We are the champions...

Never has Queen's anthem to success and achievement been more appropriate!

We are the champions. For champions. In the presence of champions.

I'd asked for the song to be performed by members of our We Will Rock You cast last Monday to open the celebration of our Year 11 students' achievements at our annual GCSE Prize Giving. Olympic rowing Champions Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins were our special guests of honour...

And I'd read Katherine's brilliant Biography, in which she describes her first experience of receiving a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Milan in 1997...

Katherine Grainger The Autobiography

"My first podium in a GB vest was truly special and memorable....because as the drum roll started and we readied ourselves for the National Anthem they played Queen's 'We are the Champions'. A brilliant piece of Italian style."

Katherine and Anna were amazing. You quickly realised why they were such a special team. A sporting yin and yang.

Anna: the scientist, the planner.


Katherine: creative, impulsive, passionate.


Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins

Following a truly engaging and inspirational speech, they presented our students with their GCSE certificates, together with special subject prizes and awards for contribution to school and community.

Prize Giving

These now include a special one I introduced in 2012 as part of our Legacy commitment to promoting the Olympic and Paralympic Values: Excellence, Inspiration, Courage, Determination, Friendship, Equality and Respect.

This year it went to a young woman who has literally stood shoulder to shoulder with me to promote those values, almost from her very first day at the school.

Here's Annabel Chaffey on BBC Breakfast in 2010, when we launched their World Olympic Dreams and World Class programmes...

Annabel Chaffey


Four years and twelve A grade GCSEs later, here's what she has the courage and determination to do now...

That's the Olympic bobsleigh run at Innsbruck. That's where, after three months in the sport, she raced against Olympians and came sixth.

Annabel Chaffey Bobsleigh

Now that deserves respect.

Annabel Chaffey

So many champions...

In so many different ways...

It's become tradition to present our guests with a painting on a particular genre, which celebrates their achievements.

This year was no exception. But the result was exceptional.

I'd commissioned brilliantly talented ex-Year 13 artist, Alice Chambers to work her creative wonders on Katherine and Anna's magical moment of celebration together at London 2012.

She chose to develop a piece inspired by Florian Nicolle, a mixed media artist whose portraits blend layers of newsprint, watercolour and pencil.



Alice Chambers with Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger

Go compare!

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins Painting

If you look really closely, you'll see that the newsprint that Alice has blended comes from a Telegraph report of their Gold Medal winning performance.

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins