At House Assemblies this week I was delighted to be able to reflect back on some of our successes this term. There is a great deal of positivity amongst the student body as we approach the end of a busy term. Relationships with most students seems to be at an all-time high, and we are well on our mission to be a happy, healthy and productive school. We have seen some amazing sporting success, both in college teams and individually. Our two performing arts events were well attended and the talk of the town. And we found out that we will be oversubscribed for the third year in a row. Of course it is has not all been plain sailing, and there were times when every day seemed a struggle. All of these things must be remembered when we are rolling at top speed, with no time to even organise your own toilet breaks, or to walk away at the end of the day. We all seem to need more time, and for the average teacher, 24 hours in the day will never be enough. While we got to grips with the new curricular changes, new accountability measures, dark rainy days, there were the challenges we faced around students’ complex needs. This is where the value of solidarity came alive. Knowing that we are all aligned to make the college as good as it can be, but recognising that we all sometimes get overwhelmed. A co-operative school always copes: when it’s tough, we lift our heads up and go out there. We get through the difficult times together by helping each other develop resilience, resourcefulness and reminding ourselves of our moral purpose.
Despite the pressure of our work we must never forget great teachers are also subject enthusiasts. At Tavistock we have passionate teachers who share that through rich tasks and activities. The promotion of scholarship matters to them. It matters to me. The teacher who is passionate, humane, civilised and excited about their subject is also inevitably the teacher whose students do best in tests and examinations. We have many such teachers here. Tavistock teachers make students feel valued as individuals, treat them with dignity, and make them believe in themselves. That is the Tavistock way. It is the co-operative way. In so many classrooms in this school there is still the right balance of fun and fundamentals. In co-operative classrooms enjoyment, teamwork, humour, trust and warm relationships are the norm. This is what we must cherish.
As at the end of every term, we have some much valued colleagues to say farewell to today. We thank them for their hard work, dedication and care for our students over the years they have worked with us.
To everyone who has contributed to another successful year at Tavistock College, thank you. To one and all, have a really good Christmas. I look forward to welcoming you back for the New Year for our training day on 7th January.