As a school, we are always keen to support good causes, recognising how important it is to help those who are less fortunate than we are. The Science Department assembly last week focused on genetic disorders that have a huge impact on the day to day lives of so many children. The young people coping with these disorders and their carers are an inspiration to all of us, remaining positive and living full, rich lives to the best of their ability. Friday was Jeans for Genes day, when we had the chance to raise money to help such families.
This week, we turn our attention to two other causes. On an annual basis, representatives from LEPRA come and give an assembly reminding us about their continuing fight against leprosy. This will be followed up with a LEPRA fundraising activity session later this term-which might help us burn off some of the calories from our event this Friday: the Macmillan Coffee Morning bake sale. What a great and tasty way to raise money for cancer research!
We are looking forward to the PTA 'Hollywood Glamour' Grand Ball this Saturday, when parents, staff and friends will put on their most elegant evening wear and gather for a wonderful evening of dining and dancing and, most importantly, fundraising, both for the School and for Essex Air Ambulance, a vital service in our area which has made such a difference to the lives of those in our community.
Here we all are again, at the start of a new school year, with plenty to look forward to. This week, we have enjoyed welcoming over 40 new pupils to Gosfield. As I explained in assembly on Monday, they are joining a very special, friendly community. I also talked about our Mission Statement: to provide an environment within which all our pupils feel valued and able to achieve personal excellence in all aspects of life. We have expanded our activities programme this term, to offer all sorts of different experiences for them, from samba band to electronics, cricket to flower arranging. It is so important that our young people develop their creativity, spirit of enquiry, physical and communication skills—all of which support their learning in the classroom and help them become well-rounded and confident.
Personal excellence is an important phrase: we do not measure one pupil against another, and we celebrate success in all its forms. Of course, over the summer, we had cause to celebrate the splendid public examination results that our candidates achieved: it was pleasing to see them reach their personal potential and, in the case of the Upper Sixth, fulfill their ambitions beyond Gosfield. All of those who applied to university will soon be starting their courses, and others have secured jobs and apprenticeships that will also put to very good use all they have learned here.
As we settle into the longest term, I Iook forward to seeing all of our pupils make progress in their studies, develop a wide range of skills, form new friendships—and have plenty of fun, too.
School seems very quiet this week as pupils take part in all sorts of activities and adventures abroad and closer to home: Bushcraft in Kent, football in Portugal, coastal challenges in Pembrokeshire, theatre trips to London, fun at Gosfield Lake and so much more! The Pre Prep have the run of the place and are having a great time with monsters: listening to stories about them, making their own pictures and pillows and even looking for monsters in the grounds. We look forward to Speech Day next week and the summer holidays. Let’s hope the sunshine lasts.
As we had anticipated, it has been announced this week that a ‘good pass’ in the new GCSEs will be a 5 on the 1-9 scale. This is the equivalent of a top 20% C grade, which means that the Department for Education have done what they set out to do in their qualification reform and made a good pass more challenging for students to achieve. This, in itself, will not raise standards, of course, but the idea is to task schools to ensure students make better progress and achieve better academic results. Whether this is being done in the interests of school children or in order to raise our international ranking in PISA scores and the like is open to discussion. Here at Gosfield, we will continue to encourage all of our pupils to set their sights high, to aspire to the best grades they can achieve, supporting them through effective, individualised teaching. Our pupils will never be numbers to us, because what we believe in is making sure they each have the best education possible, which develops them as assured, creative, kind young people with the character as well as the qualifications that will open doors for them in the future.
I think we need to find extra time for our Prep School ‘Star of the Week’ assemblies! This week, there was so much to celebrate and so much talent on show that the assembly ran well into break time. I particularly enjoyed hearing an excellent and imaginative Year 6 account of the water cycle from the point of view of a raindrop. As well as the regular awards for achievement and the merit cup, there were lovely musical performances, and we also heard about the wonderful work Year 4 are doing on the theme of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, which seems to involve quite a lot of tasting!
We take the opportunity in Senior assemblies to celebrate success, too. This week, we had a somewhat reluctant celebrity in Connall, who has hit the national media having completed an online US university course in aerospace engineering with flying colours at the age of 13. A fantastic achievement, and a great example of independent learning. Connall hopes to become a nuclear physicist and, even though he is only in Year 8, he is well on the way to fulfilling his ambition. We are very proud of him.
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