“Start as you mean to go on”

It is the start of the new school year, and surprisingly the sun isn’t always shining! Since I moved to Cornwall just over a year ago, everyone has told me that it rains in August, but the weather is good in September. In fact, my experience as a teacher has taught me that nearly everywhere the sun starts shining as soon as school re-starts.

Well, I have my fingers crossed for some good weather in the next few weeks.

In the first assembly of the term, I spoke to the pupils about resolutions for the new school year and about starting as you mean to go on. The beginning of a new year is always an exciting time, but it is very easy to start with good intentions and not carry through with them. I suggested that one option is to tell others what your intentions are – once you’ve expressed them to others, hopefully you feel more accountable and therefore more likely to stick to them. I then rather foolishly told them that my new intention was to exercise every weekday morning at 6.00am. I returned to my office to find my PA had already put this in my diary!

I outlined for the pupils also, some of my intentions within School this year. A five-year vision and strategic plan for the School will be published very shortly and this will outline in more detail what we hope to achieve. However, I spoke to the girls about three things which I want to achieve that are not part of this plan.

The first is to improve ‘student voice’ within the School. By this, I mean giving the pupils greater opportunity to contribute to the school community and to how we operate. I spent some time during the past year talking to the Head Girl Team about this and they are eager to take this forward and to be able to leave their own legacy for the School. We are going to improve the operations of the School Council, to raise the profile of the Prefects and give them real opportunities to effect change, and to ensure that pupils are regularly updated on progress with change. Part of this is ensuring that we demonstrate we are listening to the ideas of the girls and so we plan to have regular feedback in assemblies.

Secondly, Mrs Simmonds will be taking forward our ‘Hearts and Minds’ initiative, which incorporates out charitable fundraising and our community service. She is going to review how we raise funds for charities and how we can ensure that we give the best possible support to those we choose. At the same time, we want to start to provide more opportunities for senior girls to become involved in community service, some of this with the local charities we support.

Finally, the Senior Leadership Team is on a mission to raise house spirit in the Senior School. Mrs Barnfield and Miss Freeman are revamping the house points system and house competition and four new Heads of House will be appointed with a brief to improve house loyalty and commitment. I hope this will lead to more inter-house competitions, in everything from debating to cake decorating to rugby.

And speaking of rugby, it is of course one of the most exciting things coming up this term. Not only do we have the Rugby World Cup to look forward to (come on, the All Blacks!), but the School’s new rugby club will be starting this term. I am hoping that lots of girls will give the sport a go, as they did last year when the Cornish Pirates visited.

Another new initiative which you will soon spot in our online diary is occasional whole school church services, in our local church, St John’s. The first of which is a Harvest Service on 23 October. Parents are welcome to attend and I hope the services will provide a further opportunity for our girls to showcase some of the musical talent in the School.

As my blog becomes a list, I’m conscious there are probably many other initiatives I’ve failed to mention. I think this will do for the meantime. We are looking forward to an exciting term and academic year ahead at Truro High School.

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