Headmaster’s update

Headmaster’s update

The School started this Autumn Term buoyed by another excellent set of results in the summer’s public examinations.

In the face of warnings from Ofqual, the examinations regulator, that this year’s results nationally would be ‘particularly volatile’, boys at QE once again performed very strongly, with 96% of A-levels taken being awarded A*–B grades. At GCSE, the picture was similarly impressive: 90% of GCSEs sat here gained either an A* or A grade. More recently, the Sunday Times placed QE in first place in its Parent Power league table of state schools for the second consecutive year.

Whilst we are proud of such achievements, it is important to understand that they result not only from a great deal of sustained hard work on the part of the pupils, but also from a strategic approach by the School aimed at creating and maintaining an educational environment in which talent is identified, nurtured and encouraged to thrive.

That approach is set out in our 2012–16 School Development Plan. Put simply, the plan underpins our current success while also keeping us moving forward as a School.  Our Assistant Heads work assiduously to ensure that we maintain progress with each of the plan’s themes, while the Second Master, Colin Price, and I oversee the whole process. Next year will be about evaluating the effectiveness of the changes made to date and also about starting to consult with all our stakeholders as we look towards a new School Development Plan for 2016–2020.

At the start of this academic year, I enjoyed hearing about the summer holiday rugby and cricket tour of Sri Lanka, which involved around 50 boys drawn from Years 10-13. Facing tough opposition in challenging climatic conditions, the tourists found wins hard to come by, but nevertheless enjoyed the experience of a lifetime. The tour marked the 100th anniversary of the introduction of rugby at the School.

Highlights of the term itself have included the visit to Buckingham Palace by Gee Scarisbrick, of our Mathematics Department, to receive her MBE from the Princess Royal. The award was announced earlier this year in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The School is receiving 49 poppies from the Tower of London’s World War I Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Blood art installation, which we believe to be the single largest purchase of the ceramic poppies. They have been bought for the School by the Trustees to the Foundation of the Schools of Queen Elizabeth using money from a bequest from Dennis Nelms (OE 1934–1941) and his wife, Muriel. The number represents every OE who perished in the 1914–1918 conflict, together with one in memory of Mr Nelm’s brother, who died in the Second World War. The School is currently considering how to display the poppies.

There has been a special focus on Year 11 this term, with every boy having an individual meeting with a senior member of staff as they start the important process of making their Sixth Form choices. We invest considerable time and effort into preparing boys of this age for their future beyond QE. Year 11 boys recently participated in our annual Careers Convention. I am most grateful to the Old Elizabethans and other friends of the School who supported this event.

May I wish all our old boys and their families a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2015.

Neil Enright