Summary of Activities During the Year
2019/20 was amongst the most momentous in the school’s history.
We began the year determined to deliver improvement on our key strategic imperatives of academic excellence and life skills and mental resilience.
We have continued to achieve attainment amongst the very best in the country but our progress performance in 2018/19 was impacted by inconsistency in a small number of important subjects. Governors conducted robust reviews early in 2019/20 and, working very closely with our leadership team, developed plans to take us forward. It is a frustration that the understandable yet concerning cancellation of external examinations in 2020 deprived us of the opportunity of assessing how far we have come in terms of exam performance. However, the school did take both a comprehensive and fair approach to centre assessed grades, which highlighted several areas of improvement to build on in the coming year.
We tragically lost a member of our community in the summer of 2019. This terrible event reminded us all just how fragile life is and caused everyone at the school, including our Governors to redouble our efforts to identify the vulnerable and provide the highest levels of support that we can. Our school has a proud history of caring, and Governors work with our leadership team to ensure that we pursue the highest possible standards. In 2019/20 an important priority was leveraging our investment in new reporting processes and technology. We have been supporting the robust practices that the school is continuing to strengthen to help us to identify and support those in our community facing difficulties. Our intervention programme remains a key focus for everyone.
COVID-19 has of course challenged all schools in unprecedented ways. As Governors we have supported our leadership team as they have responded to that challenge. We are very thankful to our staff for the highly diligent and professional approach that they have taken, and have been touched by the very positive comments they have had from parents on the effectiveness of our remote learning programme. We are all focused on getting the best possible education to our students, keeping them safe and especially making sure that our most vulnerable are properly supported. We also want to sustain what we learnt through the lockdown to benefit our school for the future.
Our school has a strong track record of anti-racism and of helping our children in a leafy part of Kent understand the critical importance of diversity and equality. We have, however, taken time to reflect and are reviewing and revisiting our governance, curriculum, PSHE, assembly and community programmes to ensure that they are continuing to generate clear and comprehensive messages to provide our children with a proper understanding of the many and complex issues involved.
With such fundamental issues at a global and local level we have, however, not lost our focus on all-round excellence and on our ambition to be first choice boys’ selective school in West Kent. As a community school we have been heartened by the support of our partners at KCC who have invested in us, delivering our new sports centre, maths and IT building and expanded dining facilities (all due to open later this year) and contributing, along with our families and friends to our new Sixth Form centre (due to open in 2021). In June the governing body approved a decision to proceed with a state-of-the-art new £15 million campus in Sevenoaks, aiming from 2021, to bring a high-quality grammar school education to many young people who could only previously have achieved it through long commuting journeys.
Going forward into the current academic year, we will continue to focus on our strategy of academic excellence, life skills and mental resilience. We will also continue to invest in the development and well-being of our people, continually improving technology and our learning environment, sustaining and building community relations, maintaining strong financial controls and, critically, safeguarding, both compliance and culture.
With so much change in society we will continually reassess our position on the big issues that we face.