Dear Class of 2016 - Head's Speech
Dear Class of 2016,
I cannot believe that six months have passed since you officially left The Henry Beaufort School and that three months have passed since that truly wonderful day in August when you collected your GCSE results and we celebrated your superb results.
We knew in August that you had reached the excellent GCSE Gold standard of 74% – which placed us in the Top 10 schools in Hampshire. I am now delighted to tell you, due to a number of appeals, that result has risen to 75% and place the school in 8th position in Hampshire.
All credit to you, our students, but perhaps this is also the moment to pause and reflect on the support you had in getting to this marvellous achievement.
The final year of GCSE study is exceptionally hard but without the support of the staff sitting in the hall tonight the challenge of these GCSEs would have been a great deal harder.
As staff we really do go through this challenge with you. We share your delight when progress goes well or you make a breakthrough in your learning. We feel your pain when the challenge feels more like a struggle and we look at ways in which we can make it easier and more manageable.
So I would like to pause again and ask you to show your appreciation for a group of professionals with whom I am very proud to work.
What a journey it has been!
As a year group you were very community minded you valued the importance of team work whether this was in class, on the sports fields or as a member of the Student Leader Team on duty in the Bistro.
You were a group of young people who were conscious of your role in school as role models for younger students. You created a support network for yourselves and showed compassion for others.
In May, in your final assembly, I asked you to take some time to think about what you had achieved and what you had learnt about yourself over the five years. I asked you to consider that this ‘learning process’ may not always have been through triumph or success.
In fact that you have learnt just as much about yourself and others when times have been hard.
You are now on the brink of adulthood – what experiences have you taken away with you that will shape that adulthood? How have you put those experiences, from the last five years, to good use in the six months that have passed?
We are told by local Colleges that you can always spot a Henry Beaufort student. They arrive at College ready to learn, they understand the importance of being an independent learner, they know how to use the Library and they know and value the importance of taking part in class – rather than sitting there waiting for others to do the work.
I know as a year group you will have continued this positive tradition whether you have gone to College or to the world of work. Showing initiative is one of the most important qualities that will single you out for all the right reasons.
You most certainly had all of our admiration for the way you stepped up to the challenge of your GCSEs. You took on the challenge of work; of revision; of staying at clinics after school; refining and honing your skills in preparation for your exams. And the results speak for themselves.
I hope that you now have a real appreciation of the fact that - hard work does have an end reward.
You have been a part of some incredible adventures and challenges in your time at Henry Beaufort from the first whole school production in the Theatre Royal with ‘Les Mis’, to incredible sporting successes all of which have been well documented.
But I would like to close with a reflection of your quiet triumphs, the progress you made academically, the service you gave to the school; the simple act of saying thank you to someone, or noting a moment of someone’s happiness or someone’s sorrow.
There is a line in poem that I particularly like, by an American poet called Robert Frost.
It goes like this:
‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference’
As you move on in your life I wonder what will be your; ‘less travelled road’. What will it look like for you? How will you make this road, this journey your own?
I do hope that you continue to show the individuality, the initiative and the determination that was evident in your final few years at school.
A world of opportunity is about to open to you. Use these opportunities wisely, take a few risks but most of all greet this world with joy – it’s there for the taking.
Finally I would like to say thank you to you. As a year group you have helped to shape this school. You have seen many positive changes – some of which you have been responsible for or influenced and some you won’t be here to see the results of.
This is what makes our Schools identity in Winchester unique – the selflessness, the desire to bring about change that improves the lives of many. You may not receive a certificate for such qualities but for me these qualities are equally, if not more important than the certificates you will take away this evening.
I hope that The Henry Beaufort School has helped shape your future and that this future is bright, exciting and full of promise.