We are already a month into the new school year and it seemed like the right time to say hello and to also reflect upon how the busy term was unfolding. It has been an extremely positive start to the year and I have enjoyed experiencing the many different elements of BGS that make it such a special place.
I will talk about the various aspects of my role, for example the operational running of the School and overseeing the development of Sixth Form life, in more detail in subsequent blogs. For now, I just wanted to offer you a taste of how the term has been for me so far and nod to a few future plans.
I have very much enjoyed watching our young people taking part in school co-curricular activities and I have so far been able to watch some BGS rugby, netball and hockey amongst other pursuits. It is always great to observe so many of our pupils representing the School and it is testament to the commitment of the staff here that so many different fixtures can be organised on a weekly basis. Last Sunday I was able to spend some time at the inaugural BGS U11 Invitational Festival of Rugby.
It was lovely to see so many children from a wide variety of clubs in the region taking part and a number of my colleagues who had already been busy with school sport for most of the Saturday were involved in running the tournament. BGS continues to work with other schools, state and independent, in the region on a wide range of projects and we really are fortunate at the School that there are so many staff willing to go that extra mile to create such opportunities for young people.
It has also been great to meet some old friends, and make some new ones, at our alumni event in London earlier in September. The purpose of the event was to bring the School and its alumni even closer together and to explore new ways in which opportunities for our students can be generated.
The evening was a great success and the School has already started to benefit from some of the connections made that evening; an Old Bradfordian is currently developing opportunities for work experience for current students at a City firm, as well as placements for those who have graduated from BGS. Another Old Bradfordian is returning to the School in late November to help with Oxbridge practice interviews. We greatly value, and never take for granted, the ongoing support of our alumni. I will discuss the School’s plans for bridging the gap between graduate opportunity and employability by utilising our Old Bradfordians and BGS’s Careers programme in more detail at a later date.
I have also recently been able to spend some time here at the School with Old Bradfordians. Last Saturday I hosted a reunion lunch at BGS and was able to watch the 1st XV rugby match afterwards in the company of some fascinating alumni. One individual had been awarded an Oxford Blue in Rugby and another had travelled all the way from Portsmouth to attend the event. Many of them regularly meet up throughout the year and a sizeable group were all members of the undefeated 1st XV rugby squad from the 1973-74 season.
It was wonderful to hear them reminiscing about their time at the School and to hear the amusing anecdotes that were still so clear in their minds. They spoke not only with real fondness about their BGS years, in particular howling with laughter at some of the end of season reports in The Bradfordian publication, but also with a little trepidation when recounting tales about the Headmaster and the Second Master during that era. I would like to think that Dr Hinchliffe and I will not be spoken about similarly in a few years!
Beyond my role as Deputy Head, I have really enjoyed getting up and running with my Year 8 Mathematics teaching. They are a lovely group and it took no time at all to establish our weekly baking rota – twice a week the pupils take it in turns to bring into school some treats, which are given out at the end of the lesson. So far we have enjoyed the results of some fantastic home cooking, as well as some supermarket goodies. Fortunately it is a few more weeks until it is my turn, so I have a bit of time before needing to decide upon what to bring in. At the moment, brownies seem to be the favourite!
Many pupils, parents and colleagues have asked me how the School has changed since I left in the summer of 1995. In terms of the School’s facilities, there has certainly been a tremendous development of the site and BGS now has some of the finest teaching facilities in the country. One of the crown jewels has to be the newly refurbished Library facility which was formally opened this year and I do make an effort to pop by when I can to take advantage of its calm surroundings!
What has not changed is the culture of high aspiration that exists within the School for its young people and BGS continues to have their best interests at heart. The uniform has changed as have some of the day-to-day routines but many of the BGS traditions, for example a long lunch break for co-curricular activities and a chance to unwind and most importantly refuel, still endure. As I conclude this first chapter of my blog, beautiful Yorkshire sunshine streams through my office window and thoughts also drift to how we will get on in the rugby against Woodhouse Grove at the weekend – some things never change!
“What has not changed is the culture of high aspiration that exists within the School for its young people and BGS continues to have their best interests at heart.”