Points make prizes

Points make prizes (or the other way round!) and show that everyone does well...

Bruce Forsyth

It was one of the best known of the late and lamented Sir Bruce’s many famous catch phrases. That one, of course, from the 1980s classic game show, Play Your Cards Right. It sits alongside the equally iconic Generation Game’s ‘Didn’t, they do well!’ from the 1970s

But both couldn’t have been be more contemporary -  or relevant -  to last Tuesday’s annual Prize Giving Awards Evening for our ex-Year 11 students.

Lewis Moody Park House School Prize Giving
Lewis Moody Park House School Prize Giving
Lewis Moody Park House School Prize Giving
Lewis Moody Park House School Prize Giving
Lews Moody Park House Prizegiving

Because that evening always represents a rounded celebration of all that our young people do and achieve. Not just of course in relation to academic attainment, but also progress and service and contribution to the life of the school and wider community. Hence the breadth of our awards. We have 68 of them in total!

And never could this have been truer than this year. And perhaps never, in context, have we had a more appropriate guest of honour to present them in former England Rugby Captain and World Cup winner, Lewis Moody.

Firstly, because Lewis’ nickname, as a player, was ‘Mad Dog’. A nickname which recognised the spirit of courage, commitment and, indeed, fearlessness with which he played the game.

‘Mad Doggedness’ – courage, commitment, and fearlessness - was certainly needed our young people to tackle head on the challenge of last summer's exams – widely acknowledged as the toughest for a generation.

The toughest since the introduction of GCSE exams exactly 30 years ago this year.

How amazing, therefore that their results represented a further 4% improvement on top of last year's record breaking results, building still further on a five year trend in continuous improvement that recently saw us congratulated by Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Education as being placed in the top 100 State schools in the country.

And secondly, it was especially appropriate because of Lewis’ central role in this…

The most sublime expression of this…



Or Thinking Correctly Under Pressure.

Sir Clive Woodward

World Cup Winning Coach Sir Clive Woodward's key mantra, most memorably  illustrated by that exquisitely controlled performance in extra-time during the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.


Applying what you have learned in training and executing effectively it under the most challenging of circumstances.

And, as I am sure all the students present so vividly remembered (!), I of course had used TCUP as a metaphor in my assemblies about preparing for and performing effectively in the sternest of examination challenges that at the time lay ahead.

I thanked them for listening so attentively!

They certainly showed their Mad Doggedness…

And they clearly thought very correctly indeed under pressure…

Finally, Lewis was such a great and appropriate guest of honour because values clearly matter to him.  He spoke modestly - and eloquently -  about how, in particular, his experience of the game had helped to shape both resilience and respect. And he lives those values. Since retirement he’s dedicated much of his time to tireless charity patron and ambassador work for The HOPE HIV charity and Crohn’s and Colitis UK charities. And with his wife Annie he’s also established his own Foundation, which supports young people with brain tumours and their families.

Lews Moody Foundation cheque presentation

It was therefore an enormous pleasure, before the formal start to the evening, to be able to present Lewis with a cheque for over £1000 for the Foundation following our recent Evening with Lions Legends fund-raiser. It’s the start of a long term relationship to support the vital work that the Foundation is doing with families...


The values of Rugby and the wider impact that they have on young people’s wider personal development, progress and academic achievement are also central to the vision for his Mad Dog Academy Programme, which we are very proud and privileged will be established in our Sixth Form next September....


Mad Dog Park House School Logo


Living the values. It’s no accident that the phrase features so prominently in our evening.

Back in 2012, coincidentally the year when this year group joined Park House, I introduced my Headteacher's 'Living the Values Legacy' Award for the student who, in my view, most embodied the Olympic and Paralympic Values - our Values - of Excellence, Inspiration, Determination, Courage, Friendship and Equality - during their time at Park House.

But this year I also wanted to recognise -  and celebrate – the equally values-driven and, in my experience, exceptional contribution of a team of students.


Back in 2015, when they were in Year 10, a team comprised of Laurence Bu-Rashid, Connor Humphrey and Jack Hygate won the national TeenTeach Award Competition for their innovative development and application of new technology to solve problems and improve lives.


But they went further. They really wanted to change real lives. To make a real difference. So they went on to do this. It's genuinely inspirational. And uplifting….

So, breadth of prizes do make a point about what we value and our students stand for. And didn’t they all do very well!