The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you

Although only in post a term, I have been so impressed with the perseverance and ‘joie de vivre’ that the students have demonstrated since returning to the Castle. It is a privilege to be able to summarise what has been an extraordinary year and an unprecedented academic adventure.

Hatherop Castle is a place where exploration, creativity and wholesome learning come together to create vibrant and nurturing educational journeys. I have witnessed fearless minds and open hearts, and where a love of learning is shared at every turn, inspiring every child to be confident, inquisitive and above all, themselves. Here, there is a culture in which all are encouraged to take risks in every area of their school life and support each other when they occasionally, inevitably, fail. Hatherop students glean that essential learning as much from their errors, as from their achievements.

The individuality of the pupils has shone through in our results and the academic outcomes continue to flourish. 13+ Academic Scholarships have been awarded at Malvern College and we were all absolutely delighted with Hatherop Castle’s first Academic Scholarship to Abingdon School. It was an incredibly selective process with several stages and interviews and the dedication, perseverance and encouragement of the staff and student were outstanding. It has been so refreshing to be part of a school community where every child can reach their potential, whatever their strength. Along with being academically challenged and stimulated in the curriculum we offer, feedback from school interviews has stressed how impressive our students’ general knowledge has been and how articulate and astute their manner. Places offered for Year 9 include to Magdalen College School, Cheltenham College, Abingdon, Millfield, St Edwards and Marlborough to name but a few. All students in Prep 8 have been offered places at their preferred schools, and, if appling for a scholarship, have been awarded one. This is an outstanding record to have achieved and maintained.

It is also worth mentioning that many of our pupils are offered impressive places which, for whatever reason, are not taken forward. These include to the highly competitive grammars such as Pates, along with Radley, Cheltenham Ladies College, Bryanston, Marlborough and Westonbirt. Our CE results this year showed great gains in the percentage of students achieving A and B grades from 93 to 95% for English, 79 to 85% for Physics and an incredible 93 to 100% for Biology. For progress to have been made in these results, particularly in these challenging times, gives all much to celebrate. Witnessing the breadth of success across academic, sporting, musical, artistic and dramatic disciplines has been a joy to commend.

It has no doubt been another very difficult year. But with the end now in sight it allows us to break for the summer with a renewed sense of optimism and hope. Come September, the whole community should be able to embrace every opportunity and challenge that Hatherop has to offer. The Hatherop values have been put to the test and have been admirably reflected in the pupils’ ability to manage the last 18 months so well – still shining, still smiling and still learning.