I would like to take the opportunity this week to wish our Year 11 and Year 13 students luck as they begin the exam season. It is an exciting, yet daunting prospect to be the first cohort to sit exams since 2019. I am very proud of the resilience and dedication that many Year 11 and Year 13 students are showing to their studies and very much welcome this opportunity for them to show how excellent they are.
Starting next week, Year 11 students will have a collapsed timetable to enable them to spend final exam preparation lessons with their teachers either the day before or on the day of their exam in each subject. Many students have been staying after-school each day, either to attend additional sessions put on by their teachers or to revise independently. The students are determined to prove their success and achieve the best grades possible. It is wonderful to have so many excellent role models for younger students. I am grateful to the families of students in all year groups in emphasising the importance of students being mindful, quiet and respectful of the students taking exams over the next few weeks.
The exam season also brings with it heightened feelings of anxiety. It is therefore fitting that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Each year group has had an assembly and an Active Tutorial session focused on the importance of caring for the mental health of ourselves and others. The official theme of the week is ‘loneliness’ and across the week, students have been encouraged to build meaningful connections with their friends, family and communities.
Meanwhile, Year 9 and 10 students have also been demonstrating their resilience and reciprocity through the Duke of Edinburgh programme, led by Mr Preen. Last weekend, 52 of our students passed the expedition for their Bronze Award. Their behaviour and performance was outstanding. The assessors could not have been more positive about all of the teams’ great solidarity and effort over the two days. These experiences will stand them in good stead for both the academic and extra-curricular challenges they will face throughout the rest of their time at The Beacon.
As the sun begins to shine more frequently, it is also heartening to see so many students broadening their horizons and learning new skills in different clubs in the Summer term. From more traditional summer clubs like cricket and athletics to new offerings such as Taekwon-do, so many students are stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something new in their own time.
Alongside these opportunities and experiences, students are also being reminded of the day-to-day expectations of their conduct around school and in lessons. To avoid distractions, mobile phones must be switched off and in bags during school hours. Students need to attend school punctually, in full uniform and take off their coats in classrooms.
The Summer term brings so many exciting challenges and opportunities for the students to develop and grow; whether that is in their preparation for assessments and exams or extra-curricular activities. We are grateful to families for always supporting our students to promote mental health, be the best that they can be and demonstrate our values of excellence and respect.