Head’s Blog

10 May 2024

And at last, the sun has appeared from behind the clouds and summer has arrived.

I’m always feeling conflicted at this time of year.  Of course, it’s simply glorious to wake up to sunshine and enjoy the lighter evenings but part of me, in June and July, wants it to be cooler for all those students who are in examination halls.

And exams are upon us. Our Year 11s have risen to them with poise and grace and, judging by the calm exteriors outside the exam hall, are ready for anything those pristine question papers may offer. I know, naturally, that they are fluttering like mad underneath but they are ready, they are well prepared and now they just need to show how good they are.

My mind turns also at this time of year to the summer that I first arrived when those preparing for public examinations were thwarted from taking them and from engaging in the rites of passage that we hold so dear. Last Friday we said goodbye, or rather au revoir, to year 11 who departed on study leave. A glorious assembly full of warmth and joy demonstrated the best of our school. The hilarious sketches where staff said goodbye to the Year 11s who roared at every one, the Service assembly for Year 13 where student after student came up to collect certificates which recognised the wide variety of ways in which our pupils give back to our school, running clubs, activities, lending a helpful ear to others, supporting sport, music, drama and, above all, leading the learning. Four years ago our year 13 pupils were celebrated only by socially distanced staff clapping them down the drive.  Never did we realise how much we would appreciate normality when it returned.

The assemblies and gatherings remind us that despite it being examination season our pupils, your children, are so much greater than a collection of numbers. They are interesting and interested young people who are outward looking, forward thinking with evidence-based opinions who are world ready. There are many pupils new to our school who are quite possibly taking examinations for the first time, as well as those who are taking them for the twentieth. Please let us never make it about the outcome of exams; it is about the process of learning, the experimentation and the understanding of what we did and how we can improve it next time – because there is always a next time.  And, finally, the passion for an aspect of knowledge – whether it’s the joy of prime numbers, the lyric of a poem, the curve of an experiment or the lighting of a stage.  Creating an environment and opportunities where every child can shine is at the heart of our school.  Whether it’s in the examination hall or the athletics field, the music hall or the stage, I hope you enjoy everything the summer has to offer at OHS and remember how lucky we are to be able to do it at all.

Ad Lucem,

Mrs Gardiner Legge

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