Dear Old Brightonians, A day from now, term will end. The signs are clear already. Yesterday, boys and girls were sporting Christmas jumpers in aid of the Rocking Horse charity. Today, the porters are lugging bottles of wine, chocolates and flowers across the quad to favoured teachers and House tutors. Vast quantities of cake and chocolate will be consumed in the final few lessons. Christmas lunches will be served, crackers will be pulled, hats donned, jokes told and so the longest term will come to its inevitable conclusion. The college will fall silent. Only a few cold, sad seagulls (and the Bursar) will remain.
Letters from the Head Master
It was smiles all round on Results Day today as we celebrated being the highest performing co-educational school ever in the UK, with 95% of GCSE grades at A* or A. Last year, The Sunday Times named Brighton College UK School of the Year for being the only school to improve its results for seven years in succession. The college has maintained that extraordinary trend.
I am writing with news of our A-level results. Of the 616 papers sat, the following grades were achieved:
This equates to 96% of grades at A*-B at this stage. These are the grades universities now demand.
I am writing with some fantastic news. The Sunday Times has decided to award Brighton College the title of UK Independent Secondary School of the Year 2011 in their highly influential Sunday Times Schools Guide to be published this Sunday and on line.
Wednesday 28th September saw all Brighton College pupils and staff engage in over 100 community service projects in and around Brighton, as they set out to help their local area as part of the College's fourth annual "Make a Difference Day." Whether clearing Coldean Woods together with Brighton and Hove Urban Rangers or undertaking maintenance at St Dunstan's centre for blind ex-servicemen and women; marching and collecting in support of Breast Cancer Awareness or clearing scrub with the National Trust Downland Restoration Project at Devil's Dyke; baking cakes for the elderly, sorting stock for the Martlets Hospice charity shops or, indeed, picking litter from the beaches and roads of Kemp Town; more than 800 pupils worked in the community to support a huge range of projects across the city and local area.
I am writing with very good news regarding our GCSE results which pupils are collecting this morning. The boys and girls should be delighted. They have smashed the college record. Most importantly, every pupil achieved results that they can be proud of – whether that be ten A* grades or a mixture of A and B grades. Every set of results is personal, special and equally valued.
I am writing with news of our A-level results, which the sixth form will receive this morning. It is all very pleasing. This very cheerful group has broken the school record for top grades with 75.9% of all grades at A* or A. These are the best A-level results ever achieved by a co-educational school in England. The college’s previous best was 72.8% in 2010.
In Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall, the young Paul Pennyfeather, sent down from his Oxford college, is interviewed for a teaching post in the offices of Church and Gargoyle, scholastic agents. The proprietor, Mr Levy, explains to Pennyfeather that "in England we class school into four grades: ‘Leading school', ‘First-rate school', ‘Good school' and finally, ‘School". Paul Pennyfeather, of course, ends up in a ‘School'.
Simon Smith has decided to retire at the end of the academic year after 38 years of outstanding service to the college, for the past eleven as Second Master. He has been a wonderful support to me in my five years as Head Master, providing wise counsel, good humour and kindly reassurance throughout. My predecessors, Bill Blackshaw, John Leach and Anthony Seldon, also owe him a terrific debt of gratitude. He has served each of them with great loyalty. Above all, Simon has served this community. He has made time for colleagues and pupils in equal measure, supporting them when times are tough and admonishing them only when necessary.
At this year's Annual Dinner, the Head Master gave a fascinating account of our very first OBs' escapades following their time at the College. Following some sneaky pilfering on our part we have at great expense secured a transcript of his speech (we asked for it... he gave it to us...) for your perusal...
I thought you might be interested to hear that following an independent inspection by Ofsted, the boarding facilities and pastoral care at Brighton College were judged to be 'outstanding'. This is a verdict awarded to very few schools, and comes as news reached us that a league table published by the website www.best-schools.co.uk made Brighton the number 1 co-educational boarding school in the UK.