A quick glance back at all of the blogs now stored under the info tab at the top of the homepage tells me that this is the thirteenth and last of the term. The titles of these suggest that I may have strayed somewhat from the appropriately formal beginning, headed “A New School Year”, to a rather looser focus epitomised by my last entry, “The True Meaning of Sweaters”. One of the blessings and curses of my role is that nobody has yet seen fit to exercise any editorial control over these pieces, (blessing for the writer, curse for the reader), and I would ask that, should anyone be reading this, you consider emailing me your comments lest I am tempted to repeat the exercise next term firstname.lastname@example.org .
This one is particularly difficult to judge as I am also writing an end of term letter containing more factual reportage and we are also compiling a newsletter to distribute at the end of term. In addition to this, an unrelenting sequence of events is about to occur (Carol Service, Presentation Evening and a series of Christmas meals for all sectors of the community) any one of which would make a suitable subject where it not for the fact that it was happening too late. Without a specific event to anchor the piece and with much that is newsworthy receiving coverage elsewhere, what remains is to look further back over what I believe to have emerged as the main theme of the term.
When Fulston Manor opened in the late 1970s it was a high quality 11-16 high school. There was no Sixth Form, students in the main studied CSEs because “O” levels were done at the grammar schools and the establishment fitted neatly into the selective system in operation within Kent. Since then we have developed a Sixth Form of well over 200 students, all our KS4 students take the same range of exams as their grammar school counterparts and over 50 students a year enter universities of their choice. Although the selective system still exists, Fulston Manor has become a school to which children of all abilities can attend secure in the knowledge that whatever their ambitions we can help them to be fulfilled. Our problem now is not whether we can meet the ambitions of our students, it is whether the ambitions of our students can be made to reflect their abilities and the chances that lie within their reach.
Every one of our students is capable of astonishing things and the challenge that lies ahead of us all is in enabling them to recognise the potential within them and the astounding opportunities that exist for each of them. Whilst pausing to reflect upon a term enriched by pirates and parrots and moustaches and nonexistent bats and all night radio shows, this last blog of the term is, above all, a chance to recognise not how far we have come but how much farther there is still to go. I am, of course, immensely proud of what has been achieved by everybody, but what is truly exciting is what is still to come. I just have the feeling that 2012 is going to be something very special indeed and, lovely as I am sure Christmas will be, am bursting with impatience to start next term to see where it will take us all (which will be, of course, to wherever we want to go.)