Opening Ceremony Headmasters Speech

Good morning and welcome to Myddelton College! It is a huge honour to be standing here saying that; this amazing building, steeped in history and tradition, is being brought back to life again, with a fresh and innovative approach to education.

Our motto is:

More Than Just an Education

and it is our firm belief that this is a necessity in today’s world – schools evolve, but change slowly and so cannot often keep up with the rapidly changing nature of society. By starting completely new, we are able to build a modern education system, fit for purpose, so our students can go out into the world prepared to engage fully with the society they find themselves part of.  That is our ambition.

First of all, let me outline what we are.

Myddelton College is a co-educational day and boarding school.  Our core day runs from 8:50am through to 4pm, with activities and enrichment extending the school day to 6pm. Our boarding houses, being upgraded to the best of standards, with Stanley’s house, for example, being refurbished this year to include en suite shower rooms in each bedroom. The boarding houses are designed to provide a safe and secure family environment, with live-in house parents and visiting assistant house parents on site at all times. Every student, whether day or boarding, will be assigned to a boarding house and participate in house competitions as well as be able to participate in all other house activities and trips. For day students, the option to stay beyond activities, take tea with their friends and complete their homework in college is also available. There are also flexible schemes, called flexi-day, whereby a day student can even stay overnight if necessary. There will also be a comprehensive system of pick-up minibuses that will collect day students from a wide area, and drop them back home again after activities. Please talk to any of my team here today about the details of this, or look in our prospectus, where we outline the specifics of the day to day life of the College, but let me just say that it is our intention to provide a world-class education experience, encompassing the whole person – education does not just occur in the classroom!

We are aiming to be a great school. And being a great school requires more than just providing the best possible education. Or at least it requires a different view of what that education is. At Myddelton College, we take the broadest possible view of education and our students, whether boarders or day students, will be exposed to a wide range of activities that encompass the whole experience of what it means to be human. Yes, there’s the academic , with high standards and even higher expectations of success (because that is a basic necessity in today’s global market place), but beyond that, a Myddelton College student will be expected to develop interests in sporting, creative, aesthetic and cultural areas. I believe that each and every individual holds within them a talent that shapes their passion and their persona, and it is our passion to help each student find, shape and develop theirs. But alongside that there is the need for breadth and balance, which is why the education provided at Myddelton includes the extra activities and why every student is expected to be involved in all aspects of college life.

The British Education system is still held as the gold standard around the world and every Myddelton College student will be expected to achieve strong results in this system – the GCSEs & A-levels offered are designed to ensure that our students achieve the best they are capable of, with a strong academic support system in place to ensure that they do this.

Alongside this, and complementing it, we have a unique set of elements that provide so much more for our students.

First of all, with modern technology such an integral part of every aspect of society, Myddelton College students are expected to engage with the internet – lessons are delivered electronically, through Cloud technology, utilising the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem; the backbone of so many businesses and industries around the world. Communication will be through this system, with emails, shared folders and calendar invitations replacing traditional school communication channels. Lessons will be delivered in a ‘flipped’ learning model, with all learning content available online, with the student expected to review work before the next lesson. Every student will receive a Microsoft Surface device on joining the College, and will be taught how to use it fully. Myddelton College is proud to have already been awarded the global accolade of being a Microsoft Associate Showcase School in recognition of our innovative approach to integrating technology.

In a completely different arena, the physical, we are also re-shaping the nature of sport and physical activity at Myddelton College. It is essential that our students experience the physical environment, but this does not need to be in the traditional way that we all here probably remember from school. The emphasis, at Myddelton College, is on developing an understanding of their physical nature, through the physical environment. Called our Leadership through the Outdoors programme, our students will undertake a wide range of activities designed to help them develop the leadership skills that collaboration and teamwork in the physical environment provide. In place of a traditional PE curriculum, Myddelton College students will participate in a wide range of alternative activities; whether that’s through joining our Cadet Force, or the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, or training with our Triathlon team, or learning golf, our students will learn skills that will see them through their lives. With such amazing facilities in our grounds, with the climbing wall, the caving centre, the ropes courses and archery area, the tennis courts, swimming pool and equestrian centre, the dance studio, recording studio, art and science facilities, there is quite literally something for everyone! We are also forging links with world-class groups, such as Gloucester Rugby Club, to ensure that our students are exposed to the very best in each and every aspect of the physical environment.

And beyond the classroom, with a very firm eye on the need to develop a global perspective, we have also developed, as a core part of our curriculum, the Myddelton Academic Exchange Programme.

Through this programme, as part of our inclusive offer, every student will have the opportunity to spend 2 – 3 weeks, each year, at a Myddelton College Branch Campus in China – our Qingdao branch, Myddelton-YinHai College opens next month & we welcome Madame Tang and colleagues from Qingdao today.  Myddelton College students will quite literally experience an international education by spending time at our international branches.

And going beyond this, when it comes to leaving College and moving onto the next phase, our advice and guidance prepares them for this important step. Our University preparation course begins when a student joins us because we know that access to the world’s best universities is tightly fought and extended advice and preparation are essential to ensure that every student gets into the best university for them. With so many of the world’s best universities in the USA, our programme ensures that Myddelton College students know, understand and can succeed at the highly competitive entry and scholarship system in the US university market.

Last but not least, Myddelton College is also about providing a pastoral care structure that goes well beyond simple welfare; at Myddelton, we focus on developing and maturing the individual, both emotionally and intellectually. With a welfare department as a separate entity, with nursing staff, welfare support and even student counsellors on site, we believe that we will have a support system in place that is second to none when it comes to helping young people navigate the turbulent waters that is their life between the ages of 11 – 18.

We believe that what we are offering is truly a world class education, providing much, much more than just a set of exams, providing our students with a skill set that will enable them to go out and be leaders, wherever in the world they find themselves.

And it is our intention that this is accessible to all. The college has a sensitive and comprehensive scholarship and bursary system in place, to provide financial assistance to families who may think they can’t afford to send their child here. If you are thinking that this is beyond you,  I would say; can you afford not to find out what we can do to support you? We have, for example, Key Worker bursaries, for the children of parents who work in the support services – nurses, firemen & women and police – those who dedicate themselves to helping others – we want to reciprocate and help them. Amanda Hand, my head of Admissions, will be more than happy to discuss the wide range of options available.

Thank you for listening and please do ask any of our team if you have any questions about what you have heard or what we offer. And once again, welcome to Myddelton College!

Opening Ceremony Headmasters Speech