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“ What’s past is prologue…”

Much of what we shared on our awards evening this year was  the work beyond the classroom.

Our core business though is teaching and learning and many students were recognised on awards evening and in the final commendation assemblies for their day to day commitment and determination to work hard. I have been fortunate enough to teach a year 7 group for English this year and we have recently been comparing two Shakespeare plays, one of which is The Tempest. In Act two, Antonio says “What’s past is prologue” and as we look back over our year’s work, we should consider what prologue this provides to further success. It feels like a particularly poignant and historic year as this year’s year 11 are the first group for whom I have been their headteacher for the entirety of their time here. Many will go on to continue their education at our partner school, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School –Mrs Payne , their new headteacher is inheriting a fantastic group of students – but  more about Year 11 later.

From Izabella Rylance’s Year 7 success in winning the prize for the pin design for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration, to 31 students achieving their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award to the Year 7 Footballers and Year 9 netballers winning the Coastal and Superzone competitions to Jake Tittershill’s recent national success in the Journey Awards to the extremely high quality pitches from 11 Year 9 potential House Captains last week , the students of Banovallum have shown time and time again this year that they have immense character and talent.

The culture of competition has been intense throughout the year and we owe much of this to the work of our three House leaders ; Mrs Hunter, Mrs Kirkwood and  Mrs Sheehan who have led their respective houses with a relentless determination all year. They and the ,arguably, more competitive tutors (for who will forget Mr McLean storming out of Easter commendation assembly at his form’s second place!) have every right to feel proud of what you have achieved – from the Mathlectics challenge, to Strictly Banovallum ( Kai Stephenson’s dance contribution has already gone down in history – the things students will do to earn points for their house!)

The ePraise initiative, so effectively introduced and organised by Mr Bollan has been a great way for us, as teachers, to acknowledge the small aspects of quality that lead to bigger success. I have been particularly humbled by the fact that, although students could have “spent” your vouchers on treats and privileges for themselves, as a student body have chosen instead to donate over £1000 to our two nominated charities, Lincs2Nepal and Cancer research. This has been a great reminder to the staff of just how unselfish and thoughtful our young people are. To quote The Tempest again, it is indeed a Brave New World if such a spirit of global responsibility and support is already in our students.

Indeed, I have to commend Kim Allen and Ollie Roberts for their leadership of the Banovallum EU referendum . The dignity and respectful way in which their campaigns were carried out put our elected politicians to shame. It is the role of youth to challenge the conceptions and values of generations ahead – to question and seek to improve and make sure that we are open to error as a way of learning. We understand that mistakes are part of enabling us to learn better – our mindset is open.

We were reminded of this philosophy at our Sports Personality event when Will Rawdon, an ex student addressed the Sports personality awards audience and was absolutely clear that despite setbacks, if you have your heart set on something and work hard, you can succeed. The year 10 Sports leaders who organised and compared this event did an excellent job and it was a lovely, inclusive evening in which confidence grew enormously. For the first year ever, the lifetime achievement award was shared between two students, Ella Barr and Kai Stephenson (I think it was your dancing that clinched it, Kai!) Congratulations to you both and thank you for your service to sport and supporting of younger students during your time here.

We have seen some remarkable individual sports successes this year in lower years, including Nathan Thompson in Year 8 who won the Superzone hurdles during the first year of our promotion to the higher league. Lucy Raywood in Year 7 represented Lincolnshire in cross country and Emma Leggate, Jack Cooke, Oliver Caswell and Alex Hodson.

In challenging expectations and setting the highest of standards, we have seen two major achievements in team challenges this year. For the second consecutive year, Banovallum have won the Young Enterprise competition for the  Their win is impressive in itself but it should also be noted that we were the only non-selective school without a sixth form represented in the county final and the team came away with the prize for the best financial management.  It is also the second time in recent history that we have won the Project X RAF competition. Project X is an exciting annual competition for schools across Lincolnshire to compete head-to-head in an airborne themed design and engineering challenge. We beat none other Lincolnshire secondary schools to achieve this win and we are we are grateful to the RAF for their expertise, organisation and role modelling which raises the ambitions and experience of Lincolnshire’s young people.

We are fortunate to live in a community which supports our aims and ambitions so strongly and I am, as ever, extremely grateful to the Jobson Trust who have, once again been so generous in their sponsorship of our awards this year. We owe a debt also to Victoria Atkins MP who fulfilled a promise to us to invite Nicky Morgan, the then Secretary of State for Education to visit Queen Elizabeth’s and Banovallum. The town’s students were united in their political interest and determination to prove what co-operation can achieve. We were delighted that the right honourable Nicky Morgan recognised our quality student support and our commitment to Arts and Technology as well as the core subjects – and who could fail to pick out these strengths in a visit to our school?

I left Mrs Morgan in no doubt as to the complete dedication and commitment of Banovallum’s teaching staff. I am so very fortunate to work with professionals who are utterly student focused and who never cease to surprise me in just how much of their time they are willing to commit beyond the day to day expectations of this demanding job. Parents and students, I know you will want to join me in thanking them from the bottom of our hearts.

We have always maintained that our student leadership team is an extension of our staff and Ben and Ella as head boy and girl , supported by their deputies and prefects have done a superb job in leading this fantastic year group. It is testament to the regard in which the whole year group is held that so many staff turned out to enjoy the prom last month. It was a great evening and a fitting culmination to a superb team spirit and a very hard working year from all of you! You are a credit to your parents and your school. We will miss you but we wish you every success from this: your prologue to greater things.