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.
This is the most coveted award in secondary education, the Oscar of the school world, and I am obviously delighted. For me personally, it represents a wonderful validation of all that we have tried to accomplish here over the last six years in seeking to create a climate that is caring and supportive but which also seeks to challenge and inspire the pupils to achieve more than they ever thought possible. It is also a terrific affirmation of the talent and enthusiasm of our dedicated teaching staff. Their joy at the news of the award this afternoon was palpable. I hope that the boys and girls will feel just as proud when I tell them tomorrow. This is, above all, their award and to them must go the greatest credit.
I very much hope that you will go out and buy a copy of the paper on Sunday – and alert your friends to it. A lengthy article about Brighton College will appear in their on-line guide with a briefer summary in the News Review section. As yet, I do not know what they will write but I can share with you today the press release from The Sunday Times which I have just received from Alastair McCall, editor of the Sunday Times Schools Guide:
“Brighton College is the stand out candidate for this year’s Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year award. A rise of more than 20 places in our performance tables in one year to 18th might have been reason enough to make the award, but this was Brighton College’s fifth successive rise in our rankings since 2006, an unparalleled achievement. No other school in our survey of 1,000 schools has improved every single year for five years. While credit must go first and foremost to the children at this co-educational school, the shift in culture engineered by head teacher Richard Cairns cannot be underestimated. The school has been transformed in five years from one of middling academic achievement into one of the powerhouses of the independent sector – and all achieved without restricting entry to only the very brightest. Children are encouraged to achieve through exceptional teaching and pastoral care – and they are pushing the bar ever higher with the passing of each year.”
We shall certainly be celebrating in the Common Room this evening!