Live like a rhino!

It’s always a joy to celebrate the numerous achievements and endeavours of our young people as they together make the most of their opportunities in diverse aspects of school life. In Tuesday's assembly, I will highlight successes in sport, music, Young Enterprise, charity, Chemistry Olympiad and Greenpower. I will also award Golden Rhino badges to those who have made the best contribution to their Ivy House groups, as selected by their peers. Yes, Golden Rhino!

Ivy House is a 20-week course in self-awareness and leadership, which encourages our Year 12 pupils to create extraordinary lives. Alongside units such as ‘My Learning’, ‘My Behaviour’, My Confidence’ and ‘My Relationships’ is one called ‘My Inner Rhino’, where pupils are challenged to take 100% ownership of their lives, behaving like determined and independent rhinos rather than going with the herd of cows! Now, I imagine most of us would prefer to meet a cow rather than a rhino in a dark alley, yet this isn’t about aggressive behaviour but about courage.

There are also numerous learnings in Ivy House about how we treat others and react to situations. We are encouraged to ‘stay above the line’ in discussions (rather than arguments) and to understand that Event + Behaviour = Result. I.e. it’s the way we react to situations which can lead to a positive rather than negative outcome. And, knowing that ‘we can’t change others, we can only change ourselves’, also requires a certain humility.

At the end of the course, pupils download their action plans and complete an evaluation. Here are a couple of the comments this year:

“I have become much more confident in meeting new people, and I think that it has helped me to grasp many opportunities that I previously would not have taken advantage of. I have learnt that I should do what I think is best, and be a rhino, instead of being a cow and following the herd. I have begun to curate and perfect my pitch, which has helped me to form new connections more easily, and I have learnt that effective behaviour is much better than aggressive or avoidant behaviour.”

“I've been much more aware of the actions that I choose to do and the consequences they have. I am trying my best to talk to more people... as many as possible. The section on 100% ownership has encouraged me to try to take the more mature approach - never be too proud to apologise for a mistake. This has taken me a long way. I hope that the changes I've made throughout the Ivy House award will re-work my brand into exactly what I want it to be. I have much more respect for myself, too!”

As Year 11 go off on study leave next week, we wish them every success and the courage and inner confidence that enables them to take control of their learning and outcomes.

Best wishes to you and family for the bank holiday weekend,

John Watson

Headmaster and Principal

Term dates:

You will find attached the term dates for 2025-26, which will also be published on the website; I hope these will enable you to plan ahead. As it is our duty to maximise a child’s time in education, please note that permission for holidays during term-time will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.