Head’s Blog

Head’s Blog

Tuesday 27th June

We are in the midst of the traditional end of term events at Stoke. This week the senior pupils are currently following a special timetable for the Arts Festival, which culminates in our Gala Concert tomorrow night at 7 pm in the Sports Hall.

The theme of the Arts Festival is British Values; Global Identity expressed through singing, playing instruments, dancing and art. The students have worked in mixed age groups with each team focussing on one of the four core values: Democracy, respect for the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for all faiths and none.

The final art pieces will be displayed in the PAB at the end of the festival and parents will be able to view these as part of the Gala as well as on Speech Day next week.

Last Friday was a fantastic day for Stoke too. After the washout of last year it was great to have near-perfect weather for our Sports Day. A great deal went into organising the day, led by the Games staff and supported by the maintenance staff, the catering staff and the academic staff too.

Particularly popular was Mrs Burchell’s Pimms (and Elderflower Cordial!) tent, which at times threatened to blow away in the breeze. It was impressive to see drinks served by one hand whilst the other held the gazebo firmly to the ground!

I am sure all parents would support Mrs Burchell’s compliment to the children on their manners and absolute politeness when getting refreshments. She noted that they also made sure they put their empties back in the correct place (unlike Glastonbury!)

Well done to the Unicorns for being the final winners of the day but the determination and participation was there to see from all the athletes. The Year 5 tug-of-war was particularly competitive! We are lucky to have such a beautiful setting to hold such an uplifting yet traditional day.

The PTA Summer Barbecue is on Friday from 6:30 pm. We are holding it in the Quadrangle by the Performing Arts Block where the Prep School Garden Party was held before half term. It is a lovely setting and we hope as many families as possible will be able to come. Tickets can be bought on the night so don’t worry if you haven’t been able to buy in advance.

Head’s Blog

As we enter the last four weeks of the academic year, we are very much in the middle of the GCSE examination season. The Year 11s have overcome their pre-exam nerves and have settled in to a routine of revision and performance. Staff are continuing to support them in their revision and anyone who needs extra help should feel they can contact staff at any time.

Our Year 10s will be out tomorrow for a week’s work experience at Cambridge University. They will be experiencing a number of areas of operations in this world-class organisation, currently ranked the fifth best university in the world, and will get a genuine taste of adult working life.

The developments and refurbishments at Stoke are progressing well, with the Stable Block conversion nearing completion. In addition, the Library and Chinese Room will be restored over the summer to provide our Sixth Form with space to both study and socialise.

We are completing our staff recruitment for next year over the coming fortnight and will be in touch with parents before the end of term with a complete update.

The past few weeks have been extraordinarily unsettled for us as a country but at such times all parents feel a determination to ensure that their children’s lives remain happy and secure. We are very aware of this at Stoke and whilst we will of course continue with the routine of school life and the special events of the summer term, there is something more that underpins our work. It is a determination and belief that the education we are providing both nurtures children as they grow and prepares them with the knowledge, skills and personal qualities they will need for their future lives.

Head’s Blog

Study leave has started! Our Year 11s gave a farewell assembly on Wednesday and on Friday staff were invited to the Performing Arts Block. We were treated to a farewell tea from the students and shared a nostalgic moment watching a slideshow of their years at Stoke. It was a lovely occasion and I am sure the students will treasure the memories of their time here for many years to come.

This week, of course, it is very much back to business. We have the first English GCSE examination tomorrow, followed by a busy week of further examinations before we break for half term. Year 11s are welcome to be in school when they don’t have examinations, if they wish to revise here, but should remember to sign in and out from reception so that we know who is on site.

It promises to be another busy week for visitors too. A lot of prospective pupils have been visiting over the past 10 days and this will continue into next week. It is a very positive time for the school and we are delighted that so many more families are becoming aware of what Stoke can offer for their children.

Two key dates to note for this week. Tomorrow is the first day of summer dress code and Friday we hold our Prep School Garden Party at 2:30pm. The weather will match the occasion with high temperatures forecast but do please make sure your children put on sun cream in the morning and bring some to school so that they can reapply during the day.

Stoke grounds are strikingly beautiful in the Spring.

Head’s Blog

The main GCSE examinations are fast approaching and Year 11 will go on study leave this Thursday. However, this didn’t stop them showing their strong support for the school on Saturday, giving up some of their precious time to be guides for our Open Morning.

We are very grateful to them and to all the pupils who came in to help (as well as to parents for driving them in too). We had an extremely busy day. Between 150 and 200 visitors were welcomed to the College, many of them discovering for the first time just what a wonderful place our school is.Read More

Head’s Blog

Picture: Our Knights of the Road (Deputy Head Mr Jaina & Ed in Year 11) came to the rescue this week.

In the 1980s Nissan arrived in England and brought with them the Japanese concept of Kaizen – improvement by small steps. The idea is that as an organisation you don’t make the most progress by implementing one great change but by everyone in the firm focusing on contributing small improvements regularly. Today, the Nissan plant in Sunderland is amongst the most efficient in Europe and the chaos of British car manufacturing in the 1970s is a distant memory.Read More

Head’s Blog

Saturday 29th April

We have welcomed two new starters, one to Prep and another to our Senior School as we begin the summer term. Both are settling in well and seem to be enjoying life at Stoke. It has been very good to hear the same experience also reflected by so many parents in the past few days. Stoke has had a transformative effect on many children.

We are very proud of the unique relationships between pupils and staff at Stoke and realise we work in a very privileged environment. The cooperation in and outside the classroom is second to none and for teachers it is wonderful to be able to share the passion we have for our subjects and to meet with such enthusiastic responses from our pupils.Read More

Head’s Blog

Sunday 26th March

Following on from the highly entertaining Prep School production, this past week saw the Senior School take its turn with the musical ‘Olivia!’. It was great to see such a good audience for both nights at the Haverhill Arts Centre. I know that all the parents who came to see their children act and sing were extremely proud. We are lucky to have so many children who are so artistically talented and see them work together to put on such an entertaining evening.

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Head’s Blog

Sunday 19th March

It’s good to be sitting here writing the blog whilst looking out on what has been an unexpectely lovely spring day. The sun shone and the daffodils in the grounds are in full bloom. It marks the turn of a really positive time for the school.Read More

Head’s Blog

Saturday 11th March

The highlight of the week has to have been the hatching of the chicks! Amidst all the major events of school life the emergence of new-born chicks from their eggs created huge interest and excitement. It was wonderful to see the sheer delight and curiosity of the Prep School children as they raced in each morning to find out what progress there had been overnight.Read More

Head’s Blog

Saturday 4th March

Having just returned from the British Boarding Schools Workshop in Heathrow yesterday evening, I am now with Mrs Hunn-Smith and the scholarship candidates for September 2017. All seems to be well and the pupils have started their papers relaxed and focused. It is a quiet Saturday morning and it is good to hear the Spring birdsong as well as two woodpeckers, which are also hard at work.Read More