It is with great sadness that I bid farewell to all at Chestnut Grove. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every minute of the last 26 years, which have been packed full of satisfaction and joy, even in the early challenging years.
The greatest source of pride has been the exceptional progress which our students have made for many years, leading not only to the Ofsted Outstanding judgement in 2008, but to continuous improvement in students’ results. These reached their best in 2013, when 74% achieved 5+ A*-C with English and Maths, and the English GCSE results were the best in the local authority.
I’ve also been very proud of the inclusive nature of our school, right up to the Sixth Form, which continues to have high expectations of all students, so that they go on to interesting and satisfying lives. This year, more and more students are confidently applying to the best universities, and that is very gratifying.
I continue to believe deeply that education can and does change lives, and I have been privileged to see this happen to thousands of young people. At the same time, these young people have been constantly diverting – often frustrating; sometimes saddening, very often funny – but always heart-lifting and interesting. What more could one want from a job?
Chestnut Grove is an outstanding school because it has outstanding staff, students parents and governors. I know you will all go on working together, under the leadership of Mr. Kingsley, as headteacher and Ms. Dumont-Barter as Chair of Governors, to build on these foundations, and to reach even greater heights.