On the first day of the spring term, students were joined by our new Headmaster, Mr Peter Middleton, in their morning assembly. Below you can read his welcome address…
Good morning! It is good to join you all this morning in this assembly, at the start of term, even if it is at a distance and online. For all of us, Christmas and the turning of the New Year will have been very different this year, but I hope that you feel relaxed and rejuvenated for the term ahead. I wanted to meet with you in order to introduce myself, give you a little insight into my aspirations for you and provide some perspective on the coming few weeks while we are in lock down.
I am delighted to be addressing you this morning as the Headmaster of Kensington Park School. I have been really struck by what a friendly, welcoming and academically purposeful school this is. It is my hope you will all excel individually within a community where pastoral care is paramount and the warm relationships between students and teachers are the heart of your tremendous achievements. I want to advise you of a number of key appointments that have been made over the holiday period: Ms Bunger is the Head of Sixth Form, Dr King is the Director of Studies, Mrs Neil will be teaching Geography and Ms Pan is teaching Mandarin. In addition, Mr Bradshaw has joined the Sixth Form to teach Mathematics and Ms Hodgkinson will be teaching A Level Sociology.
I am passionate about enabling you to fulfil your potential and I hope that you are excited, challenged and inspired at KPS. I know that the staff here will support you individually to gain confidence in your own ability and in the process you will discover your strengths, recognise your weaknesses and make the most of your talents. I believe at KPS, the excellence of the teaching and learning in your studies, coupled with the provision of sport, music drama and the clubs are at the heart of this School’s outstanding education. Importantly, this is only realised because they are bound together by strong community values. The community at this School is centred on each individual and the family values such as kindness, moral integrity and personal responsibility. These values are particularly important at this time of challenge and difficulty for us all.
My wish for all the students here at KPS is that you gain the confidence to aspire and work to become the best possible version of yourselves; in doing so you will flourish and achieve goals which will exceed your dreams. We are committed to preparing you for the journey of life beyond Kensington Park School, which will be without the individual and focused support of teachers, tutors, pastoral staff, coaches and mentors. I want you to take an active role in your own education, and take responsibility for it, not simply allowing others to educate you. From challenge and inspiration in the classroom to a vast range of different co-curricular activities, there is a huge breadth of opportunity available to you here. Our role is to help you to navigate these options, to make the most of every day, and to have a lot of fun along the way.
The start of term is going to look very different to what any of us had hoped for and you will be at home at least until half term with online learning. This is not what I, or any of us would have wanted and I can think of nothing better than to see you all back here enjoying your time at the school with your friends.
Your teachers have worked harder than ever to ensure that your learning can start immediately as we transition, once again, into ‘virtual KPS’. We are committed to ensuring that your education, your learning, will continue each and every day without interruption. During the last lock down, the individual and personal support of our teachers proved that the School could deliver this exceptional education at a distance. I can therefore reassure you all that I have every confidence that we will do this once again. One of the life skills we hope you will build through this period of home based, distanced learning, is an increased sense of personal responsibility for your own learning – the teachers and staff will all be playing their parts and we expect you all to do yours.
I, and all your teachers, have immense sympathy for those of you who have been working hard at school, working long evenings, working over the weekends at your books, towards public examinations – towards GCSE and A Level examinations. I know that many of you will have worked hard over the Christmas period …and then last week we heard that many of these summer exams will no longer be going ahead. At this moment, the final arrangement for the iGCSEs have not been resolved and there is the potential these examinations might still be sat. Equally, we don't yet know the arrangements by which any grades will be awarded. What is clear is that you will all need to continue to commit to your studies and some form of teacher/school based assessments will be required – possibly with ongoing testing throughout the coming two terms. We will keep you advised and informed when developments take place.
The Senior Leadership Team, your tutors and your teachers will all be checking in with you and will support you through the challenges of the coming weeks. History shows us, time and time again, that adversity brings out the very best in us. We see this demonstrated magnificently every day across the whole nation with our emergency services, our teachers, our essential food suppliers, but most of all within all those working in the NHS. It is humbling to see how many people are putting others before themselves in selfless acts of service. It is perhaps through this period of adversity that we can all begin to understand that it is a time to ‘want what we have rather’ than to ‘have what we want’. In other words, to be grateful, be safe, be brave, continue to be confident in our future, always remember those less fortunate than we are and seek to demonstrate that you are the very best possible versions of yourselves. If you need any support at all during the coming weeks then please let us know – staff are on hand to help you all.
As you know, the first vaccines are being rolled out and this provides optimism that this period will pass. When it does, then KPS will, once again, be a school in which we can mix freely and put on school plays and concerts, and do all the things that we all love so much.
I wish you all a very productive and enjoyable term – Good Luck!
Mr J P Middleton
Headmaster, Kensington Park School