27/11/2013

A reflection on celebrating achievement across space & time...

Dr Who line up

So, what did you make of it on Saturday? I'm certainly no Time Lord, but I do spend time reflecting on earlier decisions, taken in an earlier professional life. And also thinking about the celebrations of wonderful student achievement that I've had the pleasure of witnessing across a quarter (can't yet like The Doctor claim a half) of a century of educational experience, as lived out in five different schools.

Prize Giving group photo

Yesterday's ex-Year 11 Prize Giving Evening was right up there with the very best and most memorable of those celebrations. An amazing guest speaker in Clare Balding, who's broadcasting experiences quite literally speak for themselves, and phenomenal students who's character, commitment and achievements continue to inspire. 

There really was something very special about last night. In part it was the genuine sense of camaraderie amongst the year group. Mr Jones said they were 'a tight-knit group who always looked after each other'. And you could feel it. They really were pleased for one another, and the applause and mutual congratulations were meant and felt from the heart.

Rebels of the South

We had Battle of the Bands winners, 'Rebels of the South', featuring members of last year's Will We Rock Rock cast, to open the evening with 'We are the Champions.' What an appropriate anthem to launch an evening which celebrated the the best ever overall GCSE results in the schools history. 

Clare Balding and Andy Stevenson

There were returns and reunions. Returning ex-Year 11 students of course, and older students like Andy Stevenson, Head Boy from 1998-99, back as a media colleague of Clare Balding's to be reunited with inspirational former teachers like the legendary Mr Doug Cook. It all added to the specialness of the atmosphere and the sense of seamless community that so distinguishes Park House.

And then there was Clare. She absolutely 'got' our school and our students. In less than half an hour she had picked up on our absolute and embedded commitment to the values and spirit of 2012, and how this had in turn helped to shape an achievement culture amongst our students - reflected in the record-breaking achievements of the summer of 2013.

Those achievements were indeed very special. So special, in fact, that when added to our outstanding AS and A Level performance, they are good enough to place us in the Sunday Times' Guide to the Top 500 state Schools. The only Newbury school to appear, and a real indication of the strength of our students' achievement from 14 through to 19. You can see the Parent Power listing via the link below:

www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Parent_Power/

So, however far you travel, and how many lives you may lead, you really do have to go a long way to better the spirit and achievements of our very special community. Time to celebrate 'The Day of Park House', perhaps? 

 

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