The pupils are extremely well educated in line with the school's aims to encourage them to feel success.
ISI Inspection Report, June 2014
Each summer, The Mead School takes over the Trinity Theatre for one week, culminating in a Summer Show and Annual Prizegiving. This is a celebration of the children's achievements and efforts across a wide range of disciplines, and is regularly a full house, with the occasional tissue required at times!
Several attendees asked to read the words of the annual Prizegiving speech, given by Angela Culley, Headmistress, which you can read below.
"Ladies and Gentlemen and every member of The Mead community a very warm welcome this morning to Trinity Arts Centre as we come together to celebrate The Mead's 2015/2016 academic year. a time of both reflection and looking forwards and one of the few occasions each year where everybody comes together as a school family with a common aim and purpose.May I firstly apologise for the rationing of seats for this morning' s event. It is the only public occasion when we are limited by the number of seats in the theatre and I am fully aware there have been disappointments. At times it has felt a bit like the centre court at Wimbledon for the men's final! The whole of today, Prizegiving and 'Dazzle' are being professionally filmed which I hope will be a bit of a consolation prize.
Every year somehow magically develops its own aura and character and whilst one of the joys of school life is its very rhythm it is the curve balls which make it unique.
This academic year like any other is made up of a wonderful plethora of small, large, individual and team successes interspersed with the odd obstacle - the latter this year being badgers!
To the outside world the two largest developments this year have been the opening of the new extension and The Mead joining the Wishford group of schools. I am delighted that Sam Antrobus from Wishford is here today and no doubt will be talking to many of you later in the grounds. We are already enjoying being part of a successful group of schools and are settling very happily into our new family. As for the former I don't know how we managed without it! The Reception Area has revolutionised our daily lives and makes a wonderful entrance each day for the children walking into the house and for our numerous and varied visitors. What started out as a safeguarding solution has developed into somewhere very special where the warmth, vision and soul of The Mead is all embracing - no visitor can be unaware of what The Mead is about. I am even considering serving coffee at certain times of the day! Year 4 have ensured the new classrooms are developing the correct Mead feel and values and it is amazing how different they feel in just one term. Moving forwards this means, at long last, we are a two form entry from Reception to Year six, ensuring the small teaching groups within which children thrive whilst providing a larger social pool and ever broader experiences. All this whilst ensuring everyone stays firmly under one roof – of paramount importance to us. The new Kindergarten and Pre Reception entrance has made an amazing difference to them and having direct access to their play areas has certainly decreased the mud in the bottom hallway! Mead children learn to do stairs very competently from a very young age.
To complete this stage of development my old/new office is beautiful and’ together with the style of the new building, very much in keeping and respectful of the old house. My old office is now becoming a wonderful new library for everyone to enjoy. My huge gratitude and respect goes to Rebecca who from her small office masterminds, cajoles, insists and manages to keep everything on track and within budget - no mean feat!
I happened across this Sanskrit poem twice in as many weeks in very different places and found it both thought provoking and pertinent to all of us here, regardless of age. It epitomises the philosophy and values of The Mead where daily the children are encouraged to embrace every opportunity and experience and to give 100 % to all they do. The first time I read it was at the front of the autobiography of the last advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar - a man who had led an extremely rich and exciting life, always trying to help the African people. The second occasion was on a service sheet at this year’s ISA Annual Conference . Two very different cultures and two very different circumstances.
Look well to this day, for it is life
The very best of life;
In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence
The joy of growth,
The splendour of action,
The glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today, if well-lived,
Makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope;
Look well therefore to this day.
We live and work in a child's world and every child by nature lives for the here and now and therefore so do we, albeit the adult in us does this whilst keeping a close awareness of the bigger picture. Each day your children bounce into school - they really are the best tonic on a dreary grey Tunbridge Wells morning - eager to embrace all the day has to offer them and from that moment until you see them again they truly do not stop. Even our sleepy eleven year old boys perk up surprisingly quickly once they have a Mead breakfast inside them. Each day your children grow not just physically and academically but emotionally in resilience, self-belief and confidence. It is only at this time in the school year when we all look back and reflect that we can appreciate the extent of these daily changes which layered together give such strength. Of course all our yesterdays are memories but when they are positive, happy and stimulating memories they are the very springboard for the tomorrows to come. With firm, solid foundations children realise and learn that with hard work and focus the seemingly impossible can happen. The Year 6 yearbook created by the Yr 6 parents is a wonderful realisation of what each child has achieved and become through their time at The Mead however long and short that might be. Sir gets rather a lot of mention! However, the overriding appreciation is for the wealth and breadth of opportunity and experience, the patient teachers who listen and encourage and enable them to achieve, the school food needless to say and friends. I hope for every child sitting here today and for ex Meadites and those still to come that the words ‘The Mead’ will be synonymous with the whole adventure of childhood and conjure up pictures of people, places, lessons and events which resonate our values and act as a compass point to live each day to the full.
A remarkable woman called Roz Savage rowed single handed across the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean spending over 500 days at sea, on her own, undertaking a seemingly impossible challenge in order to raise awareness of environmental issues.
An ordinary woman she writes:
If you don’t keep pushing the boundaries, keep expanding your comfort zone, your comfort zone actually gets smaller and smaller until you are shrink wrapped in such a tiny comfort zone that you can’t move, you can’t achieve anything.
It is very easy to wrap our children in 'cotton wool', to try and protect them from the ills of the world, to aim for the 'perfect childhood’ for it is human nature to protect our young and a parent's duty to create happy memories. All of this is admirable, however there is one huge danger as Roz Savage so poignantly recognises, when that protective bubble bursts or children move into an adolescent or adult world they have not developed the confidence, skills or resilience to cope and thrive. I reflect on this year's myriad successes both inside and outside the classroom and I am truly humbled by your children - they are living examples of aspiration and inspiration. Academic successes throughout the year and today are well documented - however I must mention and congratulate Alfie Phillipson for coming second in the national memory competition. There were a mere thirty two thousand competitors! For us this is the second year running we have come second so Year 5 the pressure is on! Work in the classrooms is rich, creative and inspirational – there is no doubt Mead children quickly become very good and competent learners.
Beyond the classrooms there are numerous opportunities and successes. Drama successes abound and not just in productions but in the passion each child is showing and in the 46 incredible Lamda results. Many of you have already been lucky enough to watch Dazzle –the rest of you have a real treat ahead. But it is not just Dazzle this year, the EYFS performed their nativity in church and Years One and Two put on ‘The Wild Ones’ here in Trinity. At the same time Year 6 won the National ISA Drama Festival with their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the Music Department over 100 children now learn an instrument and Mr Zerpa Falcon has ‘nabbed’ the old library which now boasts a piano. Many have taken their Associated Board exams but just as importantly various groups are popping up and corridors and the conservatory become alive each breaktime as children get together to play – magical. The Inter House Music competition was a highlight involving everyone; staff and children from Reception to Year six. Sport remains thankfully ever popular and is benefitting enormously from our growing use of the Bayham fields. We do have a degree of sympathy with Mr Leroy when he discovered a grand piano in the gym and ballet bars stating ‘Do they not realise it is a gym!’ In all weathers Mead children are out playing sport and the children’s enthusiasm and passion know no bounds. Sports Day was the great finale and fantastic but to achieve that standard of performance takes lesson by lesson care, planning and aspiration for each and every child. There is no doubt competitive spirit is live and kicking in a wonderfully supportive environment. One of the most special moments is when a child helps, supports, encourages or cheers another naturally and appropriately.
French and Mandarin continue to flourish and east and west live amiably together in the MFL room. We are delighted Mr Carnoy will become full time next year and take on the responsibility for the IT curriculum and teaching. We look forward to a new suite of laptops next term to operate alongside our trusty chrome books. The list continues with Art and Dance both departments achieving terrific results and enjoying a huge following. Mrs Latty is rarely without her apron and each lunchtime there is a child in her room bringing to life their latest masterpiece or creation.
So we keep pushing, keep developing, keep evolving, keep showing what ordinary people (including children) can do when they put their hearts and minds and souls into it.
No one would dispute the fullness of our days, but amongst the scurry and the rush we must make time for reflection, quiet and our community fortoday’s world is very ‘full on’ with a constant bombardment of information internally, nationally and globally all telling us what we should do and say.
Strength lies in knowing when to stay quiet and when to speak out! Silence can be powerful whilst giving you time to ponder – and find the right answer.
The Queen’s 90th birthday street party closely followed by the EU referendum gave us plenty of opportunity to explore and appreciate British Values. During the former we certainly reflected the National feeling albeit in the latter we didn’t! – Mead children voted 39 out and 148 Remain! However the discussions, observations and thought that went into the children’s personal choices was fantastic and bodes so well for the future.
Thank you each and every family for supporting your children in all they do, whether it be encouraging their learning or the constant requests to support all the charities and The Friends of The Mead events. The Friends of the Mead committee are total superstars – they together with Ruth Campbell have organized some wonderful events, film nights, parent soirées and the wonderful Christmas and Summer Fayres. They have raised nigh on 15k to put towards new play equipment once our black and white visitors have been persuaded to move house or should I say sette!
A this point I must thank, on behalf of you all, our amazing lollipop volunteers who so generously and willingly have given up their time to ensure the safety of us all. Please Peter Attiogbe, Alex Cobbald and Chris Dobson come forward to accept a small token of The Mead School Community’s gratitude. Please also thank Rebecca who is also a fully trained lollipop person and can also be seen in fluorescent yellow stopping the traffic.
The end of a school year is a time for huge thank yous, Good byes and Hellos. Six much loved members of staff leave The Mead on Tuesday, they will of course always be part of The Mead albeit not with us here every day.
After a wonderful ‘Gap Year’, Clem O’Collins returns to university. Clem has made the most of every minute of this year, quickly becoming indispensable to Year One, Munch Bunch and the Sports Department. His successor has a perfect blue print to follow’
Megan Ovenden has been part of The Mead since the day she was born and is a Meadite through and through. Firstly a pupil and latterly a Teaching Assistant in Reception Infants whilst working hard to gain her Early Years Foundation Degree. Megan has also been responsible for Munch bunch and is dearly loved by all the younger pupils in her care and by all the staff! We are very proud that she is moving to become a pre-school room leader at a day nursery.
Dr Parr joined us last September for a year to teach Year 4 with Miss Seymour and IT in KS2. Dr Parr quickly involved herself in all areas of school life including the ski holiday and the Moonwalk. It has been a huge pleasure having Dr Parr at The Mead and her ready smile and dedicated, professional approach has been appreciated by all. Our best wishes go with her to Walthamstow Hall.
Rachel Crouch retires after an incredible twenty four years at The Mead. Dearly loved by generations of Meadites, their parents and colleagues, Rachel is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ teachers who have a genuine vocation and dedication to her chosen profession – which is a way of life not just a job. For years Rachel taught in Reception Infants but found her real home up in the eaves with Year 3 eventually joined by Mrs Faure – recognised by all as Grouch and Fury! Between them they created a wonderful transition between KS1 and KS2.One of Rachel’s many passions has been the teaching of RE – I would go as far as to say that Rachel was the only person I would pass the RE curriculum to when I gave it up. Needless to say the RE department has been in very safe hands and KS2 children have developed deep thinking and debating skills beyond their years and an appreciation, respect and understanding of others points of view, opinions and beliefs. The joy of innocence was never more appreciated when a Year 3 child was overheard asking "Mrs Crouch, are you Jesus' mum?" Sadly, the response was not heard! It was very fitting that our four yearly trip to Wintershall Passion Play happened to fall this half term. Always an amazing trip this year was the one dry day in a very wet week and every single adult and child became lost in the New Testament story as we followed Jesus’ life and teaching. Our love, gratitude and best wishes go with her as she embarks on the new adventure of retirement. Thank you Rach you have certainly earned your stripes!
Finally, but by no means least we must say a huge thank you and pay tribute to the tremendous loyalty and commitment both David and Margaret Douse have given to The Mead for over a quarter of a century. The Mead would not be the place it is today without their presence. David who took his role of lollipop man so seriously is loved and appreciated by so many and Margaret who did so much, a wonderful housekeeper she knew every child as a person and cared for them as her own. She had a wonderful knack of re-uniting lost property with its rightful owner and ensured all enjoyed their tea whilst keeping everything clean and tidy. Margaret loved a good ‘Spring Clean!’ – pulling everything out and having the washing machine on a continual cycle. David and Margaret are part of The Mead and are sorely missed. Our love goes to them and a huge gratitude for all they have given and done for us all.
We look forward to welcoming our two new gap students Tom Lambert and Elyse Withers together with Ellen Russell who returns from Australia to join Mrs Archer in Pre Reception and Mrs Cassie Hibberd who will be teaching one of the Reception classes. Many of you will already have seen or met Mrs Hibberd around the school.
I feel incredibly lucky, indeed blessed, to have such a wonderful staff, both teaching and non teaching, at The Mead. Not only are they excellent practitioners but they are truly human, compassionate, thoughtful and caring. They have the wellbeing of every child at the centre of all they do. Today I publicly thank them, for without such a team The Mead would not be the school it is today nor would your children be the special and unique people they are becoming.
So ‘ Look well to this day, for it is life. The very best of life!"
Mrs Angela Culley, Headmistress, July 2016