Friday, 9 December 2016

Head Master's Weekly Notes - 9 December 2016

So the Christmas spirit has finally arrived at Sexey’s this week and it certainly feels likes Christmas now, with the Christmas trees looking splendid, tinsel in the classrooms, carols playing in school and the 6th form taking part in Christmas Jumper Day in support of the school’s various charities. After all it is December and all we need now is some snow…

Yesterday's traditional Christmas Concert was a wonderful occasion and it was a real pleasure to see so many parents and friends of the School in attendance - it was standing room only and the concert highlighted the wealth of talent abundant in the school. This year we were treated to fine performances by the Wind Band, the Strings Group, the Folk Band, Choir and spirited solo performances too – Leanne Baker (I Dreamed a Dream), Princess Ijaola (My Boy Lollipop), Adam Wagstaff (Infant Holy), Toria Ives (Away in a Manger) and Alexandra Macmillan and Jessica Taylor (Silent Night). There were plenty of other stunning performances (far too many to list here) and it was incredible to see the level of engagement, participation and most importantly, the sheer enjoyment of the students which was in so much abundance last night. From Year 7 to the U6, the breadth and depth of musical talent here is strong and the quality of music in a school reflects its ethos, spirit and creativity and I know that under the stewardship of the brilliant Mr Badley (who played more than 5 instruments last night!), music will continue to go from strength to strength at the school. The festive season is well and truly here!

We have just had an absolutely sumptuous Christmas Lunch by Mr Ben Futcher and his team in the KDR which was preceded by another Sexey's Christmas tradition - the Annual House Cross-Country (my thanks to Greg and Elaine Beedle at Gants Mill for their continued support of this brilliant event). The school was awash with students (and a number of colleagues) in their colourful kit and fancy dress running for their Houses and their chosen charities, UNICEF and SANE – from Santa’s Sleigh complete with reindeer to the Sexey’s Swim Team running in just their swim kit, to the ‘Mr Southwood Appreciation Society’ and the Sexey’s Christmas Presents. We also had the Head of School, Victoria Regan and the Head of Boarding Fran Llewellin together with Jess Perry and Rachel Palmer dressed as Santa’s Little Helpers. The PSA were also in fine form tackling the tough course in aid of SANE. Thankfully the weather was kind to us today (though it was perishing and quite soft underfoot after last night’s downpour) but the atmosphere was very warm (as was the hot chocolate) and at times, electric. The camaraderie and support shown by the students for each other, and for colleagues was truly humbling - the students singing the School Song set the tone for the character building morning. Again, it never ceases to amaze me the sheer talent that is in such abundance here and the fervent pride the students have for their Houses (house hockey and rugby matches will be fiercely contested next week and after the holidays), let alone their School. And speaking of talent, we had Ellice Pounder (L6) who participated in the Supadance National Ballroom and Latin Finals in Blackpool last weekend.  In the couples event she managed to get to the quarter finals and came third as part of the ladies team - a tremendous effort by our very own ‘Strictly’ star! I would also like to wish our Oxbridge candidates the very best next week as they travel up to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge having been invited up for interview. They have been preparing feverishly this week and have had tough mock interviews with colleagues who have been putting them through their paces. I am sure this passion for learning both inside and outside of the classroom will continue long into the weekend, when the boarders will be off to Southampton for Christmas shopping and also making preparations for next week’s Feast Night, whilst the Y11 Geographers will be getting ready for their expedition to Snowdonia. We are very privileged to be part of this spirited and warm community. 

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