For my final blog post of this term I thought I would reflect on the final weeks of the School year. It is in many ways a strange time. Year 13 and Year 11 have completed their exams and in many cases are now off on well-deserved holidays so the School feels strangely empty. We have said our farewells to Year 13 but we will miss them next year, they have been a great group to work with and have contributed so much to the life of our school.
For those of us left in school it is a very busy time. Whilst my colleagues have written all of their reports those of us on the Senior Management Team are desperately trying to complete our comments as well as all those other tasks that need to be done prior to breaking-up. For SMT members this can be one of the busiest times of the year. Staff and parents alike see the end of term as a watershed and it is often the case that problems are passed on to us to solve so that the issues do not linger over the summer. It can make it difficult to plan the work of the last two weeks of term as you never quite know how much more there is to come in. I did my final to do list of the term last week but since I did it a number of items have had to be added even though the time until the end of term remains fixed! This goes on right up to the last day of the term but it makes for an interesting few days.
The last couple of weeks of term are also busy ones for the boys in the School. A great number of activities and trips take place now that the exams are over for the year. Thus, over this weekend we have had a History trip to the Battlefields – it was great to receive some photos from this trip and fitting that we have visited the memorials to those from the School who have fallen in this our 500th Anniversary Year. There are a number of D of E groups out in the next couple of weeks as well – this is a really important part of what we offer as a school as boys learn so much about themselves in undertaking this sort of expedition and it cements many friendships for life. The staff too enjoy working with the boys in a different sort of way and give freely of their time to ensure that all runs smoothly. Preparations are also in full swing for some of the summer holiday trips, not least this year our expedition to Bolivia where we will be helping to rebuild a school.
Amongst all this activity lessons still continue and it is an important time of year for UCAS preparation for Year 12. Lessons at this stage of the year often give boys a chance for some individual learning such as is seen in our Creative Arts Project for boys in Years 7 and 8. Year 12 have started on their A2 courses and these few weeks ensure that a good start is made ahead of the next year.
It is also a time when we both look back and look forward. This year we have a number of colleagues who are retiring. Of course, given that they are all so fully involved in both teaching and in various activities there is no chance for a gentle wind-down but they will all be missed as they retire. Collectively they have given over 200 years service to the School and I am looking forward to paying tribute to them in our final assembly of the term. It is so difficult to do justice to someone’s long contribution in a short address but it is so important that we pay proper tribute for all the fantastic opportunities that they have provided for boys over the coming year.
We look forward too. I have been giving a good deal of thought to the coming academic year. It is an exciting time laying plans for the future. We will have a number of new colleagues starting with us and it has been good to see them in school collecting the materials they need to prepare for their new roles. Internally there are a number of staff taking on new roles and there is a real sense of energy about what next year will bring and I am looking forward to putting into action all those things that we have spent time discussing this year.
Of course, all in the School also look forward to the forthcoming holidays. These provide a chance for some rest, a holiday, and a chance to spend time with our families. It also provides a space to reflect and to look forward. Then come September it all starts again – that is the joy of working in a school, each year we refresh and restart and new opportunities come around. I hope that all reading this post have a great summer and look forward to blogging on a whole new range of topics again in the next academic year.