Autumn Term Reflections

The last weeks of any Autumn term are characterised by festive excitement mixed with a touch of exhaustion. This term, that mixture comes from what might be described as a ‘normal’ term. It has been the first Autumn term since 2019 that the School has been able to operate at full throttle without the constraints associated with the pandemic. And what a joy it has been.

Each of you and your children will have your own highlights to cherish. For me, there has been so much to admire. This school loves its Music. The Christmas Concert showcased the breadth of talent and engagement across all year groups and in many genres. It was the latest in a line of concerts. Singing thrives too, and the Chamber and other Choirs have lit up our end of term Services, including the Nine Lessons and Carols in the Cathedral. Our Choristers continue to be world class and have sung in Westminster, St Pauls, Cambridge and Windsor, as well as, of course, here in Truro.

When combined with Drama and wider creativity, what can be achieved in the creative arts here at Truro School is breath-taking. Those lucky enough to have enjoyed Les Misérables were fortunate indeed, and all those pupils who dedicated so much time and talent to making it the spectacle it was, have a memory for life and a new community of friends and advocates across all age ranges in the school. There can be no better advert for getting involved in the co-curricular life of a School that offers such opportunities.

Creativity is not limited to the stage, and it was wonderful to see the artwork of pupils and staff alongside that of professional artists in our Repurpose Exhibition in the Heseltine Gallery. Our school Christmas cards this year are designed by pupils, and their work in Design and Technology enhanced the Prep School FTS Christmas Fayre, to the commendation of many. Sport and outdoor activity are also intrinsic to our School, and of a great education. As with our creative life, it is the benefit of participation and engagement that I prize so highly. The number of pupils striving for Duke of Edinburgh Award recognition is testimony to the value and respect given to positive, personal challenge in our culture.

Our Wednesday Afternoon Activities programme and clubs continue to support hundreds of different passions, interests, curiosities, and activities on a weekly basis. And our sporting life thrives. Both at an individual and team level, girls and boys dedicate time, effort and talent to each other and to their ambitions. The numbers of pupils representing our School are overwhelming. We have played over 230 fixtures this term alone. I mention just a few highlights here.

We are girls’ U18 county indoor hockey champions, and boys’ U16 county hockey champions. We are U12 county tournaments winners in rugby. The 1st XI football team and the U16 rugby teams both defeating Ivybridge for the first time ever. We are having a fantastic netball cup run, with the U15s still in two competitions. We have a cycling time trail champion, a Sixth Form boy who has qualified for the youth sailing world championships, girls in the lower and middle school who have represented Great Britain in the triathlon World Championships and medalled, and in the modern pentathlon. Our boys are the reigning national squash champions, led by the UK’s number one player for his age. We have a 2nd Year girl taking part in the Lionesses’ talent ID programme in football, and a Sixth Former who has represented England in the U18 girls’ surfing competition, securing 3rd place.

I make no apology for leading this letter with a celebration of our co-curricular life. The scale, depth and quality of opportunity for children is one of many distinguishing features of a Truro School education and I am deeply proud of all the pupils who gain so much from this, and all the staff who inspire, plan and facilitate it. Excellence at Truro School is not viewed narrowly, and I believe passionately that it can and should exist across both the curriculum and the co-curriculum. Building on the outstanding public examination results from last August, the first public examinations since Summer 2019, the intellectual life of our community is also thriving and evolving. I have seen this for myself in lessons I have visited across our full age range, and in discussion with pupils in interviews for awards and more widely. For our youngest, the accolades are real, including members of our 1st and 2nd Years winning the John Harris Society senior school creative writing competition – named after a Cornish poet. We hosted a tremendously successful academic conference for psychology students this term, and for our oldest, we look ahead to another successful year of applications to University, training and employment. Our Upper Sixth will be the first cohort to graduate after the full cycle of our Truro School Sixth Form Diploma, introduced to further empower Sixth Formers in their ambitions and to prepare them for a life of learning and achievement, not just a schooling of it.

Mock examinations have just finished for our 5th Years and will soon follow for the Upper Sixth. All you and we can do to encourage them to approach these as invaluable and helpful steps on a journey rather than judgements on potential is welcome. And striving for a learning culture and mindset that believes in the potential of growth for all is increasingly central to the educational culture of the school. The introduction of Learning Scores for the 1st to 3rd Years, built around the pedagogy of growth mindset and personal learning empowerment, inclusive of ability and needs, is part of our school journey. With the lessons we learn from this exciting change, we will be able to extend the approach to all year groups from next September. The conscious development of the skills reflected in these scores, alongside our programmes of careers advice and futures planning, complement the subject learning and wider personal development we seek to nurture across all in our school.

I do want to mention our boarders specifically at this point too. They are in many respects at the heart of our school community – resident here and drawing benefit from the pastoral, academic and wider environment for so much of their time. It has been great to see the range of activities enjoyed, including everything from pottery painting to paint balling, from German biscuit making to yoga and dog walking. The homes from home being built and the global reference points being shared in our community are invaluable, and I wish all our boarders safe passage home, and a happy Christmas when they get there. My thanks for all you do for and within our School.

Some of our boarders are instrumental in the philanthropy work of the school too. I am delighted that this is a key priority for our community, including ongoing work to support All We Can, CPR foodbank, and Shelterbox, amongst others. I was also able, this week, to hear of the gratitude at a fellow local primary school upon receipt of exactly the kind of Christmas Boxes that so many of you have donated. It matters in any year, and perhaps this year even more than some. On this topic, I must also extend a sincere and heartfelt thanks to the wider members of our community who are also, often very quietly, dedicated to serving need within and beyond the school doors. The work of the Friends of Truro School is invaluable, as is the dedication of those at the heart of the Truro School Foundation and the Truro School Association. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and extend my thanks on behalf of all those whose lives and opportunities are improved by your generosity.

At what is the end of a rather long reflection, I am reminded of just how busy and exciting this School is. We live, work, and learn in challenging times, for sure, so it is a privilege to be leading and part of this thriving and strong community, characterised by ambition and compassion. Whatever Santa and then the New Year brings, this School will continue to care for your children, and to challenge and support them to flourish in all the ways we can.

I wish you, your families, and your loved ones a peaceful and enjoyable Advent and festive season.

Yours sincerely
Mr A Johnson

Please note, the full end-of-term letter, which has been emailed to parents, also includes important information regarding staffing updates and the Fee Billing Portal. Please check your emails for details.