Summer is here!

The summer term is well and truly up and running. Whilst the temperature is somewhat bracing, we have been blessed with a good deal of sunshine which inevitably lifts staff and children’s spirits  . It’s always so good to kick start this term with the children being able to enjoy themselves outside. I have been known to say that there is no better environment than an English prep school in the summer term especially if it is in a rural location and there are lots of boarders.

The setting and general atmosphere here at Windlesham is, I suggest, hard to beat. Rachel and I are always very touched  seeing the children so happy to be back at school and it is really gratifying to hit the ground running as far as routine is concerned. We have twenty new children and they all have settled well and in a seamless way which is very pleasing.

I was able to celebrate with the school in our first assembly of the term that our haul of scholarships had increased by no fewer than five more awards, all to Marlborough which is no mean feat. I cannot recall ever having six scholarships to one school in the same year. It is of course heads down for the remaining scholarship candidates and all our common entrance candidates.

Our production of ‘Wind and the Willows’ involves the vast majority of juniors, so they are well occupied over the next few weeks.

I am delighted that the whole school photograph is now behind us, the weather conditions were near perfect and in such an important year in the history of the school the occasion was all the more significant.

Gloria!

It has been an interesting final few days for all sorts of reasons.  My wife, Rachel, and I always find it extremely hard to go away together during the term time not because we do not have complete faith in our Senior Management team but simply due to our everyday involvement in all aspects of the school life.

Last week we flew out to The Cayman Islands to meet up with current parents and give a presentation to prospective parents.  Despite it being rather close for comfort to the end of term we managed to escape and enjoyed a very productive three day visit.

It was lovely to come back in time for the Windlesham traditional end of term Easter Egg hunt around the grounds, followed up by my favourite Assembly of the term, Prize Giving.

It has been a roller-coaster  few days sorting out all the end of term routines and the very ambitions performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria was quite daunting to say the least.  I can safely say that it was an extraordinary event.  The M.F.T was packed to the rafters and the whole occasion could not have been better orchestrated. As well as current parents many Alumni and past parents were very moved by the spectacle and quality of the performance.  It really was an evening to remember forever.

What a great way to conclude this extraordinary term.

Happy Easter!

Success breeds success…

The euphoria of the ISI Inspection report has not died down but we have certainly moved on.

It is lovely how success breeds success in schools and what a week we have enjoyed. Several more scholarships have been won, our chess teams and cross country runners have excelled themselves. We have one boy who has now played 100 chess matches for the school and is likely to surpass the record of 105!

Much to their delight both our Under 12 and Under 13 squads netball teams have qualified for the I.A.P.S. Winners and runner up of this respective Regional Tournaments. Our Under 13 girls have also reached the finals of the Sussex Cup so are faced with a series of a very competitive matches to finish their incredibly impressive season.

Last Friday all our Governors were invited to spend the whole day in school. I know it’s an event they each thoroughly enjoy and it is equally valued by the staff and children. The feedback has been very gratifying and is a really appreciated. The day culminated in our Senior Public Speaking Competition which was as entertain as ever. We then had a combined Governors and staff dinner which was most enjoyable and as you might have gathered there was much to celebrate.

“Excellent”

The ISI inspection report has arrived and is now out in the public domain.  To say that we are pleased would be a huge understatement.  What is especially gratifying are the many comments that recognise the quality of teaching and the level of pastoral care that we pride ourselves in offering to each and every child.

Copies of both the Focused Compliance Inspection (FCI) and the Educational Quality Inspection (EQI) can be found on the school website www.windlesham.com/policies_isireport/

I am delighted to report that the school was compliant in all 8 categories in the FCI and in the EQI we were awarded the highest ratings available on the tested outcomes: “excellent”.

Although we have every intention to build on this success we are mindful we should not be complacent in any way and will learn from the feedback.  Whilst the inspection has obviously focused our minds, we have continued to attend to the school’s everyday business.

We are delighted to have 5 names already on our scholarship board.  As I speak we have a child taking a drama scholarship.  I want to tell you that for the first time in my career as a Headmaster we have had a child, write, produce and direct their own play.  The premier performance was a very special occasion and I must congratulate her on it.

Our Chess Teams and Cross Country Teams are very impressive across all age groups and much to our delight our Senior Girls Netball Team have reached the final of the Sussex Cup.

I do encourage you to read through he ISI inspection reports – they make for very good reading.  No wonder I have a big smile on my face!

The much anticipated call…

Apologies for my not writing a blog for several weeks but a great deal has happened and for good reasons I have been preoccupied.

On the Monday morning of January 23rd  I received the much anticipated call from the ISI Inspectorate that we were going to be inspected and as most people will know that meant the Inspectors would arrive the following day.

We have been bracing ourselves for this moment for the last few years so to be honest this call was a huge relief.  I am not in a position to disclose the findings of the Inspection until our official report is to hand which will be in about a months’ time. Needless to say the whole of the staff were especially pleased that we had a long weekend to enjoy the day after the Inspectors departed.

Last week was a case of getting back to normality but in true Windlesham style a normal day is a rarity given that there is so much going on.

Inspiring Leaders week saw us welcome some extraordinary people who clearly captivated each year group.  This culminated in the arrival of the poet and author AE Harold who as well as running a series of workshops was the adjudicator for our Individual Poetry Competition.

I believe he, like all of us who were in the audience, were blown away by the standard of their performances.  As is so often the case several children who I would never have imagined standing up and speaking in front of people excelled themselves and are definitely walking taller as a result.