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The importance of belonging…

National Trust? RSPB? Woodland Trust? English Heritage? I wonder if, like me, you are or have been a member of any of these organisations? It is good to belong!

One of the privileges of being Headmaster is the opportunity to belong to a number of organisations whose primary aim is to provide a broad range of exciting opportunities for our pupils.

One such organisation is The Society of Heads. This Society contains several hundred Headteachers of independent schools of all different shapes, sizes and locations. The purpose of the Society is to help support schools to provide appropriate and balanced curriculums within schools and to help schools prepare pupils for an uncertain future.

In my short tenure as Headmaster here at Kingsley, I have found the Society to be incredibly supportive and one of the most useful things the Society allows me to do is to get to know fellow Heads who, even if they are leading competitor schools, are always happy to talk about education and to share ideas about how to make our schools even more effective.

Just before Christmas, I also received the exciting news that my application to become a member of the Independent Schools Association had also been accepted. This is another organisation, largely made up of slightly smaller schools than one might expect to find in The Society of Heads, which also exists not only to support schools in what they are trying to achieve, but also provides many brilliant opportunities for our pupils to engage in a wide range of events and activities. It is through our membership of the ISA that our Chaplain and resident netball expert, Miss Timms, took a prep school netball team down to an ISA school near Teignmouth to take part in an ISA tournament earlier this week. The team did brilliantly, winning three matches, drawing one and losing just 2.

Later on this term the Prep School Choir and other musicians will also be taking part in an ISA music festival that is being hosted by St. Christopher’s School near Totnes.

We have also received information in the last couple of weeks about an ISA essay writing competition, a Shakespeare monologue competition and an Art competition and exhibition, so keep an eye on our social media streams to pick up news of future involvement in ISA events by Kingsley pupils.

Given the size of Devon and our location within the County, some of these events will require us to travel, but I think that these opportunities for our pupils are well worth the effort and the minibus miles.

We are also, as we do every term, constantly reviewing our provision of clubs and activities for our pupils. This week in senior assembly, taken by our new Head of Art, Lorayne Southam, we heard about her love for Devon and her determination to do all that she can personally to reduce her use of single-use plastics which has become a very important topic in the south west in recent weeks and months. Lorayne challenged us as a school to look to reduce our use of such plastics as much as we can and I have passed this challenge over to our School Council, which is led by Head Boy (George Robinson) and Head Girl (Eleanor Barker) to see what ideas the students can generate. Lorayne is also running an Art activity each Tuesday to design and prepare a float on the theme of “plastic oceans” for the Bideford Carnival in September, so I hope that pupils in both the prep school and the senior school will get behind her as she seeks to spread the word about reducing our use of single-use plastics.

If any parents might be in a position to help with providing a vehicle that we could use as a float, please do get in touch with me.

Have a good weekend.

Pete Last

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