Last week’s Inter House Singing Competition lived up to expectations. I cannot recall a competition when every child was so engaged and showed so much enthusiasm for being on the stage.
It is especially gratifying to see all the new children swept away by the occasion. It is Windlesham’s way of getting each child to overcome any fears or anxiety about performing – there will be no looking back from now on!
We now concentrate our attention on the Art Show which is to be staged at the end of next week in the lead up to half term. The exhibition will include art work from various alumni who had a real flair for art whilst here and have gone on to great things both at Senior school and beyond. It is also the case that each and every child will have at least one piece of their artwork on display.
Yesterday we celebrated the 20th Birthday of the Pre-Prep. We enjoyed a lovely chapel service with current and past Pre-Prep pupils attending. Emphasis was made on us being one whole school and I believe everyone will agree this is something we have achieved and can be proud of as we move forward.
It really is a year of anniversaries for Windlesham and just when you think that our celebrations will be over we are now planning in earnest the formal opening of our new magnificent Sports Complex. Thursday March 22nd is the date – watch this space!
Another busy week has flown by and today the children receive their first Progress Reports of the new academic year. Whilst there will be lots of nervous young people, I think it safe to say that they will all be quite pleased. I have stressed to the teaching staff the need to ensure that these first grades are not inflated in any way. Be being somewhat ungenerous at the start of the year, the children then stand a good chance of improving their grades from now on. Tutors are able to set their Tutees realistic targets and it is pretty much guaranteed that each child will make progress as the term and year unfolds. After all, this is what a good academic education is all about.
This Sunday, we are welcoming back to Windlesham past and present Governors. Apart from enjoying a good lunch, I am hoping that they will find the school in very good heart and, for those returning for the first time in many years, I like to think that they will be suitably impressed by the many renovations and general improvements that have been made. This has never been a school that sits still but it has to be said that, when I look back on the ten years of my tenure to date, I am quite staggered by how much actually has been achieved. All this is on top of our magnificent new Sports complex – I know that our guests on Sunday will be ‘blown away’ by it.
We have enjoyed a very pleasing start to the new academic year. The children have all settled back into the swing of school life and our new pupils are beginning to feel established. It would appear that many of them are very talented which bodes well for the months and years ahead.
Sadly, we have not had the Indian Summer weather that is often the case in this part of the country but the grounds staff are not complaining because the games pitches and gardens are looking at their very best.
Several new initiatives have been introduced this term. When a child is awarded an Alpha for an excellent piece of work (based on their natural ability) I normally reward them with a small reward – this is still the case but they now have the option of donating that reward (50p) to a charity. This term we are trying to raise £250 to provide a boy in Kenya education for a whole year.
We have also introduced a scheme along the lines of the Duke of Edinburgh Award where by Boarders can gain a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award for a combination of life skills such as evidence of being resilient or showing empathy to others.
There is a lot more to a top class education than academic prowess!
It is so good to have the school back in full swing. I love the start of the new academic year. Everyone look healthy and refreshed. There is always an air of excitement and there is a distinct sense that those returning are really pleased to be back and those who are new, whilst nervous have that air of expectation. It makes Rachel and I feel so happy to see the new children (and their parents) obviously relax after the warm and friendly welcome they receive from us all.
We start the new term with lots of new children and I have great faith in my new staff appointments. I don’t believe our wonderful grounds have ever looked better, and the ‘wow’ factor as visitors turn the corner to come up the drive is stronger than it has ever been.
This is then only enhanced when the new Sports Complex comes into view. The new build is on schedule to be completed at the end of the term. I keep on pinching myself at the site of the building and am holding my breath in the knowledge of the impact it is going to have on the lives of all at Windlesham.
These are extremely exciting times for this school and I intend to ensure everyone associated with Windlesham relishes the weeks and months ahead of us.
Another two weeks have flown by and the end of term is almost in sight. We celebrated the end of Common Entrance in style two weeks ago with a wonderful evening of picnics and music. Only at Windlesham would you find an atmosphere like Glastonbury Festival.
We are now celebrating our Ones’ C.E. results. They have all passed and there were some fantastic results. They all gained a place at their first choice Senior School, a range 32 different schools. Many of the results are superb including one girl subsequently being awarded an Academic Exhibition after gaining straight As in every exam (9 in total).
I am immensely proud of this year’s results, and believe that the schools they are going to are very lucky to be gaining such fine young people.
Whilst all the good news on the academic front has been pouring in our Athletics season has started with considerable success and Sports Day in a weeks’ time promises to be especially impressive. My wife Rachel and I spent last Wednesday supporting our Senior Girls at St Edward’s Oxford as they had qualified for the RMCF National Rounders Finals. They can claim to be the third best U13 Rounders Team in this country after all their efforts on the hottest June day for decades!
Finally I can announce that Windlesham is to be the first independent school in the county to be awarded a Gold Award for the quality of our S.M.S.C provision (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of pupils).
I am danger of letting this go to my head but seeing the large pile of reports that I have yet to start writing soon brings me back down to reality!!