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Prize Giving - Headteachers Address - December 2011

Published: 2012-01-06 12:59:00 | Category: Headteacher

At the recent Senior Prize Giving (14th December 2011) the schools headteacher gave the following address:

Distinguished guests, staff, students, parents, governors, ladies and gentlemen.

A very special welcome to Peter Freeman, the esteemed Head Master of Carre’s from 1983 to 1998. I am delighted that you were able to accept an invitation to join us in celebrating the success of Carre’s, knowing that you are lifelong friend of the school; committed and passionate about education and young people, and source of advice and guidance for myself.

It is an enormous pleasure and privilege to be standing before you tonight to share in the celebration of what has been an exciting and eventful year.

Tonight is about recognising and celebrating the achievements of our students, current and former. I welcome you all and tell you that we are proud of each and every one of you. To our parents I extend a very warm welcome and a word of congratulations, too. Your support and encouragement has played a pivotal role in the journey your son has taken negotiating tiers of entry, coursework, resits, remarks, perhaps further tears, and examinations generally.

A special welcome to my colleagues who, each day, put our young people at the core of school life, who embody our shared values of nurturing the individual and encouraging lifelong learning. You are at the very heart of the successes of our young people; you facilitate, inspire, encourage, motivate, enthuse and empower – you help define who and what we are as a school – namely a caring community and a centre of excellence. We welcome into our family:

Ms Victoria Wiseman, from the Ashmole Academy in London; she is the new 2nd in Maths.

Mrs Joanne Livesy arrived from The Priory to join the Technology Faculty. She makes history as the school’s first Cookery teacher

Mrs Beverly Ditton-  the English department having taught in both selective independent and comprehensive schools, most recently William Robertson High School.

Mrs Alexandra Goldstraw, Science, Graham Hill, Maths, have started their careers with us. Mrs Goldstraw has previously been a lecturer at Lincoln University in Forensic Science before qualifying as a teacher, and Mr Hill has had more than 15 years blue-chip company experience. They have already made an impact on those they teach……

Mrs Kate Boxell, who has joined the sixth form team.

And finally, a welcome to the Governing Body. The leadership of this school is not singular, every teacher has a part to play, our support staff have an important role, and so do the Governors. It has been a year of change for the school as we converted from being a Foundation School to being an Academy and the governors have continued to provide strategic leadership for the school, and in the brave new world of autonomous schools their role will be brought into sharper focus.

I should like now to focus unashamedly on our academic achievements of 2010 -11. We are proud of the results and proud of our academic ethos, and proud of our status as a Grammar School which is progressive, self reflective, improving and has moral purpose. 2010-11 was an excellent year for student achievement in public examinations.

At GCSE it is gratifying to report that nearly 50% achieved 5 or more A*/A. One student, Tom Barringer achieved a clean sweep of A* and was awarded an academic scholarship to Oundle School. All but 1 of our students attained the previous government’s indicator of 5A*-C, including Maths and English, and with the English Baccalaureate, one of Mr Gove’s favourite performance measures put us at the very top of the county. Other students are pursuing their education at different institutions; we wish them well and will follow their progress with interest. The results in Maths, Geography, Business Studies and PE were outstanding, and there have been significant improvements in French and Spanish. With a national focus on Engineering, Maths and Science, it is pleasing to see so many students doing exceptionally well in these areas and taking them further.

At A level there were some outstanding achievements.

Kieran Hardern achieved three A*s and two As and is studying Medicine at Oxford University.  Daniel Tarry achieved three A*s and one A and is studying Geography, also at Oxford.  Thomas Watson achieved two A*s and one A and studies Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University, whilst Austin Wellbelove achieved three A*s and one A and is studying Theology at Oxford University.  In addition, there were excellent results achieved by James Lloyd, Sam Ogden, Cory Stobart, Jack Williams and Richard Wood.

Of the cohort 92% have gone onto University to study a wide range of courses  - Medicine, Vetinerary Medicine, Natural Sciences,  journalism, management, and various sports-related courses…to name but a few.

Tonight is about celebrating the achievement of every student, all of whom are not capable of achieving straight A grades but who set themselves realistic but aspirational targets, focus on the future careers and achieve these goals. Our students have achieved and will continue to achieve success, but not based purely on the 2 years at GCSE and the 2 which follow at A Level. Success, motivation, the foundations of learning are built in the homes, in the local Primary Schools and then fostered, developed and allowed to flourish once they are are in our care.. We have welcomed 44 new students into an ever-growing sixth form, and are delighted to have them in our school community. I should like to welcome them into the school and recognise how we value highly these young people, and the important contribution they make in their 2 years with us. We recognise the responsibility and potential with which we, as a growing school, are entrusted. We are never complacent, instead we are self reflective; we strive continually to improve on our previous best seeking to educate holistically and provide a rich range of complementary activities, encouraging our students to set high but realistic goals and then achieve them. I would like to ask Rorie O’Leary and Ben Wilkinson, but firstly, George Seabrook, the Head Boy for Sport, to tell you about these activities.


Thank you to Rorie, George and Ben for the comprehensive overview of what goes on at Carre’s beyond the classroom; and there is more to come when we hear from the first ever Head Girl, Lucy Allen.In meetings with schools, employers stress to us that they are not just looking for academic qualifications, but also for personal qualities like leadership and teamwork, determination and flexibility, respect and consideration, confidence and self-belief. We stress that much of life’s successes are governed by attitude rather than innate intelligence and that a strong work ethic will take you far in life.

Having welcomed the new colleagues, we must say farewell to retiring ones.Lawrence Hanlon has retired, for the second time in his career, after 9 years with us, having joined us in April 2002. He taught Maths from 1973, both in England and across the border, educating 1000s of students in Maths – a passion of his - at state and private schools.

Mr Kevin Mosshas retired having been with us since September 2003.  His direct, forthright and pragmatic approach has balanced the more doctrinaire approach of others, and has a style that could be described as “first amongst equals”…He was Head of Maths (Sept 2006) and latterly Assistant Headteacher (Sept 2009) where he played a pivotal role in the Senior Leadership Team.

Mr Gordon Kay is retiring after 18 years of dedicated and unstinting service to the Sleaford Joint Sixth Form. Never an easy job balancing the sometimes conflicting demands of three schools, he has ensured that the SJSF is going strong and is arguably stronger than ever.

We wish them all well in their retirement.

What are the challenges that lie ahead for Carre’s?

The last few years have been a challenge for local authorities and schools as they attempt to balance their budgets. Up to now, the approach has been salami-slicing – all budgets thinly cut back. The next few years are going to be a bigger challenge, since I think structural changes and a reappraisal of what we all do will be required to affect the level of savings required. For us, I think, we all need to bear in mind two simple questions in relation to the services we provide – what is essential? What is desirable? An authority may decide to compress its workforce to make savings and pass tasks on to schools – but the schools may not have the manpower to carry out these tasks. As an Academy we now have the full freedom to exploit what it is we do well, and we must not squander this opportunity. So, better to ask if the task needs to be carried out in the first place – is it essential or is it desirable? We are all going to have to shed some of our preconceptions about what we do. For teachers in classrooms, this question may not be too hard – teaching children is an essential task. For other areas of education, it might be less straightforward.

Related to this is the capacity for improvement, as I am concerned that people assume that a diminishing budget automatically means that a school cannot continue to improve, or that standards will fall – this should not be the case. The core of education continues – teachers teach and students learn. We have a generation of children coming into the school and we owe it to them and the Carre’s community to provide them with the highest standard of education that we can. As Head Teacher, I will of course be arguing for our share of the education budget and will defend the interests of the school, and my colleagues will continue to have high expectations of our students, and to help all students achieve their potential. I do not think we have reached our peak as a school – we are still on that journey to excellence.

Another challenge – attitude and aspiration – and this challenge is not just a local one, but also a national one. This audience is full of young people tonight who have a positive attitude and who have aspirations for themselves – and I am certain that they have inherited those attitudes from their parents and possibly also older brothers and sisters. Education is not like industry. Industry is a passive process – you take raw steel and manufacture it into a product: if you do not like the quality of the steel from your supplier, you go elsewhere. Schools take the students from their local area and work with them to get a finished product – it’s an active process, since what the student puts in to their education affects the final product, the type of person they become and the level of qualifications with which they emerge.

The students you see here tonight have been active in engaging with their teachers and making the most of themselves; they have a more positive attitude and high aspiration for themselves. My staff work very hard and are hugely committed to the school, which is why you see so much extra curricular activity – and why they want students to do well.

Britainneeds a well-educated workforce, which is prepared to continue learning in adult life, which is prepared for a variety of careers. All students need to recognise the importance of heading off to a positive destination at the end of their school career – to employment, training or further or higher education. They can affect their own destiny by a positive attitude to life including consistent hard work and commitment from the first day they cross our door until the day they leave.

My concern for all young people is that the financial challenges may lead to a loss of optimism about their future and a loss of engagement in their future. You have talents and skills and a positive attitude which will carry you far and many of you will, at a later point in your life, look back in surprise to see how far you have come.

My thanks to all my students, all my staff and to you all as parents for your assistance to me over the last year as Head Teacher and I wish you all a very restful and relaxing Christmas break.

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