Our Principal looks back on the first term of the academic year and sees the hope it shows for the future.

We began the new academic year in September with a clear focus on motivating students to achieve their best with a simple message – Back to School; this spirit has pervaded.  In addition to excellent results, students returned to revised systems and a focus on continuing to build good habits that lead to success in life.  These changes mirror the high expectations we have for all our children and are centred on the idea that small details really matter.

The key to continuing to recover from the challenges of the past two years lies in the concept of collaboration.  The culture of trust and challenge at Heart of England is rooted in our five core values and is central to our momentum.  Helpfulness in creating solutions outperforms individual intelligence every time.  When the going gets tough for members of our community, what we all require is support and partnership, inspired by the understanding that we all have the same end in mind.

At our recent open evenings the Head Boy and Head Girl spoke of their experience of a school where everyone can excel through effort.  They reflected on the need to make mistakes and to be given the opportunity to learn from them.  They outlined experiences which had challenged them, changed them and allowed them to grow.  They spoke about education as an adventure and how becoming a reflective and creative thinker is key to achieving success.  It was heartening to hear Tess and Noah clarify to future students, parents and carers that they had been taught how to think rather than what to think at Heart of England.

Litter picking along the road

This term has seen the return of theatre visits, a Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards evening that celebrated unprecedented levels of participation at our school, the educational visit to CERN in January, field trips, community litter picking and superb musical concerts that reflect the talent and spirit of our students and staff.  A new school production is also in rehearsal and we are intent on building back participation in sport and have a lively offer of clubs outlined in our weekly NewsBrief which include board games, debating and coding to name but a few.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to thank our staff this term; the warmth and generosity of your messages remain an inspiration and the PTA deserve a special shout out as they continue to provide refreshments at our extra-curricular events as well as fund raising and general support for students and staff alike.  We really appreciate your time and dedication!  Thanks also go to staff, students, parents, carers and trustees for all their hard work and support throughout the year.  We know that this holiday will have its challenges for many and it is the time of year to reflect on what really matters and what is of greatest value as we say goodbye to 2022.

We ended our term with the option of wearing festive items of clothing in aid of charity and enjoying our special Quizmas radio show – competing against each other in tutor groups to win a coveted prize.  Finally, on Thursday lunchtime this week we heard the first live broadcast in two years from our own Fusion Radio station, produced, directed and presented entirely by Year 7s.  They pondered upon what they loved about this time of year and they were brilliant.  You may be interested to know that among their festive favourites were Silent Night, All I Want for Christmas and Space Man… proving that we are back but in a new way and on that happy note, have a safe and peaceful holiday.

J Hughes-Williams

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