End of year 2022
As the end of term approaches, I write to reflect on such a positive year. The journey out of Covid remains a challenging one and we will continue to meet barriers and restrictions as we try to return to some normality. It does, however, feel really good to start to re-connect with others, enjoy social time together and remember the benefits of meeting face to face.
This term is always a busy one for events and it has been superb to see our students, once again, enjoying themselves in super curricular activities, off site learning and leadership in community events such as sports day and the Year 8 summer fayre. The resilience and determination of all of our students never fails to amaze us. Two weeks ago, we held the KS3 Achievement Celebration, recognising academic and personal development excellence. This afternoon, we will be celebrating the first-class sporting success of our young people. We have so much to be proud of and we will continue to ensure that our students know how special they are. Thank you for encouraging them and nurturing aspiration. Our students are wonderful to work with and they energise us every day.
Year 11 and Year 13 are now enjoying a long summer break. We ordered the sunshine for them and it has been delivered! The exam season is a stressful time for students and parents alike. The management of positive stress in order to perform well in assessments can be very demanding. I was extremely impressed with how courageous and committed the students were throughout their period of study with us and we will very much look forward to celebrating with them in the summer. We wish them well in their future studies. Please encourage them to keep in touch. They will always belong to the Piggott family and we would be thrilled to hear about their adventures and achievements in the future.
As you know, our vision as a C of E School, is based upon the teaching in the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable was chosen for a variety of reasons and we will be looking more deeply at the teaching in the coming year. The parable is introduced with a question to Jesus whilst he was teaching. Jesus replies ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself’.
As a comprehensive school, serving the local community, we remain focused on ensuring that inclusion and the celebration of diversity is woven through the culture and ethos of school life. We will continue to work hard to provide opportunities for safe and structured debate, rooted in seeking acceptance, understanding and empathy. We want our students to be curious, informed advocates who have the skills and articulation to challenge appropriately whilst developing deep values and beliefs. We want them to lead change for the better.
In the new academic year, we will be planning for even more opportunity for students to grow holistically and lead peer on peer education on topics that are important to them. We have already begun some small advocacy groups for students who want to educate others about learning that they feel passionate about. The various advocacy groups have championed the LGBTQ+ community, raised awareness and understanding about Neuro-diversity and will host an event tomorrow educating about the impact of racism in society. They have offered us an insight and deeper learning of the impact of ignorance in society. We will build upon the work that we have done this year and continue to empower our young people to have a voice. They will take their learning from our vision, model the teaching of ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and be courageous advocates for change.
As our students have begun to re-connect with each other, for some, it has taken some time to re-establish friendships and relationships. The periods of long isolation resulted in many young people turning to social media and digital platforms for communication. They needed it at the time but thankfully, we are returning to a time where stronger, more authentic relationships can be built. I appreciate that it can be a very challenging conversation to have with your son or daughter but please could I ask for your support in ensuring that our young people reflect on their use of technology in order to stay safe, manage its demand on their time and appreciate the positive impact of face to face communication.
Last week, a colleague gifted me a book. As you know, I am a big fan of Charlie Mackesy and his book ‘ The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’. It has given me great strength and focus in times of loss and bereavement and it somehow offers some hope when times are hard. My new book is ‘Big Panda and Tiny Dragon’ by James Norbury. I would recommend it to you but I must point out that I am not on commission! Like Mackesy’s book, it tracks the journey of two friends and has some good messages for stronger mental health and mindfulness. I would like to share one of the messages with you.
‘Sometimes I think I’m not good enough’ said Tiny Dragon. ‘A cherry tree doesn’t compare itself to other trees’ said Big Panda ‘it just blossoms’. We will continue to work with students, and staff, to ensure that they know that they are valued, that they are enough and that they are able to flourish and blossom in our school.
We will help our young people to develop a strong set of values and beliefs, so that they will always know that they are loved and have the skills to truly celebrate who they are.
I wish you a wonderful summer. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school.