One of the wonderfully distinctive features of our School community is the rich reservoir of goodwill that we are able to draw upon from people who care about the School’s development. A great example of this was the very impressive Careers Convention hosted in our Old Sports Hall on Wednesday. For a start, the sheer number of industries and careers that were represented was excellent, but what was really heartening was that those representatives were largely comprised of former pupils, current parents, former parents and even prospective parents. Our ability to tap into this generosity is of huge benefit to our students as they begin to negotiate their way towards the job market a few years hence. I am very grateful to all of those who gave up their time to be with us.
A recent piece of research has just been published by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and supported by Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring entitled A comparison of Academic Achievement in Independent and State Schools. In summary, the report reveals that attending an independent school in England is associated with the equivalent of two additional years of schooling by the age of 16. You can read more on the report here: http://www.isc.co.uk/media/3140/16_02_26-cem-durham-university-academic-value-added-research.pdf
My observation in a nutshell is that this can be explained by the many intangibles of a good education. We are intensely interested in both the development of character and the achievement of excellent academic results. The two are inter-dependent, so children who develop personal skills and qualities – in short character – are better equipped to go on and achieve their academic potential. Central to our mission at Truro School is to recognise that qualifications and personal qualities go hand in hand. I observed a terrific example of this when I attended the ACHE banquet last night for students of the Lower Sixth who were awarded their ACHE peer counselling qualifications. I am convinced that our ACHE programme which develops the servant leadership ability of our senior students is one of the defining features of the Truro School Sixth Form. It empowers our Sixth Form students to set the tone in the School as regards how people treat each other, and also builds great internal capacity for our Sixth Form students to deal with the pressures that they face and the important decisions they have to make.
Another key aspect of teenage character development is to arm our students with the information and the resilience to make the right choices as regards drugs and so called ‘legal highs’. We have a highly recommended speaker with us on Monday talking to our 5th Year and Sixth Form students. Parents of these year groups have also been invited to come to the Chapel at 7pm on Monday evening to hear a version of the talk designed for mums and dads. An ongoing dialogue at home and at school is so important.
With one week until the Easter holidays I hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.
Andrew Gordon-Brown, Truro School Headmaster