As families are aware, Wallingford School is part of Merchant Taylors’ Oxfordshire Academy Trust and the partnership we have with the other schools in the Trust brings many benefits to us all. I have been fortunate over the past few weeks to be involved in Ofsted inspections at both Brightwell cum Sotwell Primary School and Buckinghamshire University Technical College and the shared values of the schools within our Trust have shone through. We cannot yet share the outcomes of the inspections but inspirational leadership, particularly from Mrs Lewis, Executive Headteacher at Brightwell and Mr Lamb, Principal at the UTC; strong relationships, recognising the potential of every child and young person; high expectations and a commitment to great teaching and learning; and an unstinting optimism and belief in what can be achieved have all been highlighted by inspectors as being defining characteristics of the schools within the Trust. We could not be more proud of the staff and students at the schools and look forward to the formal publication of the reports in the weeks to come.

The sun is shining in Wallingford and the school is happy, determined and focused. Our Year 13 students head off bright and early on Sunday morning to the Lake District for their revision week and it is great to have this visit back in the calendar after two years’ absence; equally, our Year 11 students have finished their assessments and their attitude and approach continue to be absolutely first-class. There is a host of other trips going on including a residential in York, Year 12 attending a UCAS conference in Farnborough and Year 7 enjoying a production of Private Peaceful on Thursday evening; each afternoon afterschool we have a huge number of fixtures going on and I particularly enjoyed watching the Year 11 boys’ football match against Icknield this week – Wallingford sneaked the win but the excellent spirit in which the match was played was a real credit to both teams. Congratulations must go to the Year 12 Product Design students who won the Rotary Technology Tournament last Friday, completing a challenge and beating 11 other teams in the process – a great achievement! Finally, very well done to all of the Year 9 students who completed their first training session for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Bronze Award in school on Friday – the lead instructor was glowing in his feedback to me about their attitude and approach to every aspect of the day – and also to the Year 12 students who were out and about over the weekend on their practice expedition for the Silver Award; thank you also to the staff who supported them over the weekend.

Year 11 Football TeamYear 12 Product Design students, winning the Rotary Technology Tournament