Ground Breaking News
As we announced late last week, we are pleased to announce that, after so many years of waiting and enormous efforts behind the scenes, a groundbreaking ceremony will take place at Whitchurch fields during the afternoon this coming Monday 17th October. This ceremony, presided over by senior members of ISKCON, marks the beginning of the actual building programme. This programme aims to see delivery of the final build to the Trust and the school around June 2018. The school looks to move into the new building in September 2018.
For my own part, I am naturally thrilled to finally see our state of the art, £25 million building start to go up – and before I myself move on to a new role in January. It will be for my Principal successor and our Deputy, Nadira Morris, to work with the Trust, the EFA and the contractors, B&K, to take forward the project from here to completion.
I would personally like to thank our parents, staff and not least our eldest students – in years 10 and 11 – for their incredible patience and resolve, since before 2012. I think it says so much about Avanti House that the overwhelming majority of these families have stood by the school and the Trust in spite of all the moves and other challenges.
The daytime, groundbreaking event; an auspicious occasion to be held at Whitchurch Fields, will be attended by members of ISKCON and members of the Trust joined by our Deputy Principal and we thought appropriately our longest-serving staff and eldest students – those in years 10 and 11. Many of the parents of years 10 and 11, will also join the delegation, by invitation only.
We look forward to keeping you up to date on developments as the building starts to take shape.
Sixth Form Launch
After the fast-approaching half term break, we look forward to the official launch of our planned provision for the school’s sixth form which is due to open its doors, initially in Pinner, in September 2017. As family and friends will know, we made an early appointment of an Assistant Principal (Head of Sixth Form) this September, a year in advance of the opening of the provision. This position went internally to Paul Nash. Paul, alongside our Deputy, Nadira, has been working closely with our own year 11 as well as Governors, members of the Trust and a resident consultant adviser on early thinking around the curriculum and other post-16 matters. A draft curriculum offer has been circulated to parents and year 11 students and on November 24th, Paul will officially launch the offer and issue the prospectus to both internal students and those who might be interested in joining Avanti House from other schools. Avanti House School is a specialist mathematics and performing arts school and whilst there are real strengths in these areas, as there are in allied subjects such as English and the sciences, the sixth form offer will be a broad based one – including also humanities, creative arts, computing, economics and languages courses. We look forward on 24th November, to sharing our plans and the work being done behind the scenes with Universities, local businesses and other sectors, in the run up to opening the sixth form.
Open Mornings and Principal Appointment
Alongside my Deputy these past three weeks, I have had the real privilege of showing around dozens of parents of prospective students, currently in year 6. All have left the building saying wonderful things about the school – seeing it in action is always so much better than an Open Evening. These visits continue this week but of course, the deadline date for year 6 into 7 applications is 31st October 2016; so after half term, and whilst we always welcome visitors, applications will have to have been with the local authority.
One of the most frequent questions I am naturally asked at the moment, is exactly when parents are due to hear about a new Principal appointment. To be clear, the appointment of a Principal for the secondary school (and a separate substantive Principal for the primary – the two are set to de-merge early in 2017) is entirely in the hands of the Avanti Schools Trust. They have been busy on both counts and whilst interviews have taken place, no suitable candidate has yet been found for either position. The post of primary Principal is just about to be advertised for a second time and another round of interviews for the post of secondary Principal is to take place this coming Friday. As and when appointments are actually made, existing parents will be informed immediately and the news will be posted on the school website. As indicated in an earlier blog, contingency plans are being drawn up for a consultant-supported internal, interim solution were there not to be a successful candidate appointed as Principal of the secondary school, for January.
Respect and Humility in Leadership – a Reflection
I wish all our families and friends an enjoyable half term break and festival of Diwali – which we shall be celebrated upon our return from half-term. As a reflection this week and mindful of the exposure we all seem to be facing in the media just now – I leave you with a reflection on respect and humility – and particularly its importance in leadership; an inspiring quote from a wonderful teacher, speaker, writer and spiritual leader, His Holiness Radhanath Swami. All who aspire to lead others – at any level – could do much worse than take heed of his words.