Headmaster's Highlights

Friday 14th May 2021

Dear Parents,

Eid Mubarak for the many who enjoyed the festival over the last few days. We all need some celebration. Great to see educational visits re-starting for us with Year 7 out on a science expedition to Sutton Ecology Centre. With sports fixtures also back on, it is all feeling really good.

News of success keeps dripping in with senior school scholarships, so far this year, realising six at 11+ and a dozen at 13+. More widely, we brought our standardised assessments forward in time as a health check following online schooling. We realised that taking these assessments nearly a term earlier than they are designed for would skew results downwards a bit, but… c’est la vie, better to be safe than sorry! In terms of rigor, these are online adaptive assessments marked externally by GL Education (whose product drives much of the independent school exam board and 11+). Let me share some quick and reassuring headlines, as most of the results are back in as I write:

Year 5 Maths: 100% at national standard, 83% above or well above and, English: 98% in line, 63% above.

Year 6 Maths: 93% in line, 80% above and, English: 97% in line, 91% above.

Year 7 Maths 100% in line, 78% above.

Year 8 Maths 100% in line, 80% above.

Where, understandably, some boys need extra intervention, it is given. We can’t all be academic highflyers, nor should we be, as there are so many other gifts to pursue in life. Basically, we are doing well. So let’s keep our foot gently on the gas whilst really prioritising wellbeing and fun.

So, on wellbeing: let me remind you of our parent seminar next week on Thursday 20th May. We have an expert joining us to help you with e-safety across online/media platforms and devices. We also have senior colleagues discussing linked personal and social education in the School. Plus we have some parent voice in the mix with some topical questions to grapple with. If the event is a success, we would like to think on providing similar on a more regular basis.

It’s not just what you teach but how you teach it that counts. Great relationships; with teachers, with parents and with other students are so very important to support good citizens of the future. I’m proud this is being exemplified by brothers Luke and Alexander who will cycle around 1000 miles, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, during the summer break. These boys have strong form so I fully expect success in this ambitious challenge. Do sponsor them to raise money for the MIND Charity: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HarperFamilyLEJOGChallenge

Finally, the Department of Education have updated Covid safety controls to coincide with the relaxations planned for Monday. Accordingly, ‘bubbles’ and staggered start and stop times are still with us for now. Year 7 and 8 boys no longer wear masks in classrooms. We are also content for parents in the playground, at pick up time etc., to use their own discretion on whether they choose to wear a face covering.

Enjoy the weekend,

John Towers