Letter from the Head, Cheltenham Prep 2017 has been another excellent year at The Prep in all aspects of life. From fantastic exam results to success on the sports field and from outstanding music performances to brilliantly produced plays, The Prep has continued to thrive. The last year has also thrown up some interesting challenges. Upgrades have been made to our existing facilities and we have said goodbye to some excellent teachers. Thankfully we have been able to welcome equally talented new members of staff. The Prep is enjoying the fruits of investment in its physical and human resources. Practice within the classroom has not only been revived and modernised, but it is also rightly accountable and complemented by a programme of classroom refurbishment. Our library will soon receive a complete makeover, confirming its position as the essential centre of learning and also a place of quiet during a busy school day. This will add to the exciting and excellent work of our librarian, Pippa Carson, and also complement the arrival of our new Deputy Head (Academic), Rachel Hamlyn. By ensuring that The Prep has focused on standards of teaching and learning, it has secured the top academic award to the College five times in the past six years and Laura Bingham (Y8) has been awarded an Academic Scholarship for entry to Cheltenham Ladies’ College in Year 9. All of our Common Entrance candidates gained entry to their first choice of school. These achievements have been supported by the usual high standards of performance in co-curricular activities and special mention should be made of our thriving Kingfishers’ Chess Club. This year is the second year in a row that we have an Under 7s County Champion in The Delancey National Chess Competition. This early commitment to an opportunity outside of the classroom is the catalyst for further involvement and leads on to successful events such as Bugsy Malone, the Rosslyn Park 7s tournament, the House Singing and Summer Concert and many, many more. It seems that qualities which underpin successful performance in any aspect of life now need to be given a label as do the basic duties of care and compassion. We will be developing our rewards system to encompass the qualities of perseverance, resilience, challenge, empathy, creativity and participation. These are complemented with a Prep Award, something similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award offered in senior schools but without the royalty, The Prep has always
sought to take absolute care of the children. Whatever the trends, however attractive the window dressing, The Prep will always be all about substance rather than just style. The Prep’s charitable efforts are typical of this and, without any undue fuss, we raised £6,367 for the Sue Ryder Hospice in Leckhampton. Engaging with the local community is the responsibility of every school and to that end, from September, our aim has been to develop a genuine partnership with Saint John’s Primary School in Cheltenham. Change management is challenging, especially when it comes to the movement of staff but I am delighted to say we have passed this challenge with flying colours. This year we have said farewell to Emma Collings, Mia Du Toit, Clare Edgington, Nicky Norwood, Nikki Massey, Sandra Parrish, Vanessa Service, Wendy Smith and Rupert Woodbridge and thank them all for their service to the school. Although not officially staff, he might beg to differ, I must mention Dan Bingham (OJ & L, 1987), who steps down as Chair of the Friends of The Prep. Dan has been an outstanding doer, not just a delegator, and the success of our last two signature events, the Fête and the Family Camp Out, can be attributed to his determination and leadership. Although they are thankfully not leaving us, Vicky Jenkins stepped down from the position of Deputy Head (Academic) after transforming the approach to teaching and learning in The Prep and Bob and Faye Wells left the boarding house in order to concentrate on their ‘day jobs’. I am extremely grateful for their massive contributions in these highly complex and pressurised areas of Prep life. The Prep is a thriving part of the College, the Heads working closely together is vital and I have no doubt that the new incumbents will be confirming this approach when they write their contribution to Floreat in 2018. Jonathan Whybrow Head, Cheltenham College Preparatory School
Jon Whybrow with the RAF Falcons
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