take a moment to look at the website which will provide you with a wealth of information and do try and support as many of the events that you can – from concerts to plays, from sporting fixtures to exhibitions. Please book the dates in your diaries and join us when you can - you are all very welcome to these. If there is anything you are not sure about, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at School or with your son’s or daughter’s tutor. We are always here to help. Do also follow us on Twitter (@SexeysSchool) and join in the conversation.

It is great to be back and to see our Sexeians getting stuck into business and I can’t believe that the sun is actually shining.  I do hope that our students have used the holidays to recuperate, relax and reflect and are now ready to take on the many challenges they will face over the coming year. We are here to help them face those challenges, but for now, I wish you and them a pleasant and peaceful weekend. I look forward to another successful year both in and out of the academic arena. If I blink, I might miss it all – I hope not.

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