I would like to welcome back students and staff after what was hopefully a restful half-term break. For my own part, it was not much of a break – two days of Ofsted Inspector training in London followed by a house move; the things we put ourselves through!
Some good news – just before the break, we interviewed and successfully appointed a new music specialist as an Assistant Principal for performing and creative arts. Paul Nash – a highly experienced music teacher and leader with a fantastic track record in schools – will be joining us straight after the Easter holiday. Paul effectively replaces Miss Chand who did not return from long term illness late last year but the position to which he has been appointed has been created as a more senior one – overseeing one of our two specialisms – performing arts and creative art too, across the primary and secondary phases. We look forward to Paul’s arrival in a couple of months. Following a round of interviews which also took place in the final week of term, we shall also soon be announcing a permanent replacement for English teacher, Miss Sharma. In these two areas of the curriculum we have suffered from some instability of late and an inability until very recently to find the right candidates for these critical roles. It will be good to reverse that trend and bring some much needed stability.
Ahead of us, early this term, the Trust, the EFA and our building contractors start to engage with the Whitchurch community and neighbourhood as we outline our plans for the secondary build on Whitchurch Fields. A neighbourhood consultation will take place in early March followed by a planning application in April – the committee to sit in late June. At the same time, I hope to be able to engage with the Pinner High School Trust and the hopefully soon to be appointed inaugural Headteacher of Pinner High School as we plan for the first two years of occupying the former Heathfield School site in Pinner. I have been asked by a couple of parents how the school or the Trust might support them in things such as transport to the site in Pinner – also the facilities that will be available and whether or not a visit by parents might be on the cards. To this end, to keep the communication channels open, we are publishing a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) around the whole issue of buildings and location and keeping it up to date via this blog. The first version was shared with year 8 parents at the last parents’ evening. Click here (FAQ building secondary v1.2) for the most up to date version of the FAQ. As new questions arise from parents and others, this document will be updated.
Also ahead of us this term of course is the performing arts showcase for which students have been really busy rehearsing and promises to be fantastic as ever. Year 9 can look forward to working with their mentors, with Mr. Patel who is overseeing the Options Assemblies and careers advisor, the new Head of Year 9, Mrs. Kahn as they lead up to making their final choices for GCSEs next year. I know that Mr. Patel has been working hard behind the scenes – he tells me that he has promises from the following to visit the school and present at assemblies:
- Senior Architect. Award winning Architect.
- Managing Director – IT firm. (JOSKOS)
- Senior Surgeon – Imperial
- Chief Actuary. – City Insurance Firm. (female)
- LaboratoryScientist/s – Microsoft – Hollolense – Future of Augmented reality
- Journalist – Economist.
- Civil Servant- Government Offices
- Future technologies and Artificial Intelligence researcher.
- Hotel Manager (Hospitality and Catering industry)
- Pilot – Ryan Air
- Pharmacy researcher (LAB)– GSK
It is really exciting to think that even less than three years in to the life of Avanti House, we have our first cohort of students who are really starting to think about what their first step on the career ladder might be.
Our Avanti value for reflection this term is ‘integrity‘ – the virtue of ‘being whole’ and ‘always doing the right thing’. You do not have to spend too much time flicking the channels on cable television or wading through social media networks to realise that ‘always doing the right thing’ is not the most fashionable thing in most societies just now – it certainly does not sell newspapers. To me that is all the more reason for us, as educators and parents, to not lose sight of this character trait – let’s face it, when we do chance to witness seemingly random acts of human kindness or ‘integrity’ it can render the hardest of us close to tears. I feel fairly sure that we all want to be more ‘whole’. We all want to ‘do the right thing’ more often than we do – living less by the force of habit and ‘following the crowd’. Life is not always that straightforward of course.
An inspirational, present-day Vaishnava Swami, Radhanath Swami, has this to say on the matter of integrity:
What really impresses the hearts of people are not miraculous feats – but genuine humility, integrity and a true sense of love achieved through service