Two weeks ago, ahead of our return to school, I wrote that I hoped students would come back ready to grasp all the opportunities available to them and be willing to “throw something back”. During a busy fortnight, I am delighted to report that they have surpassed all expectations. Recent events in the news have left emotions running high and, from my office in the heart of the Temple, I have observed, overheard and engaged in some interesting discussions and have been struck by both the bravery of our students and by their capacity for empathy. It really is great to have them back.
Everyone seems to have stepped up a gear. No less than 64 students from Year 6 to Year 13 applied for a place on our Café Enterprise Scheme – and they offered some wonderfully creative ideas: “inclusive artwork” to make everyone feel welcome in the space; aprons captioned with “Kind and Bold”, and open mic events to add another dimension to our new Temple hub. Meanwhile, the Anti-Racism Committee has taken action, this week requesting the addition of holy days and religious festivals to our school calendar to reflect the diversity of our community. Already looking ahead to next year, Year 11s have been busy delivering presentations as part of our Sixth Form Scholarship process; Year 12s are gearing up for their hustings next week as the search for our new Student Leadership Team begins; and I have thoroughly enjoyed one-to-one meetings with Year 5s, whose enthusiasm seemingly knows no bounds.
Those with an appetite for more will find plenty to get their teeth into over the coming weeks. Wednesday will see the official launch of our Brighton Bees community netball ball club, bringing with it opportunities for players at all levels, from Year 3 up to adults, with teams playing friendlies and competing in local leagues and tournaments. Former Brighton Girls student and England indoor player, Kalea Stagg, will join us for the virtual launch event, with the first training sessions scheduled for after the Easter break. The club will also create opportunities for those interested in graphic design and marketing as we plan to get the students involved in creating a Brighton Bees logo, one that reflects both our school values and the community ethos – it will be both kind and bold and, through this, we hope to attract a diverse membership.
A new addition to the co-curricular offer next term will be the Brighton Girls Skateboard Club (to give it its working title). Spurred on by the news that skateboarding will make its debut in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, I’ve been working with local photographer and Skateboard England-trained coach, Sarah Brownlow, to get this new venture off the ground. Sarah is passionate about getting more girls into the sport and, like me, believes it has a role to play in building confidence. Next term, Sarah will be offering beginners’ sessions to students from Year 3 upwards.
According to Skateboard England, the number of female skateboarders has grown by over 24% over the last twelve months. The sport is having a bit of a moment; in fact, our plans have hit The Times today. It’s time that we all got on board!