Thursday, 21 July 2011

And now, the end is near, ...

I am astounded that an academic year has passed. It is a cliche, but where has the time gone?

Last year, on Friday 24th July, I stood in front of the entire school community and bade a fond farewell to those leavers, and made the bold and daring claim that, come this year's leavers' service, I wanted to stand in front of the assembled community with a positive OfSTED report in one hand and a letter recategorising the school in the other. Will I be able to make good?

More of this later. First, we must, surely, wax lyrical about this year's band of leavers.

What an amazing bunch of young people. What a thoroughly, thoroughly pleasant and decent set of individuals. And what amazing friendships. Quietly, almost stoically, some of these guys have had to face the most unbearable personal circumstances. Yet they have managed it. And they have managed it together.

It has been nothing but a privilege and a joy to watch these young people blossom and grow. As I said last night, I'm really going to miss the fun. Stay young - stay children - as long as you possibly can.

But let us not be sad. No, no. We shall not shed a tear. Let us instead cheer and shout from the rooftops the plain and simple facts:


In case you missed it, I said best SATs results ever, including reaching the national average in mathematics.
- First cohort to leave the school with 27 APS (technical, but let me assure you, very very important).
- Not a single, not one solitary exclusion. Not even an hour.
- Books shared with other schools to demonstrate what "Good" year 6 learners should be doing.
- Attendance above the national average, including a 100% SATs week.
- Performed not once but twice at the Colston Hall, and in Wales during St David's Week.
- An utterly nice bunch of people.

What of the rest of the school? did we neglect them? To quote a famous dog, "Oh no no no no". What did the rest of the school get up to this year.

- Reception outcomes were above the Local average for the second year running;
- Key Stage 1 results were up in every indicator by an average of 25%;
- Progress in reading in every year group;
- Progress in writing in every year group;
- Progress in maths in (you guessed it) every year group;
- APS = 4.17 (trust me, that's good).

Overall, not bad you would suppose. Yet wait, there is more.

- Not one but two successful OfSTED visits;
- Three consecutive "good" grades at progress review;
- Investors in People award;
- Financial Management Standards award;
- Every Child a Reader award;
- Best attendance since records began.

A year, as I said earlier, a fast disappearing year of amazing and significant improvement and achievement. I am extremely proud and pleased to be the head of such an organisation, and my intention is to kick on to the next phase.

So will I be able to make good on my claim from last year? Now, there's a story.

I most certainly will have the OfSTED report I sought in one hand. And in the other? There will be a number of documents which I will share with the school community. But that's for tomorrow.

Let me conclude a year of furious blogging by simply stating thus: thank you all; for your effort; your determination; your commitment; your enthusiasm; your passion; your kindness; your resilience; your smile; your shoulder; your heart. Thank you. Thank you. Simply...thank you.

For one year of amazing achievement, whilst we look forward to another, that is all.

Have a great holiday. Stay safe.

That really is all.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Happy, happy campers

Although we have been in constant communication with school, and I am delighted with how well the trips have gone, and of course, we all screamed at the brilliant news on Tuesday (more of this later), allow me if you will to concentrate this blog on our Exmouth camp this week.

New challenges have been faced by all, from managing personal hygiene, to flinging oneself from a bridge. My fellow campers - the princess of Darkness, Tall lad and Messa Sims - and I have been repeatedly impressed, amazed and proud of the successes and achievements of the gang this week. Some of our highlights have been:

- Holly Hulin (allegedly) attacking anything that moved, before annihilating all at musical statues;

- Lewis' quite monumental bedwear;

- Vic and Bob's appearance on the camp, disguised as Jessica and Kelsey;

- The intestinal fortitude of Miss Sims, who dislocated her own shoulder, then popped it back in Mel Gibson stylee;

- Finlay's dancing - see it to believe it;

- Mr Scaiff refusing to abseil down a bridge, until coerced by orchestrated chicken clucking from the year 6 gallery;

- Jess' myriad verbal attacks on Mr W;

- The Scaiffmeister in a wetsuit - step back ladies, he's taken;

- George's pull on the rest of the planet;

- Inker's skimboarding, and the way he has sensitively and beautifully managed some difficult situations for other people;

- Blake and Jake's matching pjs and blossoming friendship;

- Luke "Legend", Harrison "Nobody", Jess and Kelsey "Vic and Bob" for all surfing, yes I mean proper surfing a la Point Break;

- Maid Macy Marion's archery, and Summer's double archery / rifle bullseyes;

- Elisha's skill at being someone as amazing as Elisha;

- Everyone who had the courage to climb over and then abseil down that horrible, horrible bridge in that horrible, horrible weather;

- Princess's ability to lay an ostrich egg;

- Ellie and Jodie taking on responsibility for caring for someone who desperately needed it, but did not know;

- Bethany for being a proper mentalist, including barking at the fatboy for not dancing correctly;

- Lewis Ramsey repeatedly being an ambassador for our school;

- The way Ethan Prince has responded to challenge, and for his amazing one liners;

- Blake's world record trampolining, all in his own lunchtime;

- The fact we have had an entire week without a single fallout, disappointment or let down.

Everyone has contributed to the quality of this camp, without a shadow of doubt the best I have ever been involved in, and it is a testament to the calibre of these fine individuals from years 5 and 6. We cannot thank you all enough.

But I'll try.

Thank you. All. Very, very much. From the bottom of my very proud heart.

That is all.

PS Colston Hall was awesome. Well done people.

PPS Exceedingly good news announced next week. Watch this space...