Please enjoy Mr Manning's Article in Educating OxfordshirePosted on: 12/09/2019
After two days under the cosh on interview, on the evening of the 2nd of April this year, I received a telephone call from the Chair of Governors to offer me the post of Headteacher of St Birinus School.
There followed a deluge of rushing emotions – disbelief, pride, excitement and a monumental sense of privilege and responsibility. Having worked in the community for over 6 years and in the school itself, the opportunity had really spoken to me. The summer term went in a flash and as the break arrived, I am not sure the anticipation left me, despite the distraction for a family of 5 of spending a week under canvas in rain and 60 mile an hour gusts of wind. August came and went and the magic of results days for A level students and GCSEs punctuated the last fortnight before we came together as a staff for the in service training days - in my school.
Senior leaders excelled themselves with their passion and clarity and what resounded throughout the staffroom was ambition. An ambition and drive to deliver the best possible school experience for the boys, fuelled once again with great results and uplifting individual stories of success and breakthrough.
Today Year 7 and 170 pairs of shiny new black school shoes arrived on the school site. Year 12 joined them for their orientation, embracing a new professional dress code with discreet but noticeable pride. New beginnings and ambition. The excitement and optimism of the new academic year is really upon us and there is nothing like it. News now floods in about students who have recorded albums, been shortlisted for essay writing prizes or spent the summer fundraising, motivated and inspired by what is dear to them.
Tomorrow the rest of the school join them. What feel like cavernous spaces in school will be brought to life with noise and the infectious vibrancy of young people who haven’t clapped eyes on each other for a month and a half. Firmly on my mind is seizing this moment, grabbing it by the lapels and capitalising fully on the energy and freshness of the new academic year. November and February will certainly have their moments but right now we are all ready to start again and the anticipation that I felt so keenly has been eclipsed in an instant. First impressions, epiphanies, fresh starts, endearing cheek, energy, expectancy, expectation and no doubt a teenage fad or fashion that loopholes all school policy - who knows what tomorrow will bring? What I do know is that I can’t wait to get started.