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I hope that this academic year will be extremely rewarding and fulfilling for you. It might sound like an obvious thing to say, but a school exists for its students, and it’s my job, and that of the wonderful team of staff that we have at St Benedict’s, to help you to achieve your goals, to be happy and secure and, hopefully, to enjoy your school years. That said, that may not always mean that you agree with our decisions or our methods for doing this, but it’s extremely important to me that you feel respected and listened to here.

If you don’t feel that you are being respected or listened to, you are welcome to come to speak to me, although you might find it easier to speak to one of the Decans; I meet regularly with the Seniors and will be encouraging them to speak openly and honestly about the school and ways in which we can improve it for the benefit of all the community.

Something else which is very important to me is respect and manners, and the courtesy with which I expect the adults in the school to treat you I expect to be reciprocated by you towards them and towards each other. I know we are busy, but please do greet staff when you walk past them, and do the same for any visitors we have: I want the reputation of St Benedict’s students to be that they have excellent social skills and are warm and courteous; as well as simply being the right thing to do, this will take you a long way in life. And in particular, it is extremely important to me that you show respect to all staff, irrespective of their status. 

As I say though, we want you to thrive and to flourish here. I made reference earlier to your goals and that we will help you to achieve these. But do you know what your goals are? Everyone here today – and I don’t only mean the students – should have goals for this year which they have set themselves, and which are suitably ambitious: it’s easy to leap over the bar if it’s only a few inches off the ground. Aim high; be the very best that you can be every day. There is a huge amount of support on offer to help you to do this.

I hope you have a really great year. Thank you for your support in continuing to make St Benedict’s the wonderful community that it undoubtedly is.