Friday, 26 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 26 May 2017

From the Headmaster 
What a scorcher of a day for Sports Day! Spirits were high as we processed up to the Elm Field - our four houses were in fine form singing with gusto the School Song, building team spirit. It was lovely to see so many parents there in support (thank you again to the PSA for staving off the dehydration). My personal thanks also go to the PE department for their meticulous organisation, to the Estates team, House staff, KDR, IT and of course the competitors, who battled hard but shook hands at the end. This time victory belonged to Golledge who won the prestigious West Midlands Relay Shield and the Track & Field competitions with Knight House winning the Macmillan Cancer Support Student – Staff Race. It was a fine way to round off this busy half term and a well-deserved break awaits our colleagues and students alike.

It has been a moving week as we marked a minute’s silence yesterday in respect for the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack on Monday. We have been open in speaking to our students about how the news has affected them, but if you are anxious about doing so at home, you may find this information from the BBC helpful.

We welcome home our students from the China Exchange next Wednesday. To read more about their trip, please see here.

A moving Leavers’ assembly took place yesterday in the Sixth Form Centre and it was a fitting tribute to the maturity and diligence of this particular year group. They have been led admirably by Maximillian Kaberry, Victoria Regan and Francesca Llewellin, who have encapsulated all the qualities that make a Sexeian – all commented on the friendly nature and warm atmosphere of the school, the life skills they have learnt and the strong relationships they have built, which will last for many years to come. The Sixth Formers now immerse themselves in public exams after half term and we wish them well in their endeavours as they pursue coveted university places, gap years and internships come August. I thank them for the outstanding service they have given to the school – from music, art and drama productions, to a variety of sports teams and to the prefect body for setting the gold standard to the younger members of our community and keeping them on TRaK. Their skills in Car Pool Karaoke was also a revelation…

I wish you all a pleasant and peaceful half term break and look forward to welcoming you back into school on Monday 5th June (4th June for our returning boarders).

Monday, 22 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 19 May 2017

Summer exams started this week, with students taking part in breakfast and lunch revision clubs and The Sanctuary providing welcome relaxation. Our teachers can be seen poring over the papers in the break times, and the whole school is behind those are working so hard at this time.

Our extra-curricular activities provide welcome relief at these times and it was superb to hear our Sexey’s singing group perform so well at Roth Bar & Grill last weekend. Their fine voices certainly bode well for the whole school musical ‘Bugsy Malone’ in July. Tickets are already on sale in Reception; we do hope you can join us. Meanwhile, our sportsmen and women performed well in cricket, rounders, equestrian and tennis fixtures played this week against Ansford, Dauntsey’s School and Huish Episcopi Academy, and the athletics Track and Field Cup meet at Millfield on Wednesday saw wins in the relays and sprints – congratulations to everyone involved.

We also had a very successful Boarding Open Morning last weekend and again thank you to all colleagues and the community who go over and beyond to support us in our endeavours. It was an excellent opportunity to show our future students what they can achieve at Sexey’s, and to provide an update on all that we have been doing recently in Boarding. Feedback was extremely positive, and our existing parents may also be interested to read the latest updates to the Boarding and Academic Action Plans here and here respectively. As always, we welcome any questions or comments on these.

As I write, final preparations are being made for the China Exchange trip, which departs tomorrow to Beijing. We wish them the very best of journeys, a fruitful visit, and a safe return.  

祝你一个平静轻松的周 (I wish you a peaceful and relaxing weekend).

Monday, 15 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 12 May 2017

Whatever your political view, it is hard to be anything other than impressed by the fact that a person with drive and a vision for change could be elected French President only a year after starting his own political movement, En Marche. It is this level of passion with which we aim to enthuse our students and the coming week’s activities encourages me of our success. Continuing the political theme, we were pleased to welcome the Liberal Democrat prospective candidate for Somerton and Frome into school on Thursday to speak to our Sixth Form Government & Politics students on the democratic process. Engaging the next generation in the current political debate is important to us as a school and we encourage those Sixth Formers who are eligible to do so to register to vote in June.

The film festival this weekend at Hauser & Wirth includes Youth Cinema Foundation’s ‘Strange Magic’, written and directed by Sexey’s Sixth Former Megan O’Neil and involving several of our students. I would encourage you to get your complimentary ticket and support their enthusiasm and endeavour.

It is a season of school trips. This morning saw a group of our Year 8 Gifted and Talented students in the school car en route to The Salters’ Institute of Chemistry at the University of Bristol for a day’s competition with other schools in the South West, solving chemical challenges. More on this on our news section of the website shortly. Next weekend 15 students will be visiting our partner school Yueyang No.2 Middle School, China for over a week, working alongside Chinese students and visiting Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall of China and Ming Tombs among other sights. What a fantastic opportunity.

The summer sports season is in full swing with cricket, rounders and tennis matches played this week against Ansford, King Arthur’s, Millfield, Clayesmore, and Huish Episcopi Academy. Don’t forget the Sexey's School Sports dedicated site for more details of fixtures. Best of luck to students participating in the equestrian events this weekend and we look forward to welcoming you all at Sports Day on Friday 26th May, if not before.

We wish all our Y11 and 6th form the very best in their public exams which continue to gather pace next week.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 5 May 2017

Although a short week (though this is a long time in politics!), we have seen much activity in school as we returned from the first of our May bank holidays. GCSE Art and Spanish students have embarked on their exams and I commend all of our students for their thoughtfulness in keeping a respectful air for their peers who are mid-revision at this time. Next week our Key Stage 3 students will take their internal exams and we wish them all the very best of luck for them.

The Sports Department has been as busy as ever with cricket and rounders fixtures played against Holyrood Academy, Millfield School and The Gryphon this week. A special congratulations goes to Sixth Former Georgia Silcox who became Somerset Schools’ Senior Heptathlon Champion at the Somerset Schools’ Combined Events Championships on Monday. A tremendous achievement on all accounts.

Next weekend we see off our latest Duke of Edinburgh practitioners on their Bronze practice expedition to Cranborne Chase. We add our thanks to those flooding in from around the world in praise of Prince Philip as he announced yesterday that he is stepping back from public office this year, in particular for his inspirational work with the DofE award scheme. Thanks in large part to the team of teachers led by Mrs Wilkinson, who give up their time in support of the scheme, we are proud to be one of the largest providers in the South West. Students from Year 10 onwards are given the opportunity to participate in the scheme, which is widely recognised by colleges, universities and employers and has been popular with Sexey’s students for many years. Success in the award brings many challenges but also many rewards for participants in exchange for commitment, hard work and determination. To read our news story from the latest award ceremony for our successful students, please click the link here:  

On Saturday 13th May we also hold our Boarding Open Morning and thank all of our parents for spreading the word and encouraging any families in your network that might be interested in our school to register on the school website and join us at 10am in Macmillan House.

Yesterday’s local elections took place and I hope that our students will continue to keep abreast on what is happening in politics both here and around the world, especially with the French going to polls this Sunday.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Headmaster's Weekly Notes - 28 April 2017

As tensions rise on the political battlefield both here and across the Channel, we spoke at Sixth Form assembly this week about the recent French elections and how this will have an impact on the UK and Brexit. There is so much uncertainty that it is difficult to navigate politics currently and it's the next generation of leaders (our students) that will need to be equipped with the right tools in order to do so. Their thoughtful comments make me optimistic for the future.

Sticking with the Sixth Form, as a Gifted & Talented venture, our G&T and PE departments recently secured the opportunity for six of our talented Year 11 PE students to experience a Sports Psychology programme with Dr Barry Cripps, a registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist with notable clients such as The Met Office, The British Olympic Association, and the High Performance Unit at the University of Exeter. The aim of the programme was to help the students gain a better insight and understanding of their talents and to coach them in ways that would help them with their performance, including relaxation techniques, confidence, concentration, goal setting strategies and practising mental rehearsal. And speaking of goal setting, our Sixth Formers also arranged a school fundraiser for Dorothy House Hospice, raising important funds for this special charity, which cares for people of all ages, from all walks of life with life-limiting illnesses and is this year celebrating its 40th birthday.  The event, held in the sixth form games session, was a sports day style event with three-legged and sack races and a fancy dress obstacle course. Well done to all those involved.

As I type, final preparations are being made for the 5km Race for Life in support of Cancer Research on the Elm Field. Thank you to everyone who has joined us for this fantastic charitable event which has been organised by our Deputy Head Girl, Lucy Febrey. Just like the image of one marathon runner helping another in the final metres of that gruelling race, I hope we at school will continue to go out of our way to support those in need.