Well, it looked like spring had finally ‘sprung’ at the beginning of this week but, in typical British style, it is now winter again! You never know what you will get from one day to the next with the British weather and sometimes being a Senior Leader in a busy school is a bit like that - one day sunshine and flowers, the next rain clouds or at least the threat of them. Perversely (some might say) it’s one of the things that makes school life exciting - that and the fact that it requires your full commitment and passion, focus and drive, patience at times, and energy - lots of it. It’s definitely not a job for the faint-hearted but the young people in our school make it all so worthwhile and when they speak about staff to visitors with such positivity and in such high regard (the Governors last week and the Challenge Partner reviewers the week before that) it really is humbling. They never fail to entertain us, too: make us laugh, enlighten us and impress us with their diverse talents and intelligence, or surprise us with their kindness and compassion and regard for each other. It is always a pleasure to work with them!
In assembly this week, I talked about gender equality, inspired by some work Miss Gray in the History department had done with regards to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the success of the women’s Suffragette movement to gain women the right to vote. I spoke about how far the equal rights agenda has come since February 1918 but also about how our country and planet still have a long way to go to ensure complete equality. Gender equality and how we strive to achieve it is not simply about women’s rights of course and I left the boys with the words of Ed Holtom, a 15 year old who wrote to the Telegraph newspaper following Emma Watson’s speech to the UN about gender - he said, ‘‘If we want equality, it will take more effort than paying women the same as men, or giving women equal opportunities to men….We must stop pressurising each other to fit with gender stereotypes which more often than not leave us feeling repressed and unable to express ourselves.’ I left the boys with an optimistic view that their generation have the power and freedoms to continue the fight for equality for all.
Boys in year 9 and their parents were entertained and enlightened in equal measure on Thursday evening by Mr Titheridge’s wise words about making options choices, and then the students were able to talk to staff about their subjects and what they involve beyond year 9. It’s a serious business making such important choices and I would advise anyone struggling to navigate this process or needing further advice to contact us in school - we’re always happy to help.
I am really grateful to Miss Lane for the tremendous work she does with regards careers. This week she took a bus full of year 11 boys to the BAA apprenticeship fair with Mr Paul to speak with employers offering apprenticeships at the airport in a huge number of disciplines. The boys were so enthusiastic and really great ambassadors for us. The work she does which has tremendous positive long-term ramification is invaluable to all the boys in our school and we do not take it for granted.
Year 13 started their second round of mocks this week which will continue into next week. The examination wheel never seems to stop these days - it just slows at certain times of the year. But for Mrs Lewis, our exams manager, it is certainly starting to turn rapidly and this will increase apace into next half term with the second round of year 11 mocks, and then the examination season is in full swing shortly after. Thank you to her, for all her hard work.
Work in the sixth form office with students who want to apply to the sixth form is now underway. All students, irrespective of their destination beyond school, will get a one-to-one interview to support their decision making. Our school sixth form is outstanding, our A Level results better than most in the area and the progress our boys make puts us in the top 15% of providers in the country. We are really proud of this and we hope that many boys in year 11 will want to share in this success and will continue to enjoy studying at The Windsor Boys’ School.
I leave you with the words of the lead inspector from our Challenge Partner review team: ‘if I had a secondary school age boy, I’d definitely send him here.’ I couldn’t agree more!
I wish you all a lovely weekend,