“Going far beyond the call of duty, doing more than others expect, this is what excellence is all about! And it comes from striving, maintaining the highest standards, looking after the smallest detail, and going the extra mile. Excellence means doing your very best. In everything! In every way.” Jack Johnson
That quote has been important to me over the years. I was reminded of its value as I reflected upon what we have celebrated together over the last few weeks. Sports Day was a great success, and with the return of the Houses at the heart of the competition students participated in the event by competing or supporting in a purposeful way. Celebration Evening and Open Evening allowed us to showcase the very best of what we do and I was proud and delighted to hear that our expectations of students are higher than ever before. Both events were there to recognise the highest performers and contributors. These students are the elite. They provide a model of emulation for others to follow, and events like these demonstrate that there is no place at Tavistock College for those who do not strive to be the best they can be, or who do not support others to achieve this through the value of solidarity. We expect students and staff to be proud of each other, and we do not expect them to use their own issues or problems to hold others back. Or to make excuses for actions that damage others. This is not a self-centred, egotistical organisation. This philosophy gave us an opportunity to re-enforce our standards at the Step-Up days to ensure that we are not dragged backwards by the minority who are not up to speed with our expectations. This is how we will continue to build a quality school for the vast majority.
I was delighted to welcome Mr Cox, MP to Tavistock College last Friday to engage in a robust discussion around the current funding crisis in schools. Mr Cox remains committed to supporting our on-going campaign to reduce the real terms cuts to school budgets and welcomed the opportunity to be shown the brutal reality of the additional costs that schools are having to absorb. The recent announcements by the Secretary of State are encouraging, and I am pleased that after two years of campaigning the government finally appears to be listening to the legitimate concerns that have been raised by headteachers, teachers, governors and parents across the country. There is a promise of an additional £1.3bn into core funding in schools over the next two years, but Justine Greening also stated that there would be no new money, rather a redistribution of funds in education. So, we still do not know where this money will be sourced from and I am slightly concerned that Peter could be robbed in order to pay Paul. The statement in the House of Commons this week focussed particularly on secondary schools, and the promise to fund every pupil across the country at a basic level of £4,800 per student is very welcome. The current funding is less than that at Tavistock College. However, this still does little to address the long standing current inequalities with schools in other parts of the country who may already be receiving £7,000+ per student. As Ms Greening said at the start of her statement, the same accountability and OfSTED expectations apply across the country but this is not matched by the same level of school funding. We will have to wait to see what unfolds in the new parliament.
So, we draw to the close of another school year. This is a time to reflect on what has gone, a time to plan for the forthcoming year, and a time to say goodbye. We are saying goodbye to a number of staff who are moving on to pastures new this term (see page 2). We wish all of them well for the future and hope that their chosen path will lead to success and happiness.
Thank you all for your hard work, loyalty and support over the last year. Now it is time to put your feet up and relax. Please do so: the work will wait until September. I hope to see many of you in August though, celebrating with our students as they open their results, and maybe drying the odd eye when all they hoped for did not happen. Never forget how important you are to their lives, and never underestimate your impact.
Have a great summer.