Mr Eyre, our new Executive Headteacher, delivered the following speech to year 6 children who are starting Huntcliff in September and their parents during the second transition day, the evening of Thursday 9th July:
Good evening, and a warm welcome to parents, carers and the new intake of Huntcliff students. I feel very honoured, and privileged to be welcoming you to this fantastic school and beginning the journey with you. Like you, I will be a new starter in September. Like you, I am the “new kid”. You will certainly as a result be a special year group for me as you will move through the school and will expect me to work hard for you, and always do my best; I will expect no less from you. No doubt you are all full of uncertainties and anxieties about how you will begin, what you will experience, and ultimately what you will learn from this school.
What we can promise you is an unswerving dedication from a talented group of staff and students who believe passionately in giving the very best opportunities to all of the young people within our school, and also you as parents and carers. This will be regardless of your own individual pathway until this point. Some of you may welcome the opportunity for a fresh start. We all make mistakes, and how we learn from these is extremely important.
Everyone one of the students in our school has special education needs. They are special as they are an individual and we will work with each and every one of you to do our utmost to bring out the very best of your potential, and shine a light into a future that perhaps you didn’t even know existed.
We already know we are a good school, and provide fantastic academic outcomes for students, consistently some of the best in the area. However, we are not here just for results, but also to educate the whole person. Results alone do not make for a successful future, but also a person’s mindset, their characteristics and how they treat others. We will refer to mindsets regularly through our conversations with you, both in the classroom and around the school; as it your mindset which is truly the driver for your own personal excellence.
The school motto is Dream, Believe, Achieve and I’d like to spend a few moments considering what this really looks like:
Dream: to imagine what is possible. To be unlimited in your thoughts for an unknown future. In many ways this is what people would refer to as aspirations, but aspirations are often already damaged by experience. The joy of a dream, is that it is free of limits, the mind is completely open to life’s possibilities. We truly feel as a school that we, in partnership with you, will be able to allow our young students to dream of a future. As we all know now, the jobs of the future are not created yet so let them dream of those jobs, and in doing so create their own future. This does not only include your sons and daughters but also you. What do you dream for them? I would imagine that for all of you that dream would factor mostly around happiness. So let us support them in realising their own dreams, which will make them happy.
Believe; to have a fundamental confidence in your own self. This, as I mentioned before is a mindset. A positive mindset. A growth mindset. A mindset in which a person, student, teacher, parent and carer is confident that with effort comes reward. It is the ability to see challenges and experiences which develop you further, and therefore bring you closer to your dreams, rather than experiences which dash your hopes. Belief is something which all too often young people, and sometimes parents can lose sight of. Belief takes practice but is knowing that you move forward and always get better. Think of all the things you could not do when you were one, five and ten which you can do now. Did you believe you could do those things? Belief is a feeling that you didn’t fail, you just aren’t quite there YET! What sets great individuals apart in life is often not their direct ability but their belief, and commitment to this belief. We have that belief in your child, and all we ask is that you have that belief too, and that together as a partnership between us we continually develop that belief.
Achieve; Achieve is to reach a goal and it is a fantastic feeling. It develops belief, but tends to shift dreams so that a new goal arises. With a dream and belief, achievement tends to follow when backed up with determination and self-discipline. All of these characteristics are individual, and ones that can be developed. They are not natural and fixed but are always moving forwards. Achievement comes in many forms. It may be the ability to confidently speak in public. It may be reaching an A* in French, or a C in maths. It may be scoring a goal on the hockey pitch or clearing a personal best in the high jump. The only thing to be sure about is that achievement comes after effort, and is realised by reaching a goal that required struggle and commitment.
What can you expect from us as a school? To be a supportive place, one in which the door is always open to you all, allowing us to discuss you and your child’s dreams, beliefs and achievements; allowing us all to work together to ensure that as these wonderful young people, brimming with potential, move on from Huntcliff to a very bright and happy future. To do this we need you to accept your responsibility as parents and carers in this, and ours as teachers and staff at Huntcliff. For our students to learn we have to accept that we are all learners always learning and model this for them. This is a phrase that you and the staff will all no doubt hear from me several times. Our learning journey does not start and end in school but is constant and makes us all better at understanding the world around us and each other, and most importantly, to be able to support others in doing the same thing. I think it is just as important that we as staff continue to learn, and that you as parents and carers continue to learn; so don’t be surprised when you receive invitations to come into school and learn new things yourself.
Before you go tonight, on your chair is a postcard. We would dearly love you to write the name of your son or daughter on the top of it, and then YOUR dreams for them below that and hand it to us. And let’s see where we get to in five years time!
So, thank you for being here and investing that commitment in your sons and daughters. We hope that you will dream, believe and achieve together with us.