The last twelve months have flown by, busy as always but with lots to celebrate across the life of the College. We know that academic success is as a result of far more than simply what goes on in the classroom; activities such as Duke of Edinburgh, public speaking, music and art contribute as much to a students’ future success as the certificates they hold. We have therefore continued to grow and develop the range of activities that are designed to develop resilience, leadership and teamwork skills in order that students are engaged learners who take responsibility for their own actions and those of others.
Leadership is something we look to develop in every student and a part of our approach is leading by example, that is why as staff we arrive early and stay late, we wear smart business dress and how we queue with our students in the restaurant. This approach ensures students know our high expectations and we model this behaviour throughout our own work.
The range of trips and visits students have been able to access this year has been astonishing, more than ever before, offering a broad range of opportunities. We have supported the School games in Manchester, walking in the Peak district, team building on Rutland Water, an expedition to Ghana, a huge range of theatre trips, visit to the WWI battlefields, cultural trips to France, Germany and Spain, numerous DofE expeditions, the V&A museum, the Beth Shalom holocaust museum, a number of elite universities, masterclasses in chocolate making, just to name a few. Staff give very generously of their time in supporting these experiences and students always comment on how much they have gained as a result. The impact of trips is difficult to measure but this is true of some our most valuable experiences in life; they are moments of College life that will stay with students for the rest of their lives.
Alongside trips and visit we continue to compete successfully in a range of competitions, the adult world is competitive and we improve ourselves by comparing our performance to others. We know that we all have particular strengths and we offer a range of competitive activities that give every student the opportunity to be successful. Of course, as all athletes know, losing is also a critical part of any competition, it builds resilience and the determination to carry on in order to perhaps win next time. We have seen the College retain the local Varsity cup again this year, this represents the efforts of over 200 students from across the College competing in nearly 20 sports against 5 other schools. This endeavour is only possible because staff, students and parents give freely of their time to support coaching and fixtures. We also saw our best ever performance by our public speaking teams with the Youth Speaks and English Speaking Union competitions; Sue McGrath once again did a sterling job in coaching and supporting these teams to great success in competitions historically dominated by independent and grammar schools. In Music we also saw our best ever performance at the Kettering Music Festival, coming away with a number of trophies and first place awards.
The Performing Arts put on the wonderful CATS performance with Year 7 following their visit to see the show in the West End. In the summer term we hosted our first Summer Festival which was a huge success with thousands of people coming to see our students perform and take part in the range of fun activities on offer. This raised a significant amount of money that will be used to support the purchase of additional musical instruments and future performances. We will be putting on West Side Story later this year which will be a showcase for the musical and theatrical talent of the College.
Finally, examination results have again proven to be a strength of the College, students were in celebratory mood when they opened their envelopes and discovered once again our best ever outcomes. We have seen improvements in almost all subject areas with exceptional performances in English, English literature, Drama, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Product Design, Art and Design, 3D Studies, Painting and Drawing, History, Philosophy and Ethics, French, Spanish and Sport GCSE.