As I sit and reflect on one of the busiest terms, I can’t help feeling a huge sense of pride. Inevitably I will mention Les Misérables, which was outstanding. I laughed and cried along with many parents and staff in the audience. What I love about this school is not only the sense of ambition which was epitomised in the performances – Mr Cracknell and Mrs Cracknell are very clear that there is no point doing something if we are not going to challenge ourselves – but the inclusivity. There were 57 members of the cast. Every person who auditioned was on stage. The community choir were vital. The sound and lighting crew were part of the whole experience, as were those involved in make-up and administrative roles. Everyone involved, students and staff, will have memories to last a lifetime and will have learned a great deal about themselves from the experience. It was absolutely vital that everyone who wanted to be involved had a role.
This sums up what we are trying to do in all areas of school life. Every member of the community, staff and students, are encouraged to be ambitious for themselves and not settle for second best. They are also challenged to have a go at something new, even if there is a steep learning curve. Inclusivity is vital and everybody who wants to better themselves is encouraged to do so regardless of their start point.
It’s always great to hear of the achievements of top musicians, top sports players, top academics but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we are a school for every boy and every girl, as highlighted in our Good Schools’ Guide report. Students refereeing rugby matches, stage crew supporting GCSE drama events, students experiencing a debate for the first time and the many other opportunities that move students out of their comfort zone make the experience of life at Taunton School very special. I was certainly out of my comfort zone taking part in the Christmas debate last week. We never stop learning!
So, excellence and inclusivity – that is what Les Misérables highlighted to me and that is what we aim for as a school.
Have a lovely Christmas.