PUBLISHED: 05:20 16 February 2015
As the head teachers of our schools and colleges prepare for 2015, Rachel Buller asks them to reflect on their achievements of the past year and their hopes and dreams for the next.
Douglas Robb, headmaster at Gresham’s School, Holt
“One of the things which impressed me most was the extraordinary House Music Concert. Every pupil gets up to perform in front of around 1000 people. In what was my first term as new headmaster, it was a great introduction to life at Gresham’s. I have been to 14 concerts already in just 10 weeks of school, and our music and drama offering is absolutely phenomenal.
“We have incredibly exciting plans for the year ahead. We are in the planning stages of creating an iconic new school building and a major refurbishment of all our boarding accommodation will also begin this year.”
Corrienne Peasgood, principal of City College Norwich
“Our biggest achievement is that more students than ever are gaining qualifications and progressing on to employment and further training; also our historic Norwich building has had a major revamp with the complete replacement of its 23,500 roof tiles and all 370 windows.
“In 2015, we want to create more great work experience opportunities for students, like our hospitality, travel and tourism students’ annual ‘takeover’ of the Holiday Inn Norwich North and Norwich International Airport. We’re looking for employers with that bravery and vision to invite students in to run their businesses and show what they can do in a real working environment.”
Jonathan Taylor, headmaster at Wymondham College
“There are many areas that we are very proud of, but one of our stand-out achievements of 2014 was that 12 of our pupils secured Oxbridge places.
“One of our key aims for this year is to widen our contribution to the local community and build new and exciting partnerships, building on the success that our students have demonstrated through volunteering and fundraising.”
Nicholas Bevington, headmaster at Town Close School, Norwich
“We are most proud of the way pupils have taken such a strong lead in shaping their education, equipping them with the skills they will need as they pass through senior schools and enter the wider world.
“We have already taken massive strides in the way we use technology for learning and our aim for the next year is to take advantage of newly acquired mobile digital technology to undertake further exciting learning. With a newly appointed computer science teacher, we will improve our understanding of algorithms, coding and mathematics and challenge ourselves to be creative!”
Stephen Crump, headmaster at Hethersett Old Hall School
“On a beautiful July day, I listened to our head girl Jessica talk to our Speech Day audience. Her poise and quiet confidence impressed us all. Seeing young people like Jessica, who started here at the age of four, going out into the world, well equipped to face the challenges that a rapidly-changing world will bring, is our school’s greatest achievement.
“We are in the midst of some exciting developments as our recently-established nursery undergoes rapid expansion. In September we opened our second nursery class and we are welcoming more and more three year olds almost daily.”
Rachael Drake runs two Kumon Centres in Norfolk providing tuition for children aged three to 16
“I am proud to have established my own Kumon centre, firstly in Wymondham and then Norwich, where children can receive extra help in maths and English.
“My aim for 2015 is to make the Kumon name and programme more well known in Norfolk and to show how it can help both children who need a little extra help but also those who would like to be stretched a little further.”
John Ingham, master of the lower school at Norwich School
“Our proudest achievement has to be the opening of our new wildlife area and outdoor classroom. It was designed and created by the staff, pupils and parents of the lower school led by Jonathan Worton. It is designed in the style of a Norfolk meadow and includes a pond, willow tunnel and even a bug hotel.
“One aim we are currently working on for the coming year is introducing a series of academic focus points for all the subjects we teach to extend the pupils’ learning beyond lessons in the classroom.”
Martin Castle, headmaster at St Nicholas House School, North Walsham
“It has been a year of change. While I adjusted to life in the beautiful north Norfolk countryside, pupils, staff and parents got to grips with a new face. How have we all fared during this time? With resilience, patience, generosity and smiles.
“The needs of the individual are central to our work and will be an area of increased focus next year, allowing every child the opportunity to be a key player in the St Nick’s community – one of the delights of a small school.”
Jason Morrow, headmaster of Norwich High School
“In 2014, we introduced a new programme called My Time, to give girls aged 11-14 the chance each week to dedicate a substantial period of time to an area in which they feel they have a particular strength, passion or interest. The courses included animation, enterprise skills, Mandarin and cross-curricular programmes. The staff worked incredibly hard and it has been wholeheartedly embraced by pupils.
“My personal aim for the coming year is to enjoy and make the most of my time as head of this very special and inspiring community before leaving for my new role in New York in the summer.”
Mike Crossley, headmaster at Taverham Hall School
“We are most proud of our fourth ‘outstanding’ inspection, which emphasised the strength of our early years’ provision and the overwhelming support of the school by our parents.
“This year we want to build on the momentum generated following the launch of our bespoke early years curriculum. Numbers in the nursery continue to grow and reception is currently at capacity. We will continue to focus on our outstanding pastoral care and personalised academic learning programmes for all of its pupils.”
Robin Gainher, headmaster at Beeston Hall School
“A parent of a child who left in the summer said, ‘She worked very hard for her exams but just as important was the great efforts all her teachers made in supporting her, whether through spending more time with her in class or on a one-to-one basis encouraging her. It’s a very happy school with wonderful pastoral care’. Isn’t this what it’s all about?
“Our collective aim for the coming year - children, parents and staff– is to create a ‘community of kindness’ where the key to the brilliant achievements of the boys and girls is not systems, not processes, but a simple matter of kindness and generosity of spirit from each and every one of us.”
John Crofts, headmaster at Glebe House School, Hunstanton
“At Glebe House School, education is not limited to the classroom, and in 2014 we took full advantage of our coastal, rural location. In February, the entire school embarked upon a fundraising walk from Hunstanton to Holme, in aid of Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Despite heavy rain and boisterous winds, the children walked with such enthusiasm and positivity. I think it was an occasion that captures the spirit of the school, a desire to give one’s best effort and play an active part in the community.
“This year we also hosted and participated in a number of sporting events with other local schools, including rugby taster days. While 2015 will give us the opportunity to continue many of these activities, we look to expand the choices with sailing, watersports and even a triathlon.”