Speech Day 17th October 2012
High Sheriff, General Templer, Your Worships, Governors, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys – Welcome to Speech Day.
Today we come together to celebrate and recognise the excellent achievements of all our pupils. For those who will receive their GCSE and A Level Certificates, it is the culmination of many years of hard work and Speech Day is an opportunity for us to congratulate them on their success. It is the highlight of the school’s calendar and we are very proud of them all.
We welcome back to Stover today students who are now embarking on their University courses. Stover has equipped them with the qualifications, skills and attitudes as they move from their school life onto the next phase of their life’s journey, taking with them a life-long love of learning.
We are extremely privileged to welcome General Templer as our Guest of Honour today.
My address this year takes a different approach as I would like to acknowledge that 2012 is a very special year for us all at Stover. We have celebrated major events this year:
- The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
- The Olympics and
- The Paralympics
And at Stover we started our 80th anniversary celebrations at the end of the summer term with a spectacular music concert. We enjoyed musical performances of the highest calibre. A special cake was made which was decorated by pupils and everyone joined in to sing Happy Birthday.
It is a time to reflect how much we have achieved in our long and distinguished history.
Mr Killick, our Chair of Governors, has outlined in detail today our School Development Plan, which continues the visionary developments enabling the school to move forward with the on going commitment to provide the very best educational experience for all our pupils.
Today, in its 80th year, Stover is a fully Co-Educational Day and Boarding School for girls and boys aged 3-18 years.
Yes, how much has changed but how much stays the same; the core values of a high quality education in accordance with Christian principles of integrity, hard work, honesty and respect which were so important to the Founder of the school, Joan Dence, are just as important today. We have stayed true to our roots and heritage and I would now like to take you back to those roots.
As many of your know the Stover estate was built in 1777 by James Templer. He was a successful builder and bought the Estate of Teign Bruer (now Teigngrace) from a member of the Courtenay family. His son, also James, built the terraces around the Mansion and landscaped the grounds. He also oversaw the completion in 1790 of the Stover canal, one of the first commercial waterways in England.
His son, George succeeded him in 1813 and he built the Haytor Granite Tramway and over 100 years later a House Agent told Joan Dence about Stover. The familiar story of Joan Dence walking up the Portico steps, entering the splendid hall with the library doors open and the glorious moorland view, and she never had a moment’s hesitation… and so in 1932 Stover School was born. ‘The Story of Stover’ was published in 1982 and marked the 50th anniversary of the school and General Templer’s father Brigadier Cecil Templer wrote the preface to this book.
Those important core values of 1932 are still relevant today. To mark our 80th Anniversary, a Red Oak tree has been planted in the grounds which will mature and come to fruition over the next 80 years and I hope our core values of 2012 will remain our strength through to 2092 and beyond.
Technology has seen major advances during the last 80 years and one of our modern core values is the ability to communicate using a wide range of media within the global community. Our new interactive web site went live in the Spring term and we now have a presence on Facebook, You Tube and Twitter. The Stover App is about to go live and will enable newsfeeds together with the calendar, videos and website links to be downloaded on a regular basis. We have now started to develop our Parent Portal on the Stover Website. Another important core value is concern for our environment and our commitment to sustainability. The installation of the Biomass boiler will provide us with renewable energy for many years to come.
Stover pupils are proactive, well-motivated and participate and as you will see from your programme they have achieved success across all areas of school life; Academic, Sport, Music, Drama, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Bronze, Silver and Gold level, Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenges.
Our annual school magazines and newsletters also outline many other successes at an individual, Form, House and Whole School level.
This time last year we had just welcomed Mike Gatting to officially open our new sports pavilion and during the year we have hosted a number of tournaments. We are actively involved in the Sports Partnership with local maintained schools which provide opportunities for pupils to participate in additional sporting areas.
At Stover we set the bar high and our public examination results are testament to pupils’ hard work and determination. At GCSE and A Level there were outstanding individual performances. Our percentage of GCSE A * and A Grades saw an increase from 2011 building on an increase from 2010 and at A Level the percentage of A* and A Grades was 33%. Our teaching staff are passionate about their subjects and encourage every pupil to achieve their aspirations. I would like to thank them for their continued hard work and commitment.
At the start of the summer term we welcomed our first boys into the boarding community and following a very successful launch we expanded our accommodation for a further six places.
Our new school day structure introduced this term provides additional curriculum time and an opportunity for pupils to participate in an extensive range of activities during the school day.
The Friends of Stover continue to do sterling work and raise a huge amount of money to support school projects throughout the Nursery, Prep and Senior Schools. At the Annual General Meeting last week Mrs Lesley Turnbull and Mrs Lisa Cresswell were elected as joint Chairs for the coming year. The next event is Bonfire Night on Friday 2nd November, which will be followed by the Christmas Fair, a Quiz evening and a surprise event in the summer term.
At Stover we build foundations for the future and I hope that all our pupils will go out into the world and make a difference.
All of us have experienced our first day at Stover (pupils, parents, governors, staff and visitors). It maybe today, or perhaps at the start of this term or last year or many years ago.
For me, it was quite a few years ago and my first impression of Stover was one of a very special place. I hope that everyone has a similar memory which is special. All of us are here because of the vision of individuals who generations ago believed in the importance of education.
I say to all our pupils, it is important to keep an eye on your long-term vision; focus on each day, grasp the opportunities that everyday presents to move forward towards that vision. There will be challenges …. failures and successes along the way but remember ….. life is not a rehearsal. It is important to see the bigger picture but also to live in the present and make the most of everyday, enjoying it as well as working hard.
Mrs Bradley, Principal