Changing of the Guard

I have been typically and happily very busy this week with a variety of headmagisterial tasks, and two of my highlights have been discussions or interviews with our most senior pupils.

We have reached the point in the year when our current prefects in Year 13 hand over to a new group of pupil leaders in Year 12, as the former prepare to depart for study leave and examinations. I have therefore had an ‘exit’ discussion with the outgoing senior prefects, asking them both to summarise what they have most appreciated or benefited from in their time at LGS and to give frank views on what we could do better to improve pupils’ experience. With Mr Hunt, Head of Sixth Form, I have also interviewed candidates for the new team.

In short, I have been hugely impressed by the calibre, thoughtfulness, positivity and attitudes of these very fine young adults. Not only do they make a big difference in their service to our school community, but they will be generous world-changers when they leave us – as indeed all our children can be. They are a great credit to their parents and to their school!

Our outgoing group spoke very positively about the strength of our community, the culture of learning, the development of the whole person, the range of opportunities, the support given to individuals, the response to student voice, the interaction between year groups and the school’s willingness to consider new things. They rebutted any suggestion from outsiders that we were an academic ‘hothouse’ yet emphasised how important it was for teachers to reassure and encourage hardworking pupils who felt they were at ‘the lower end’ of what is already an academically selective environment. They were also keen to ensure that pupils felt it was safe to report concerns and that school council should remain an active and engaged body.

Our new prefects have been selected on the basis of an application, peer and staff votes, and interview for the senior prefect team. Those interviewed are enjoying diverse aspects of school life and often already acting as mentors for younger pupils, not only through student support but also informally in their various activities. They understood very well what it meant to be a leader, to be a role-model and a ‘bridge’ between the pupils and the staff. A key word, used on numerous occasions, was ‘approachability’ - both for younger pupils and their peer group.

How proud I am to be working with a bunch of young people who fill me with such hope for the future!

Best wishes,

John Watson