Last Saturday 7th July we opened the school up in the afternoon for visitors who wanted to look round informally on the occasion of our diamond jubilee. The afternoon was billed as an opportunity for former staff and students to visit the school, either for nostalgic reasons, or just because they were curious. Several of our interested staff had compiled a superb collection of memorabilia, and had marshalled this and other research they had done into a fascinating exhibition on the school’s history. A group of students, under the efficient and watchful supervision of food staff, had prepared a vast number of scones and cakes, and along with a number of stalls there was also music and singing in the hall.
I didn’t quite know what to expect, especially given the rain, and the competition with the ladies’ tennis finals. As it turned out, we had a wonderful afternoon, and the 300 or so people who came along seemed to relish the opportunity to look round. It was an entire cross section of the school’s extended community, from students who left in the early 1960s, right through to former staff from the last decade, to students who left only a couple of years ago. Added to that were a number of prospective students and families, and a number of current staff, along with assorted family members. I count it as a successful event. Several people even asked what the date of next year’s was – I think however we will probably be saving this one for special anniversaries!
A slide show of some of the photographs from the afternoon is available from the website.
I for one was glad that there was a roof at centre court on Sunday, despite all the speculation about it advantaging Federer. Sadly, we do not benefit from such facilities at school, and the torrential rain over the weekend left the school field more like it is in March than July. We needed to curtail severely our field and track events today, which was earmarked as sports day, as a result. Apart from anything else, the field was just far too wet to ask students and staff to sit on it while spectating. A pity, given the Olympic year.
Nonetheless, we were able to get about 500 students competing through the day in at least one sport or event, and we had special Olympic assemblies this morning for years 7 to 10. Part of these was a talk from a disabled athlete, Fran Williamson, a Paralympian who competed in both Athens and Beijing, taking a range of silver and bronze medals. Fran’s story was powerful, and her courage admirable, not least because her disabilities mean that her speech is hard to follow (there was a projected script to help students). I know that a number of students were impressed by just how much the indomitable spirit of a determined human being can achieve in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Needles to say, students’ response was respectful and positive.
Our Ofsted and Church school inspection reports, and my accompanying end of year letter, will be available in hard copy form, and on this website on Thursday. The Ofsted report will speak for itself. I am leaving for Italy with 46 year 12 students on Friday, and return eight days later as the summer holiday begins. Despite what I know is an impending week of sleep deprivation, I have to admit to looking forward to some sunshine and hot weather! I hope that all students and their families, whatever they undertake this summer, have a safe, restful and family-oriented break.