This week has been a very good one in a number of respects. In school sport, Bennett teams have had a number of important successes: the rugby under 15 boys’ team beat TWBGS with a stunning core of 50:0 on Wednesday, and following that were due to play a boys school in Dover, who were so awestruck by our victory that they telephoned and conceded to our team without even playing! That means our team is straight through to round 2 of the Kent Cup. Congratulations to the whole team and especially the captain Chris Goldfinch. Our year 7 boys’ football side, which is already showing real promise, beat the Knole team this week as well, albeit with a slightly more modest but nonetheless convincing score of 6:0. And also in football our under 19 team won their league game 4:2, and our year 8 football team also had a strong victory in their external game. All these successes are excellent news for the morale of the various teams at this early stage in the school year, and, like any success, inspire confidence and self-belief which has positive spin-offs in other dimensions of life. There was a time not very long ago when competitive sport in schools was regarded with suspicion because someone has to lose. Thankfully we are now a bit more balanced about this and are able to celebrate sporting victories as a success for the whole school community and a tribute to the training and skill of the competitors. May you go on to greater triumphs still during this year!
Our two open evenings this week have also been very successful, with very strong attendance at both evenings, particularly the first one on Tuesday. I wrote last week that I actually enjoyed these evenings, which one or two people have taken me to task for – but it is true that to be able to tell people with complete confidence and honesty, and a record of success to back me up, that this school is as good as it is, gives me nothing other than pleasure and pride. We have one further evening to go, on Wednesday, and we very much hope that that one goes as well as the first two.
Today is the second of the two training days we are taking this year, the first being the first day of term for staff on 1st September. Today we are doing our staff performance managements, where each member of staff is interviewed by their line manager, their performance over the past year evaluated against their targets, and new objectives set for them for the year just beginning. It is obviously important that this is done early in the school year so that we have the chance to shape the work we all do across the school year against the main aims we have. Those aims are to do with examination success, ensuring that targets for grades are met or exceeded, they are to do with improving teaching methodology and developing new courses and new strategies, and they are to do with coaching and leadership, spreading better practice and enabling others to perform more strongly still. With ninety teachers to performance manage and ninety reviews to write up it is a busy day for all. Hopefully today will be an opportunity for students, particularly new year 7 students who will be very tired after their first few weeks at secondary school, to have a day to take stock and catch up with any work they need to do to keep completely up to date. The weather of course may provide a distraction – it has been wonderful to have hot summery lunchtimes on the field over the past few days! Long may it last.