18th January 2013
I have just returned to school after attending the funeral of Tony Sutton. As a large number of our parents are Old Gordanians it may be that you knew Mr Sutton who was a teacher in the school from the 1950s through to the 1980s. He was Head of English and Head of Sutton House (now Portland). I got to know Tony when he visited me shortly after I started here in 2010 and we met up a number of times subsequently. He was always eager to sing the praises of this school and its students and staff. He was a gentleman, a great supporter of Gordano School and we shall miss him here and in our community.
My day started on a brighter note as we held our first Business Breakfast here at 7.30 this morning. We had a very large turnout from business partners large and small and across a great range of sectors. Our Assistant Headteacher Alison Wood is working very hard indeed to establish the network to support our students in finding out about career options, undertake internships and apprenticeships and prepare for the world of work.
We had been expecting that there might be some movement away from university applications this year as fees rise and businesses begin to recruit more actively for 18 year old trainees. That has not yet happened and more than 140 UCAS applications have gone in so far. Yet we have seen a number of sixth formers being offered high level training contracts or apprenticeships. As always, our aim is to support our students to achieve the best qualifications that they can and to inspire them about their exciting futures. The Business Partnership plays a significant role in that aim.
Following that theme of achievement I must congratulate the nearly 100 students in year 11 who have received a C grade or higher in Maths in their November GCSE exam. These are superb outcomes and, although it is far too early to declare a vintage, it does confirm a positive picture emerging about the success and work ethic of Year 11. We launched the Year 11 support programme on Monday and every Year 11 has been allocated a member of the Senior Team as their ‘performance coach’. I shall be writing separately to Year 11 parents about this today.
I shall finish with some more congratulations. We are very proud of our Under 16s Girls Football Team who have left the National Cup competition at the Quarter Final stage. We got as far as the Semi Finals last year and are establishing a real reputation in this sport. We are also thrilled to hear of the offer of places at Oxford and Cambridge that were received by Matt March, Stephanie Croker, Ellie Thornhill and Adam Grey. Ellie and Adam are our Head Girl and Head Boy so a friendly rivalry has clearly been successful. Lastly, we have had the fantastic news that Belinda Brusoni has been awarded a prize within the Bristol Poetry Institute’s Poetry Competition which is organised by Bristol University. Her poem ‘Devine Feminine’ impressed the judges tremendously.