Year 7 playing rugbyIt has been brilliant to welcome all of our students back to school this week; the sun has shone, there have been smiles everywhere and the vibrancy and happiness of our school community have been tangible.

It is a moment to think about the year ahead. I have been talking in assemblies this week about potential, and the potential that is within each and every one of our young people. I have emphasized that school is about developing a wide range of skills and gaining a broad spectrum of knowledge and that they all have the potential to thrive. I have also talked about each of them identifying a particular talent, ability or aptitude that they have and maximizing it. We are all particularly good at something but to tap into this potential requires commitment, resilience and determination. I have said to them that, at the start of a school year, they should not be afraid to be ambitious, to be the very best that they can be and to set themselves targets; sometimes they will achieve the target but at other times the process of working towards it may take them in other directions, perhaps surprise them and be just as worthwhile.

I would like to say a big “well done” to all of the students who have joined us over the past week. Our new Year 7 students have created a fantastic impression around the school and done so very well; equally, we have welcomed a large number of students who have joined our Sixth Form in Year 12 and a number of other students who joined other year groups. It is great to have them all as members of the Wallingford School community.

As ever in school, it is going to be a busy year. We look forward to welcoming families back onto the school site much more which is something we have missed - much more to come about events and activities as the year develops. Our building projects continue – we currently have four on the go! – and the new teaching block is scheduled for completion next summer.

As I write, the weather is cooling a little, routines are being established and the potential of 2021-22 is all around us.

Year 12 art student Year 12 art student