Headmaster’s Welcome Back Letter

Dear Parents,
A warm welcome back for the start of our 2015/16 academic year. I’m sorry that I can’t make a more glowing reference to glorious summer weather, but I hope that all Truro School families have enjoyed some rest and relaxation.

A Level Results and University Admissions

I did make a glowing reference a couple of weeks ago when I blogged about our terrific A Level results, which have got even better with some favourable remarks. More importantly, the ALPS value added report highlights how our students have performed relative to their ability level and makes very happy reading. We aim each year to achieve a value added outcome in the top 25% of schools nationally as an indication that our teaching and learning is making a real difference. In the event, for the second year running, our value added score is in the top 10% of schools nationally. Our Upper Sixth leavers and our teachers who guided them have done us proud.

Oxbridge Success for Truro School Students, Cornwall.

Off to Cambridge and Oxford: Deputy Head Girl Marina Scott (left) alongside Head Girl Catherine Shepherd (right).

I’m delighted with the university admissions picture where 95% of our university applicants are confirmed in their first or insurance choice institutions with 76% in the former category. A few students picked up very good offers through Clearing and it’s super to know that our Sixth Form has provided such a strong platform for these next steps. This year a number of our leavers are destined for university study in Europe and the USA. We are hosting an overseas universities convention at Truro School in the coming term and I suspect that this trend will grow under the guidance and direction of Mrs Jupp, our overseas universities adviser.

GCSE Results

The GCSE results too were pleasing with over half of all exams graded A*/A. This is a small improvement on last year and a trend which needs to continue. The 5th Year as a group took an impressive approach to their studies and their hard work has certainly paid off. Along with many other schools who have reported concerns about marking and awarding, we were disappointed with the GCSE English Language results and await the results of an enquiry. I look forward to welcoming so many students back into the Lower Sixth. Our retention figures are excellent and with 35 new students joining the cohort, we are expecting 125 students at the Lower Sixth induction programme. It’s very gratifying to note the strong level of interest in Truro School and our pupil roll will be nudging towards 800 students this year with not a spare bed in any of the boarding houses (although there will still be the opportunity for flexi-boarding in each house).

Students celebrate GCSE results day.

Students celebrate GCSE results day.

International Trips

Summer activity has also included what sounded like a couple of amazing trips; the first to Uganda where our students worked with our partner schools Bethany High and African Hearts Primary. They also supported the work of Voluntary Action for Development who help out in the local communities. The second trip saw sixteen 3rd Year pupils on a World Challenge expedition to Norway. I have just read the trip report from Mr and Mrs Cucknell who accompanied them on this action packed adventure in the Scandinavian wilderness. The students were described by the Cucknells as “nothing short of brilliant!”

Truro School - Uganda Trip 2015

Truro School students photograph an Elephant during a safari trip in Uganda.

Academy of Risk

A group of fifteen sixth-formers spent a week at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing a brand new play, Academy of Risk, which was written by cube essential theatre’s Benjamin Symes especially for the company. The show was an enormous success, with great reviews and good audience numbers which far exceeded the Fringe average all week.

Drama at Truro School - Academy of Risk - Dress Rehearsal in the Burrell Theatre

Drama students performing Academy of Risk

Miss Egar, our Director of Drama, reports that it was a highly enriching and stimulating experience – as well as being an enormous amount of fun. The students gained a strong insight into the reality of living and working as a professional company and we hope to repeat the process on a biennial basis for future drama students.

Parent Communication Group

Last year I invited parents to be part of a communications working group to meet with me once each half term. I am very grateful to the group of eight parents who acted as critical friends over the course of the year. The meetings were informal and constructive and I very much valued the feedback. I set up a ‘waiting list’ of those parents who asked to be involved and I will reconstitute a new party to pick up the baton this year. If you are interested and can commit to six, hour-long meetings over the coming year (or perhaps in a year’s time), please email me on headmaster(@truroschool.com) to let me know.
I am mindful that it’s not always easy for parents from the further flung corners of the Duchy to get into school for events. So, we plan to come to you! Last term we hosted what was the first of a series of regional drinks parties for parents. The Carbis Bay Hotel was our first venue which was lovely. We will be hosting more of these events in a variety of areas over the next academic year.

New Teachers

This term we welcome several new teachers into the Common Room. I interviewed each one of them and, as a group, I would sum them up as young, talented and inspiring: James Chew, Physics; Tracey Edmonds, English; Michael Forrester, Religious Studies; Jasmine Husband, English; Melissa MacLeod (back from her round the world travels), Maths; Felicity Malla, Psychology; Tara Metcalfe, Chemistry; Claire Nineham, History; and Claire Tresidder, Business Studies and Games.

Important Announcements

There are some housekeeping matters where I would appreciate your support. The first is school uniform. The look of our school and our pupils carries a powerful message and it is important that they take pride in their appearance. We will shortly be announcing some exciting changes to our school uniform to be implemented in a year’s time. Please encourage your daughters and sons to wear their uniform well. Regulations are printed in pupil planners for the avoidance of doubt.
Secondly, as regards mobile phones, during academic lessons, teachers may allow pupils to use mobile phones and other hand-held devices in classrooms for specific educational purposes. Similarly, students may use such devices in the library and Sixth Form common room. Other than that they need to be put away and out of sight so as not to be a distraction to the teaching and learning environment.
I understand that many of our parents may be vying with colleagues for time off during school holidays and that this can sometimes be difficult. However, our holidays are long and our terms are short and highly concentrated.
For the helpful functioning of the school and to ensure staff can make the most of every school day, please do not to take students out of school during term time. If it is absolutely necessary, please write to Mr Nick Fisher, Deputy Headmaster (naf@truroschool.com) who has an academic overview of the whole school and can assess, realistically, the repercussions of any particular absence.
It’s sad to say but, from time to time, pupil belongings have gone missing from our site. We are an open site and Trennick Lane is a public road. Bags and belongings must not be left at school overnight because we cannot guarantee their safety. Please note that personal belongings are not covered by a school insurance policy. Finally, in the interest of pupils’ safety, please do not turn around or pick up/drop off pupils outside the Old Sports Hall as it is heavily used by the School’s minibuses.

Looking Ahead

We look forward to a busy term ahead. The first weekend of term, 5/6 September, will be packed with events for both former pupils and current Truro School families. Please consult the calendar and website for details but there are sports matches between former pupils and School on Saturday. On Sunday morning you are all invited to come along to share in the special service in the school chapel and an afternoon of Theatre and Jazz. Entry is free and I would encourage you to come to school to be a part of it.
A year ago, I sent all parents a copy of the Truro School and Truro Prep Strategic Plan 2014-2020. I am very pleased with the progress we are making against the plan and in the coming half term, I will write to you and others who are interested in the future of our school about how we are doing.
I look forward to welcoming everyone back to school for the new year and to meeting many of you in the coming term at one or other school event.

Best wishes,
Andrew Gordon-Brown