The Soote Season

With grene hath clad the hill and eke the vale:
The nightingale with fethers new she singes:
The turtle to her make hath tolde her tale:
Somer is come, for euery spray nowe springes,
The hart hath hong his olde hed on the pale:
The buck in brake his winter cote he flinges:
The fishes flote with newe repaired scale:
The adder all her sloughe awaye she slinges:
The swift swalow pursueth the flyes smale:
The busy bee her honye now she minges:
Winter is worne that was the flowers bale:
And thus I see among these pleasant thinges
Eche care decayes, and yet my sorow springes.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1516/17 – 1547)

The end of the summer term is always tinged with sadness for it is when we are compelled to bid a fond farewell to leaving staff. There are no prize days for the unsung heroes of the Common Room but it is right that we honour their outstanding contribution to the School and wish them all the best for the future. Some are embarking upon a well-deserved retirement whilst others are taking up exciting new posts elsewhere. Those members of staff who are leaving will remain part of the Rossall community insomuch as they will always be assured of a warm and friendly welcome back here amongst their friends and former colleagues. In particular, I would like to highlight the service of those who have been with us for a good number of years. Six members of staff have contributed a total of 109 years of loyal service to Rossall School and they are:

Name Subject Duration at Rossall
Mrs Almond Economics 13 Years
Mrs Alonso Spanish 19 Years
Mrs Byrne Maths/ICT 15 Years
Mrs Holder-Williams Art/Photography 28 Years
Mrs Forster Biology 13 Years
Miss Mercer Physics 21 Years

We are especially grateful to these members of staff, all of whom should be congratulated upon reaching such significant milestones.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all members of Rossall School for making us feel so incredibly welcome this year. We have been extraordinarily fortunate to become members of a community that is predicated upon friendship and underpinned by warmth, humour and compassion. I consider myself lucky enough to work with inspirational colleagues who are committed to ensuring that our boys and girls are provided with every possible opportunity to fulfill their awesome potential. Our teachers are creative, conscientious and always put children at the heart of their endeavours.

We head off into the summer holidays full of excitement for the future. The School Development Plan provides strategic clarity and an ambitious yet realisable ambition for the future. Recruitment of pupils has exceeded our expectations this year and it is good to know that, for an increasing number of families, we are now the obvious school of choice in this part of the world. Next September, we look forward to the opening of our wonderful new Sports Centre, and we are already deriving great benefit from the Performing Arts Centre, Learning Development Centre, and Sixth Form Centre. We have already embarked upon an ambitious refurbishment of the Infants School and, as I write, our petting enclosure is taking shape in the Hall Garden. I might have to wait for the alpacas but we should have a herd of pygmy goats arriving in the Autumn or should that be a ‘tribe of goats’?

Last Friday we were delighted to hold an induction day for new members of staff joining us in September and it is quite clear that their extraordinary energy and enthusiasm will be of enormous benefit to teaching and learning throughout the School. There really is an unstoppable momentum about Rossall and how fitting it is that our 175th Anniversary should be marked by such resolute confidence. All around, one sees a relentless determination to excel in every regard. I am immeasurably proud of the Rossall of 2019 and I am incredibly excited by the prospect of the journey ahead. We are in fine mettle but we have absolutely no intention of resting on our laurels. This is a journey which has no finish line. In due course, we will be able to share with you the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report which arises from last week’s educational quality and focused compliance inspection. Thank you to all parents and pupils who took the time to complete the pre-inspection questionnaires. This is a hugely important aspect of any inspection as inspectors quite rightly want to measure that we really do what we say we do.

I do not think I have ever mentioned my wife Fiona in one of my weekly blogs, not least because it seems a rather self-indulgent to publicly thank one’s partner. However, I owe her a huge debt of gratitude during what has been an immensely busy year. As we all know, it is not easy juggling family life and the demands of our busy professional lives. Often, it is only possible because of the love, understanding and forbearance of our partners. So in thanking Fiona, I am also expressing my heartfelt appreciation for all those Mums and Dads who spend their lives doing rather more than their fair share of running around after their children. I am acutely conscious and often humbled by the incredible sacrifices made by our parents and that is one of the greatest motivational factors that leads us to be relentless in our drive to continuously develop the School. Thank you, to all those who come out late on a winter night to collect a son or daughter from an away fixture, play rehearsal or school trip. Without your unwavering support, we would not be able to offer such a diversity of opportunities.

On Saturday morning our First XI bowled out Kirkham for 27 and yesterday they beat Barnard Castle School. Earlier this week Lea Dawson, Dominic Barron-Holden, Charlie Ardon, Josh Hamlett, Marc Prengle and John Wilding won the HMC National Golf Championships. Furthermore, we are now Lancashire tennis champions, Lancashire rounders champions and our girls’ cricket team were placed third in Lancashire. It is great to end this year so positively and I would like to thank Jack Cropper, Stuart Hemmings and the rest of our sports staff for the incredible contribution that they make throughout the year.

So we finish this year on an absolute high and we look forward to all that September 2019 brings. I hope that all Rossallians have a wonderful summer and, wherever you are, may your days be filled with love, laughter and happiness.

HMC National Foursomes Champions