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Prep School Prize Giving Day Speech

    10 July 2018

To teach children well, we need to engage with them as people first. They know if you care and are interested in them. After all, we are here to build great human beings, not just products of an education machine, to be consumed for a future workplace. By nurturing people values first; kindness, empathy, understanding, a good work ethic, flexibility, resilience, creativity, good judgement, excellence in expressing themselves, our children will most importantly of all have the best chance of being happy and confident and therefore will be prepared for whatever life throws at them, including the workplace of the future. It should never just be about work.

The Sherfield School motto is Ad Vitam Paramus. Preparation for life. Get that right and the rest flows. Focusing our time with children guided by a set of aims and values which define and support who we are accordingly - the beliefs that guide our actions and behaviours - is key to influencing the way the whole community works with each other. These aims inform and are the foundation of all we do. We aim to nurture good citizens who are:

  1. Respectful and inclusive, celebrating diversity
  2. Aspirational and inspirational in pursuit of excellence
  3. Committed to the well-being of people and of the environment
  4. Open-minded, creative, resilient and reflective
  5. Passionate and determined in embracing and driving positive change
  6. Ethical in action and accountable for their actions

For me, kindness, mutual trust and respect bound up within those aims is the glue which holds it all together.

Of course the landmark achievements along the way should be recognised, which is why we celebrate Prize Giving.

Each year I invite applications for Prep Head Boy, Head Girl, their deputies and prefect positions for Year 8. Today is when I announce the new office holders for Head Boy and Head Girl. Applications this year were particularly impressive, due to the way the pupils tapped into and expressed the aims and values I mentioned earlier. Here are some examples from this year’s letters of application:

  1. People tell me I am a kind person and I really try to be because this is important. If I am Head Boy I would encourage other children to be kind. I would try to be a good role model in my own words and actions.
  2. Some of the qualities I would bring to this role are trustworthiness, kindness, being caring, respectful of others and their differences.
  3. I would encourage other in their roles, working as a team to generate ideas to improve Sherfield even further.
  4. When I think of Sherfield School I think of home. It has boosted my confidence and self-belief so much since I joined, challenged me, building new skills and believing in me even when I doubted myself.
  5. I know that things don’t happen without making an effort and that it is important to work hard, do your best and don’t give up easily.
  6. I love school, the students and the teachers I work with and would love the opportunity to give something back, whilst developing my leadership skills and continuing to build my confidence through this role.

I thank all applicants for their inspiring words. At times it was like reading a manifesto of the Sherfield values and aims but made even better coming from the students; their interpretation of the school values. It has helped remind me that you the pupils are as much and perhaps even more the driver behind these aims, alongside the words themselves and the work of the adults here who support you. I was so impressed and the applications were so good, it made it hard for me to choose. Of course, I did have to choose and my decision was based on how much the applicant’s words expressing these aims I feel are evidenced by the everyday behaviours of the people behind the words. After all it is the people behind the words, which count the most.

Before I announce the results of the applications, let us recognise the outgoing Prep School Head Girl, Aimee Cantle and Head Boy, Elliott Downer. They have done a fine job this year and I also thank Matthew Morris and Margaux Meakin for being very supportive deputies to Amy and Elliott.

I am delighted to announce the new Head Boy for the Prep School for the coming year is Joshua C, with Ben C his deputy and Ella B, Head Girl with Lucy G, her deputy.

So now we finish by saying farewell to Year 8, themhaving progressed to the top of the Prep School. It has been a pleasure to look after you all these years and I wish you all the very best as you embark on your Senior School and GCSE stage of education. You have grown from children to young adults in the Prep School. I hope and trust you have enjoyed your time doing so, having learned many valuable lessons to take you beyond this part of the school with confidence and success.

I wish all of you, colleagues, parents, your families and pupils a very happy and safe summer and look forward to seeing you again soon.



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