Saturday, 31 August 2013

Back to school!

Towards the end of the summer holidays I always get a few strange looks when I tell people I can't wait to get back to school, after all why would anyone be excited to go back to work? But for as long as I can remember the start of a new school year has been something that gave me that feeling of anticipation in the pit of my stomach, yes I really do get back to school butterflies! When I was in school, (I was actually young once!) that feeling of excited anticipation was probably partly the thought of my mam buying me a new pencil case or school bag, but it was also the idea of getting back into the routine of seeing my friends and the fact that I actually enjoyed the idea of learning new things. To be honest that feeling of excitement is probably why I ended up becoming a teacher. The great thing about school is that every September means a fresh start. New faces, new ideas, new plans it all begins again on that first day and there is no better feeling.

For me personally this year is even more exciting than usual. After 16 amazing years teaching at LSP I was lucky enough to be appointed headteacher. Without a doubt this was the proudest moment of my career and it means that just like all the new year 7 pupils who will arrive in Pengam on Tuesday it's going to feel like a first day for me too.

What is adding to my excitement is the huge positivity around the school. LSP has always been an incredibly caring place where we have traditionally gone the extra mile to support young people in any way possible. Over the last few years we have added academic excellence to this tradition. Once again this summer we have achieved record exam results. Over half the pupils who attended school achieved a C grade or above in both maths and English. More than 80% of pupils achieved 5 or more good GCSE passes. All the talk in the media over the summer was about how boys are falling further behind girls and how it was more difficult than ever to get a good GCSE in maths or English. Despite this our pupils bucked these trends. As a result of the enormous amount of effort made by pupils and teachers results were better than ever before.

A huge part of my job is shouting about this success from the rooftops, it's one of the reasons why I'm writing this blog. I often think secondary schools seem like quite closed places, we only really see people on parents evenings, or school concerts or (thankfully rarely) if something's gone wrong. Boys are also notoriously bad at telling their parents what's happening in school, and so how pupils are actually doing is often a bit of a mystery. That is one of the reasons why exam results day is so fantastic. We get to see parents on a day when we are all celebrating success. LSP is always a really wonderful place on that Thursday in August when the results envelopes are being opened. One slightly tearful and emotional parent said to me on that day

"Thank you so much for everything you've done you always believed in him and never gave up"

The knowledge that as a school we have done everything we can to ensure someone's success is something that I want every parent to know about. It is undoubtedly the main reason the school goes from strength to strength.

Of course there are always challenges and, just like a football team, you're only as good as your last set of results, but as I sit here on Saturday morning thinking about the start of another year, I am absolutely certain that I am very lucky to be the headteacher of an extraordinary school. LSP is a place full of fantastic pupils who amaze me every day with their creativity, commitment and brilliance. Wonderful teachers who are prepared to make every effort to ensure everyone does their best and fantastic parents who help us in countless ways to achieve success.  So when people give me those strange looks there really is only one possible response... why on earth would I not be excited?