Principal’s Round-up – 10th September 2015
What a great start to the term! I have enjoyed every minute of the short time I have been at Tavistock College. The students have largely come back with the right attitude to learning and through my daily ‘walk rounds’ I can see some of the excellent opportunities that they have been given in lessons. In my assemblies this week I have asked students to consider the legacy that they leave. To get the ball rolling, Katharine West from Tavistock Heritage Trust has asked me to consider promoting a series of projects based on different periods in Tavistock’s history. She would like to run a competition for KS2, KS3 and KS4 students to tell a story of a significant historical event. This could take the form of a written narrative, a piece of art work, a film, or any other medium. The winners in each category will get to work with Plymouth University to convert their work into a digital piece of work and it will live forever in the digital ‘wall’ that the Trust are intending to produce. An excellent opportunity for students of any age to consider.
Examination results days are always charged with emotion and this year it was no exception. National changes to grade boundaries and statistical fixes to limit the amount of high grades awarded means it is now much harder to predict results. The photographs and stories shared on our social media platforms were set to music and used on the first day. Teachers, support staff, students, and their families had shared a journey of highs and lows and waited patiently in the hall for envelopes to be distributed. Some students kindly allowed their parents in to share the moment, others made friends and family wait outside. As always it is a very personal choice. For some euphoria, and a job well done. For others disappointment and time for reassurance and a new plan. I would like to thank the staff who give up days of their holiday to download results, distribute results, comfort, celebrate with or counsel students. Thanks also to the parents who have been there every step of the way for the last 7 years. Many parents have the joy of the moment tinged with the sadness of goodbyes as our students start on the next part of life’s journey. There were also a number of exciting trips and activities that happened over the summer, and I look forward to Nick Reed’s report from Cambodia to include next week. Nick gave up a significant period of his summer holiday and returned with a nasty leg infection, but the students that he took had a life changing experience. Included this week is a condensed version of student Joe Jordan account of the summer term’s trip to China. Thank you to Di, Julie, Alex and Nick and all the staff who give up their time with their families to run these trips for our students.
Thank you to everyone for their support so far, and for the warm welcome I have received. I am really looking forward to working with you all this year. And finally, everyone sends their best wishes to Jackie Kates who will be competing at the World Masters Rowing Championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium. Good luck Jackie!
Many of you will be aware that I will be retiring in August 2015. In order to give Governors enough time to recruit an outstanding Principal I made my intentions known to staff and Governors at the beginning of January. Unfortunately this was leaked to the Tavistock Times who wished to report the story. I questioned this with the Tavistock Times as I had not had the opportunity to formally notify parents. However they published their report this week which was a balanced and fair story.
Governors and staff are in a strong position to sustain the excellent progress that the College has made and we would like to reassure parents that all energies are being focussed on recruiting an outstanding replacement.
I have really enjoyed working with the Tavistock community and will miss the support that I have received.
It was my privilege over the half term holiday to be able to visit our partner school in Nepal. I was accompanied by our Head of Sixth Form, James O’Connell. We are now able to create all sorts of links with Adarsha Saula School in Kathmandu which will lead to joint curriculum projects in areas such as Science, Geography, English, RS and Food Technology. Two teachers from Nepal will visit Tavistock College in the New Year. We intend to apply for further funding so that other teachers from the College will be able to visit the school and we hope in the future that 6th form students on GAP years will be able to volunteer there.
The first large school event across the Trust Partnership of schools was a huge success. Students from all of the Trust schools came together to participate in the Poetry Festival which culminated in a very successful event at the Town Hall.
The Trust schools have also launched a Leadership Development programme for Aspiring Leaders.
We are extremely proud of the success of all of our youngsters in sport. Tate Budge in Year 11 has done exceptionally well at the British Tae Kwan-Do Championships by becoming the British Under 16’s sparring champion and British Under 18’s 2nd degree black belt patterns champion. This is an amazing achievement and congratulations go to Tate and his family for all the dedication and hard work he has put into achieving his goal.