Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Not fooling ourselves

Not fooling ourselves


We had a couple of laughs on April Fools’ Day. Mercifully (in my view), the students seemed too tired to dream up any spectacular scams. On the staff side, however, we managed in three assemblies to wind up almost half the students (before they remembered the date) with a proposal that the school day should start at 8.10 am from next term. Meanwhile our droll Bursar certainly got some of the staff going with a radical proposal for parking charges at school, the alternative of free parking at the Regent Centre, and all being required to fill in a Special Parking Or Other Facilities form (SPOOF).

Well, at the end of term we always need a few smiles.

But the April Fools were the only foolish activities we’ve seen recently: education is a serious business. Actually, at the RGS we (teachers and students alike) have a lot of fun along the way, but that is because the basic, solid hard work is being put in day in, day out.

Our students are highly motivated (well, nearly all the time!): they know that it is hard work, not sheer talent, that makes success. To be sure, they are a very bright and talented bunch: but everyone here understands about the hard graft that is required to turn a gift into success. In my end-of-term letter I included a link to a list we compiled (quite quickly, so there may be things and people missed) of achievements in competitions of all sorts over the first two terms of this academic year: with Senior and Junior Schools together, it fills four pages! You can read it by clicking here.

So we don’t fool ourselves: success doesn’t happen by accident. Nor do we kid ourselves that the place is perfect. We’ve carried out an extensive survey of parent, student and staff opinions during February and March: a brief analysis of the responses is also included in my end-of-term letter (to read the letter, click here). Parents and students are overwhelmingly happy with what the school offers for them. But nothing’s perfect, and there are still areas in which we want to improve: and I hope I’m open about that in my report back to parents in the letter.

The point is that we can never rest on our laurels. There is no silver bullet, no magic formula beyond these few hard facts. Achieving success needs us to bear in mind that:

Talent on its own isn’t enough

Success demands hard work, application and consistency

It also requires resilience, keeping going when things get tough

It’s no use kidding yourself about missing out any of the above: you can’t!

But now it’s the Easter holiday. This last week has certainly felt like one too many, and everyone is very tired. So even exam candidates need to give themselves some time off over this coming weekend, hope for a bit of better weather and get out into the sunshine. And, even through the revision period, exercise and fresh air are needed. It’s all about finding a balance - and that is individual to each of us.

I wish everyone a good one!

Bernard Trafford

Headmaster