The Headmaster’s Report
Madam Mayor, Honoured guests, Chairman, Headmaster, Colleagues, parents and pupils.
Many of you will know that I have been away for a little while undertaking a short sabbatical. It has been both fascinating and refreshing and so consequently I am extremely grateful to The Headmaster and governors of Truro School for giving me this time for reflection, research and renewal.
I would like to pay tribute and to thank the team here, under the leadership of Andrew MacQuarrie and Sarah Hudson, for holding the fort so effectively in my absence. I now know that the only thing I need to do as headmaster is stand on the step each morning and wave, since that appears to be the only thing that you have all missed.
It’s a joy to be back, especially for Speech Day!
And let’s face it, you all know that this year I’ve cheated. My excuse is – look at the competition – how could I compete with the best children’s author of our generation.
I like to think of it not as cheating but as delegation.
And this year I have delegated the writing of my speech to the pupils.
It is eclectic, occasionally rather random, but does give a vivid account of the many and varied things that go on within this, our school.
So this is their year in their words:
In Year 3, Purnesh’s favourite memory was:
“The trip to Trelissick and Roundwood Quay because it was the best trip ever in the whole of Year 3.”
And the thing he is most pleased to have learnt is his 13 and 15 times tables “because tables are important and handy for maths.”
The most memorable thing this year for Phoebe was:
“Getting the swimming gala cup because it was really fun getting it and everyone was cheering for me and it was wonderful!”
For Wilf Gammon it was:
“Sports Day and Junior Activities because sport, I think, is my cup of tea; it is made for me!”
For Jack it was:
“Art because I didn’t know you could use charcoal in so many different ways!”
For Matthew-Mohan it was the Year 3 play, where he was:
“Playing a member of the corporation in the “Pied Piper” because it was just fun!!”
The thing Raphi is most pleased to have learnt was:
“Samba, because I got a big drum.”
For Evie it was:
“My independence because I thought that I could never go up to the library on my own but now I can because I tried.”
For Henry it was:
“Cricket because I have learned to bowl properly.”
For Wilf Bartlett the thing he remembers most from this year was:
“Eating my birthday cake because it was really nice!”
The thing that Wilf is most pleased to have learnt was “about John Wesley because I wanted to go to Gwennap Pit.”
In Year 4:
The thing that Daisy remembers most from this year was:
“The school play because I really enjoyed it and I thought it was quite funny.”
The thing she is most pleased to have learnt is: “Badminton because I play it at home but I want to learn all the rules.”
The thing Amelia remembers most from this year is: “Mr Tolkien’s personal stories: “The car” and “Boarding School” because they were really funny and interesting. The thing I am most pleased to have learnt is, in maths, how to do decimals. I didn’t understand but now I do, so I am happy now!”
For Hannah the thing she remembers most was:
“When I joined the school, because I met lots of very nice people”. And the thing that she is most pleased to have learnt is: “the violin because I really enjoy it and don’t want to stop!”
Oriel wrote that her favourite memory was “making new friends because I still have them and they are really nice.” And the thing she was most pleased to have learnt was “making a computer website because it is very useful for different things like English.”
Grace remembers “Drama best of all because I always have fun and I really like acting now.” The thing she is most proud of learning is “doing pretty drawings because I was never that good at drawing or acting and now I am really proud of what I have achieved.”
Melissa Shipsey’s favourite memory of the year was: “The Year 4 camp because it was the first time I stayed away from home on a school trip.”
Ralph agrees, because he says: “I enjoyed it!”
Aimee says “it was really fun spending the night with my friends and singing campfire songs.”
Ben Purchas says: “it was really fun doing all the activities and especially cooking bacon.”
For Jamie it was “because it was really fun and amazing.”
Jamie and Ben both enjoyed learning the double bass. Jamie loved playing Pirates of the Carribean and Ben says: “Now I can play James Bond on it really well.”
For Tara her favourite memory was: “Mr Tolkien’s funny stories and jokes because they are really funny.”
Benji agrees: “Mr Tolkien’s stories in English are amazing because he makes them so funny and dramatic.”
Well, who’d have guessed, we have a Tolkien who’s good at telling stories!
The thing Benji was most pleased to have learnt was fractions because “they are the most nervous bit of maths ever.”
Adam Hussain remembers the cricket festival and was most pleased to have learnt about “the digestive system because we made our own system.”
Lucy also remembers doing the digestive system because “it was really fun and it got you messy.”
Emily says: “When we did the digestive system we made an extremely big mess when we tried to make it.” She adds that the thing she is most pleased to have learnt is being able to do cube numbers in maths because “I have been wanting to know how for a very long time.”
Joshua remembers the football tournament because “people weren’t like “I won – yeah!”
They were like “Good game guys.”
The thing Sammy remembers most from this year is “acting like cave men in History because it was fun building shelters and talking like cavemen.”
Cameron remembers the book fair because there were lots of funny books like “Don’t eat this book.”
Melissa remembers the Year 4 play, James and the Giant Peach because “it was really fun.”
For Lexie it was “really fun to be Aunt Sponge!” And the thing that Lexie is most pleased to have learnt is that “nothing has to be perfect the first time because I always used to take a long time to finish things because I tried to make it perfect first time. I’m quicker with my work now.”
Florence is most pleased to have learnt how to cook meatballs because “I can cook for my mum.” She has also enjoyed learning to sail and kayak at Stithians reservoir.
Thomas remembers the cricket because it was fun and he has learnt an easier way to do division, because the division is hard!
Jago remembers the swimming gala because nearly everybody came and has enjoyed learning about the Stone Age in history because “we got to go in the side woods”
Rosie remembers the visit to the Langholm Old People’s home, because it was really exciting. “We learnt all about what it was like before us and exchanged similarities.” She has also learnt that “If you keep on trying you will get there eventually because it is a good thing to motivate you when you are doubting.”
Ben Eddy has learnt that; “Mrs Issaka marks you well when she has a chocolate digestive biscuit.” And he knows this because “I get good marks.”
Ben, I’m curious – how do you get the chocolate digestives to Mrs Issaka when she’s marking. Do you put them in your work for her to find; and don’t they crumble or smear chocolate all over it?
In Year 5:
The thing Maisie remembers most was being part of the rounders team and making friends. She has learnt in history that the plague was caused by the fleas in rats.
Eloise admits that she never knew that the rhyme “A ring a ring of roses” was from the plague. She found a video watched in music called “the two cellists” really funny.
Patrick O’Rourke enjoyed learning about dinosaurs on the geology trip to Truro School because he loves dinosaurs and liked measuring the fossils with his friends.
Charlie is most pleased to have learnt about the Civil War in history because “my great grandfather (13 times removed) was Thomas Furze – a musketeer.”
History was also important to Patrick Falco because “my teacher explained to me that to enjoy history, you have to understand it.”
Soumya and Adeline remember when, during a history lesson, their class started singing “I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world” because “we were talking about a model of an execution scene…..”
I can see how that could be memorable, in an ever so slightly chilling way!
Joseph remembers the visit by GP Taylor because he was scary and entertaining when he made me jump so many times.”
The thing Ed Whitworth remembers most from this year was “The Beam House Trip”.
Beam House is the PGL activity centre in North Devon that we take the Year 5 pupils to for two nights away from home, doing a range of activities, many of which involve either getting very dirty or climbing with ropes and harnesses.
Heath remembers Beam House because of playing “Catch the Flag” and the awesome Zip Wire.
Harry also liked the awesome zip wire that was “the length of a field”.
Reuben enjoyed going to Beam House because it was fun to do all the activities, especially the shooting.
Finlay remembers “the mud challenge and the abseiling because you went higher and got muddy.”
Sam Teagle says: “it was so fun on the challenge course where we got really muddy and wet.”
Hayden says: “I got covered in mud and it took me 25 minutes to get all the grass out of my hair.” Whereas it only took Sam Cox 20 minutes to get clean. Sam’s hair is therefore shorter than Hayden’s!
Anna remembers abseiling at Beam House because: “I achieved something I thought I couldn’t.”
Emily liked Beam House because “it helped me conquer my fear of heights.”
Cal remembers the Secret Santa because “We shared gifts.” He also remembers Beam House because it was the funnest thing to do!
Gregor says: I remember the time we went to PGL because I really enjoyed the archery, the zip wire and the climbing.” He has learnt “that DT isn’t all about building – it’s also about designing.”
The thing Alex Barton will remember most was when his Beam House video presentation was shown because “I put a lot of effort into it and I am pleased about it.”
Whilst most of the rest of Year 5 were at Beam House Theo enjoyed helping out in Year 4 because “I was running around like a mad person”.
Misha’s most memorable moment was joining his first school team because “I felt more included and I could finally have refreshment.” And he was pleased to be learning to fence because “before I learnt how, I dreamed of sword fighting like pirates.”
Madi’s most vivid memory, she says: “was when I was at a cross-country event watching the seagulls trying to fly against the wind and they ended up in the hedge, because “it was really funny”.
In the County Cross Country finals Finn Ellemann was pleased to be 5th whilst
Max Cooper was pleased to have come 7th because “it was a really big improvement from coming 16th last year.”
Lizzie’s best memories have come from learning how to play different sports like netball and hockey because “it gave me more confidence around other people.” The thing she is most pleased to have learnt is “playing the piano because it makes me feel happy and proud when I play a piece well.”
William Dewhurst remembers winning the Swimming Gala because “I was really nervous whether I would win or not.”
Freddy Hutchin remembers scoring a hat trick for the school team in a 6 – 0 win against” – well, let’s be diplomatic here, Freddy, and we’ll just say “another” local school!
Jacob Vernon remembers playing in a rugby match against Mount Kelly “because I was captain and we absolutely demolished them.” NO need for subtly there, Jacob!
The thing Bruce remembers most was when Matthew Silcock saved a penalty when he was blindfolded and had his arms tucked into his bib at football club because “it was really funny.”
Joanna remembers the kayak trip because “I loved exploring and feeling so free.”
She also thinks that Mr MacQuarrie looks a lot like Gary Barlow.
Really? Gary Barlow
In Year 6:
The thing Orla Eddy remembers most from the year was “The Midsummer Night’s Dream play”, which was part of the Shakespeare in Schools festival at the Hall for Cornwall, “because I was Helena, one of the main characters. I loved going under the stage and I also really liked my costume.”
The thing Orla is most pleased to have learnt is being a sports’ leader because “I have learnt how to put on a club and look after younger children and all sorts of amazing skills.”
Grace Heaney remembers “getting into the National Youth Music Finals at Birmingham with the choir because “Mrs Renshaw was very pleased.” I think that might be an understatement, Grace!
Henry Hawkins remembers being involved with the electric DT buggy because we got to go to Newquay Airport and race.
It’s also Jack Phillips’ favourite memory because “I got to race the two mile race at Newquay Airport.” He adds that he is most pleased to have learnt “percentages, fractions and decimals this year because I found them hard to do, but now they are fun.”
For many of the children in Year 6, the week’s trip to Paris is the absolute pinnacle of their year.
Noa Rudlin says: “We got to see all of the sights of Paris and it was fun going to Disney.”
Noa has also enjoyed learning the trombone because “it gave me a chance to read music and have fun learning new pieces.”
Sebastian, who only joined the school at Easter enjoyed the French Trip because “it gave me a chance to get to know people and to discover France. I also enjoyed having a sugar rush with Sam on the ferry.”
Jason Ayliffe enjoyed learning how to make a clock in DT because “I had no idea how the clock movement works.” And of the Paris trip Jason says “We were there for a week and we did really fun stuff.”
Sam Hayes says “It was really fun and different to what I have ever done before with the school.” He adds that he is pleased to have learnt hockey and to have got into the team because “it was an ambition for me to learn to play.”
Gabriel enjoyed going to Paris because “I was able to enjoy time with my friends and peers whilst visiting wonderful places.” He adds that he has learnt “how much responsibility you have as a Year 6 because although responsibility can be seen as a bother, along the way you encounter so many new and exciting opportunities.”
Ashay says about the Paris trip “I found out a lot about their culture and I had a lot of responsibility and I stayed for five days a long way from home.” He has learnt that “If I put my mind to it I can be good at sport because I was in the county Under 11s badminton team.
Max Fisher remembers going to France and EuroDisney because “hearing and seeing the teachers screaming on the rides was funny.”
Sophie Hooper remembers “drinking a JLO and eating a chocolate muffin at 8 o’clock am on the ferry to France because it tasted soooo good and (this is in brackets – my mum told me to write this) I’m not allowed this at home.”
Sofie Palmer will remember the Paris Trip because “when I was sleeping on the boat on the way back from France, Mrs Issaka took a photo of me (not a pretty one!)”
The thing Alex Sim is most pleased to have leant is rounders because it is a fun, energetic game that you play in a team.
Aloysius is most pleased to have learnt DT because, he says “I wasn’t very good at it but I thought to myself “I can do it” and put my mind to it and I got better.”
Poppy Allister has learnt how to build confidence and do new things because there are lots of opportunities for everyone even if you think you aren’t good.” She is pleased to have got her Grade 5 singing because “I’m now closer to my aim of Grade 8.”
Harriet remembers going to the IAPS National Netball finals because “it was a very tough fight to get to it and I love netball and it was a great experience.”
Nancy remembers going to the same finals because “it was such a great laugh and we were so excited to do the thing we loved to do.”
She adds the she is pleased to have gained more confidence because “it made me realise that to try new things you don’t have to be amazing at it and in maths if I got it a tiny bit wrong it wouldn’t matter too much.”
Katie also enjoyed getting to the national finals in netball. She says: “I have learnt that “if you push yourself hard you will do better because I have pushed myself hard and grown more confident because of it.”
A number of Year 6 memories are anonymous such as:
“The first history project about World War 1 because I learnt a lot and I did well.”
“The thing I am most pleased to have learnt is my science because you get to do active work but also get to do written work.”
“At Disney Mrs Issaka was as excited and in some cases even more excited than the pupils.”
“The thing I remember was that on our way back from Paris Joe Leek entertained us by pretending to be drunk on the ferry because we were all tired and it cheered us up as it was really funny.”
What I love about the children’s accounts is that many of the things they have learnt or remembered might not be things we as teachers would have expected, but perhaps may have secretly hoped might be seeping in through a process of osmosis; the unmeasurables of education, the values, the broader skills that will help them to live good lives, not just reach the next stage of their education.
It takes excellent teachers to deliver excellent education and this year I would like to pay tribute to and to thank Mr Neale who stood down at Christmas from his role as Pastoral Care Co-ordinator. David, I know, undertook that role with his heart and soul and was, consequently, highly regarded and trusted by pupils, parents and staff alike. Thank you for all you have done over the many years of service here David and I am delighted that you can take life at a very slightly more leisurely pace.
Dr Tim Marwood has been an outstanding teacher of maths and science and has led the science team with great professionalism. He has been a wonderful form teacher, colleague and friend to us all and we all wish him well as he moves on to pastures new. I know that the pupils in particular will miss his gentle, precise and excellent teaching and he will indeed be a very hard act to follow. We wish you well!
I would like to finish with this final anonymous observation from one of the Year 6 pupils:
“The thing I remember most from this year is making the bestest friends I will ever make because it’s the best feeling to know you have people you can trust by your side, whatever a school can throw at you, you can do it with other people around you, who you trust.”
Thank you to the pupils for all their contributions and thank you for listening.