The Headmaster gave a welcome address today, to all our new pupils

Good afternoon and very warm Royal Russell welcome to our new pupils and families joining us in Year 7, 8 and 9, 10 and 12.

We have over 250 new pupils joining the Royal Russell community over the next few days and 180 of these are in the Senior School. So if you are feeling a little apprehensive this afternoon, don’t worry, there are lots of you starting this week and the Royal Russell team is here to support you.

I will start with a few words to bring you up to date with what has been going on in the school since you last visited us, along with some advice on how to get the most from your time at Royal Russell.

You will then be reintroduced to your House staff who will lead you through Chapel and a brief induction on the programme for the start of school tomorrow.

If you have any questions there will be an opportunity to speak with us at Tea, which will be held in House Tents outside on Chapel Quad from 3.40pm

Before I go any further I should like to introduce those who are responsible for looking after you.

Mr Botting, new Deputy Head, Academic

Mrs Hart, new Deputy Head ,Pastoral

and Mr Selby in charge of performance and operations

Our Deputy Heads deal with academic, pastoral, curriculum, discipline and administrative matters.

Mr Moseley has a new role as Director of International Relations

Mr Neely is our School Operations Director, responsible for the team that provides the services to support the smooth running of the school, including Catering, Maintenance and Finance.

Our Chaplain, The Reverend Kirk officiates in our Chapel and in school assemblies, he plays an important role in the spiritual life of the school and in our pastoral support system.

Mrs Mawer is our Year 7 co-ordinator who will be helping those of you in Year 7 to settle in as quickly as possible.

Sister Sallie Smith leads the team of nurses who provide 24 hour care for our community and is the welcoming face who will greet you at the Medical Centre should you ever feel unwell or simply need a chat.

Whilst I am always available for all parents and pupils, and can be contacted via my PA Lauren Brockwell, for parents - your first contact with the School should always be via your child’s house and their tutor, who will reintroduce themselves this afternoon.

Your housemaster or housemistress will work alongside the tutor to provide the academic and pastoral support that each of these young learners needs on their Royal Russell journey and they are supported by the Heads of Academic Departments and Deputy Heads to provide the balanced education of which we are so proud.

If you do need to make contact, can I suggest that an e-mail is always a good starting point, as it is sometimes very difficult to track down a busy member of staff to answer a phone call during the working day!

I am also joined by our:

Heads of School                             

Georgia Covill and Alex Jenkins

our Heads of Boarding                

Bogdan Lica and Valeryia Mashynets

our Deputy Heads of School Lucy Schofield, Rolanda Yung-Hoi and Roman Podkovyrin

and our Heads of Sport   

Rhys Norrington-Davies and Elizabeth Davies

This team organises the School Prefects and helps us with the day to day running of the school.

I often reflect that, despite my best efforts as Headmaster, it is the senior pupils who set the tone of the school and have a significant influence on our direction of travel as the year progresses. So if you are new starting today, I hold these pupils up as those that I would like you to aim to emulate and even exceed in your successes. Some of this team joined us only a year ago in Year 12. Others have been pupils at Royal Russell since nursery and are starting their 15th year at the School this September!

Royal Russell is a successful school on many different levels and I was delighted that this was recognised, acknowledged and endorsed in our ISI Inspection earlier this year, where we were awarded the top grade of ‘Excellent’ in every aspect of the review. I am also delighted with the results of our pupils in their Public Examinations this summer.

In their A levels, our Year 13 pupils recorded our best ever A*/A rate.

Individual success was evident at all levels of the grades awarded and reflects the efforts of all of the Royal Russell community.

There were 15 candidates who achieved at least three A grades and 4 of these achieved at least two A* grades. Our highest achieving candidates secured places to study veterinary medicine at Edinburgh, mechanical engineering at Bath, economics and finance at UCL and History at Cambridge.

I ought to point out that Anna, who was successful in securing her place at Cambridge was, like her older brother, a pupil at Royal Russell from the age of 3 through to 18 and has been an outstanding enthusiast for the academic, sporting and cultural aspects of the school.

At GCSE there were some equally strong sets of results across the cohort with 13 students gaining at least 5 A* grades and 7 students achieving at least 9 A* grades. Our top candidates achieved 11 A* each.

By my calculations, those of you starting in Year 7 today will be collecting your GCSE results in Summer 2021 and your A level results in 2023. As I stand here then…. I expect to be able to announce the excellent results that you have achieved at the end of your time here.

It must be clear to you, therefore, that we have the highest expectations for each and every one of you.

I want to tell you about the values I admire and the expectations I hold.

I expect serious academic endeavour from you all and I am particularly interested in your individual effort in each subject. I expect you to approach the challenges and opportunities avalaible here with an open mind and a ‘give it a go’ attitude and you must all work hard.

Clearly, those who work harder attain more and create more openings for themselves. I will not have any time or respect for those who squander their opportunities here, achieve poor effort grades or, even worse, distract others from their targets in lessons and activities.

I respect pupils who look after each other and go out of their way to show kindness to those in need.  If you have read ‘Wonder’ over the holiday, this is my challenge to be ‘kinder than is necessary’.

I believe in the school motto, ‘Non sibi sed omnibus’ (Not fo oneself but for everyone) and expect to see this in the way you go about your daily lives.

This is a giving School and I value those who commit.

I also value endeavour and integrity, enthusiasm and humour.

I respect pupils who contribute and participate.

and I really look forward to seeing you shining in your chosen sphere.

All members of the School are encouraged to give of their best and to share their talents with, and for, others and I’d now like to introduce Alex and Joy who are going to sing ‘I have been changed for good’ from the musical ‘Wicked’.

Whilst you listen to them perhaps reflect on where your own goodness is going to show in your actions in your time ahead at Royal Russell.

This school does not close at 4.00 pm and you will be presented with many opportunities to explore your talents and interests.

Everyday there are lots of activities to join in at lunch time and after classes end our co-curricular programme is rich and diverse.

Please encourage your son or daughter to take advantage of these – they will certainly be encouraged by us -  and please come along to support these activities yourselves – be it a play, concert or one of our sporting activities.

I have to confess that I became slightly obsessed with the Rio Olympics this summer. I love seeing the passion and determination of the competitors and I have huge respect for the dedication and commitment of the support teams that enable the athletes to perform at the highest level.

I was privileged to see Usain Bolt win the 100m final at the London Olympics in 2012 and so I was particularly keen to see how he performed under the intense pressure and scrutiny of attempting his ‘treble, treble’.

In the 100m semi finals, when Bolt had eased into a comfortable lead ahead of the striving field, he turned sideways to the camera gallery and smiled! The image that was captured summed up what I hope we will see from all of you starting as new pupils this year; that picture of someone achieving at the very peak of their performance and at the same time having an enormous amount of fun!

So yes, work hard, yes look after each other, yes get involved, but most of all have some fun and enjoy all that Royal Russell offers as much as you possibly can.

Thank you