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Headteacher's Blog

January 2018

Most of what we take for granted has a fragile beginning:

  1. the first electric light was so dim that a candle was needed to see its socket
  2. Wilbur and Orville Wright's first airplane flight lasted only 12 seconds
  3. the first car travelled 2 to 4 miles per hour and often broke down; carriages would pass them, with their passengers shouting, "Get a horse!".
  4. During its first year, Coca-Cola only sold 400 bottles of coke.

It would be easy to give up when outcomes don’t live up to expectations!

For the last year or so, I have eased up in the gym in preference for going out on my bike.  I am no athlete, and my family question my sanity, but three or four times a week, I am out of the house before school to complete a 30 mile loop.  I know that we have many youngsters in school who swim competitively and they are up equally early to complete their training.  

Whether it is invention, discovery, fitness or competition, achievement and outcome are linked to motivation, drive, persistence and commitment. The bible narrative provides us with a number of examples of characters who had to find similar motivation, often in the face of adversity. Moses fled from Egypt thinking his life was over, but really it had just begun. He was willing to try again and God sent him back to deliver His people from Pharaoh. Peter thought it was ‘game over’ after he denied Christ. But he was willing to get up and go again. Jesus did not stop until he said "It is finished!"

On Thursday 8th January 2018, to celebrate the school’s examination success at A level and GCSE, students in both year groups were presented with their certificates. This year the school invited two speakers. Dr Christopher Dobbs was one of the divers who was involved in the project to recover the Mary Rose. He is now Head of Interpretation at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.  Chris’s story, stretching over 37 years, is one of motivation, drive, persistence and commitment. He talked about his journey from university to becoming one of the world’s renowned experts on the Mary Rose project including his experience of diving on the wreck.  During his time on this project, he also talked about his battle against leukaemia.

Students and staff were also privileged to listen to former student David Harrington. He left Oaklands in 2009 to follow a career in music.  He is now a sought after composer, accompanist and musical director.  He has arranged music for Katherine Jenkins as well as for BBC and ITV productions.  David is also the musical director of the popular classical cabaret act ‘All That Malarkey’. David talked fondly of his time at Oaklands and the positive impact that it had on his formation as a musician. He then entertained us on the piano.

As a note of thanks to our speakers, the school, from its charity collections, has made donations to The Mary Rose Charitable Trust on behalf of Chris Dobbs and The Forget-Me-Not Chorus which supports people with dementia and their families through music, on behalf of David.

This term promises to be busy with Year 9 considering their options, Christian Unity Week, the annual Ski Trip and our school production. We also have a large number of students who have stepped forward to be involved in the Faith and Football Enterprise Challenge. I am sure they hope to emulate last year’s winners.

Many Year 13 students have now received university offers. Success at GCSE has proved to be highly valuable for these youngsters in securing places at universities all over the country.  A number of students have also received unconditional offers.  In addition to University places, a number of students have also secured high quality apprenticeships.

Can I wish all students the best of luck with the rest of this term.


Matthew Quinn