Headmaster’s Welcome Letter

26th April 2019

Dear Parents, Pupils and Friends of Stover School,

Welcome back to Stover for the beginning of the Summer Term. I hope you all enjoyed an excellent Easter break and that you made the most of the stunning weather over the bank holiday weekend.

While we have been spending time away from school, the Estates team have been hard at work improving the facilities for our pupils and staff. Jubilee Hall has been equipped with new high powered LED floodlighting, along with the all-weather sports cover. The Devon Lady classrooms have been painted and re-carpeted, while the second stairwell in the Mansion House has been redecorated in keeping with the first, which was upgraded last summer. In the Preparatory School the final dorm in the old Boarding wing has been converted into a classroom that Year 3 are now enjoying, alongside the general update and re-decoration programme continuing in the building. In Park House, the team have begun the upgrading programme for the sanitary facilities. Finally around the grounds a number of the pathways have been edged, making them much smarter and Mr Stephens has continued with the final preparations of our new grass wicket for the pending cricket season. I would like to extend my thanks to the team for the considerable workload they took on over the holiday and the improvement they have delivered for our benefit.

Looking to the summer, the Estates team will be continuing the sanitary update in the Park boarding facility, as well as removing the last of our dorm accommodation on the top floor, reconfiguring the space to create single and double room accommodation for our boarders. They will oversee the conversion of the top floor of the Mansion building into classroom space, which the languages department will move into and also creating two new science laboratories for our scientists. 

On the staffing front, after many years of sterling service, Liz Evans has announced that she will retire from the languages department this summer. Liz epitomised all that is good about Stover and will be sorely missed. I am pleased that Mrs Hannah Rice has been appointed to take on Liz’s teaching load from September and I wish Liz every happiness in her much deserved retirement.

As always, the Summer Term is a busy one, with a host of events, fixtures and performances scheduled. Please do refer to the school calendar and plan your diaries to enable you to support as many as possible. There are a few significant ones that I would like to flag.

The first of these is the Young Art Devon exhibition that will take place in Torre Abbey on Friday 3rd May. Our Art Department and 6th Form pupils played a significant role in setting up this initiative last year and it attracts entrants from school across the whole of Devon. As last year, a number of our pupils have enjoyed success in the competition, so please do attend and support the event.

The following week, after the May Bank Holiday, sees us host the first Stover School Arts Week. During the week you can enjoy the outstanding summer music concert and a performance of an original play, “Harvey Too”, which has been initiated and driven by our younger senior drama students, with Mr Balfour’s able guiding hand. In addition, to close the week, join us at the Arts and Photography Exhibition, in which our GCSE and A level art students show off their exceptional arts entries.

The final school Open Morning of the year takes place on Saturday 11th May; as always, our pupils will show off their school and be excellent advocates for all that Stover has to offer. Please do encourage any interested family or friends to pay us a visit. Of course, you are welcome too, if there is a part of the school you would like to come and explore.

Sports Day for both the Preparatory and Senior School is scheduled for Friday 21st June. Let’s hope the weather is accommodating, as sunshine always helps you to enjoy the cream scones and give your full support to the pupils who are straining to win as many house points as possible and ensure that their house lift the House Athletics Cup.

The very next day sees the friends of Stover inviting the wider community onto the site for the Stover Summer Fair. This event has a lovely feel every year, with everything from African drumming, to a dog show, to rifle shooting and more on offer. I am sure the Friends will welcome as much help as possible in setting up and running the event, so please do contact the school office if you would like to get involved in the organisation.

Then suddenly we are close to the end of the term, with our annual Speech Day and Prize Giving on Friday 28th June, closely followed by the Summer Ball, which will take place on the evening of Saturday 29th June. I would like to thank those parents who have already supported this event by donating some very generous prizes for the auctions that form part of the event; your kindness is very much appreciated. 

In amongst all of this excitement of course, there is the serious matter of examinations. Our Year 11 and Upper Sixth Form begin immediately with the art assessments, before the formal written examinations follow on. Please give your children the best possible support during this stressful time and don’t hesitate to contact the relevant teachers if you need advice. I wish them all the best of luck but am sure, with their thorough preparation that luck won’t come into it. Of course, over the next couple of weeks subject teachers will be pointedly focussed on past paper preparation and a final honing of examination technique to ensure that every pupil is best advantaged in achieving their very best. Our Year 7 and 8 pupils will completing their summer examinations in the fortnight before the half term break, with the Year 9 and 10 pupils completing their yearly assessments in the week after the half term. Again, if you need advice or have queries, please contact your child’s form tutor.

Focussing on sport, I am pleased to announce that the sports department are launching a new initiative this term to ensure that our elite sports players are progressing and improving at the best possible rate. Each term elite sports girls and boys will be invited to join a weekly training programme which focusses on practical skills and the theory behind elite performance. The training programmes of these individuals will be co-ordinated across school, club and private activity using a training and performance diary structure, to ensure that collected goals are being pursued and achieved. To inspire our sportsmen and women, commencing in the Autumn Term, a programme of flagship speakers and visitors will be invited to the school to deliver masterclasses to our pupils. I would like to thank our sports department staff for the inspiration and effort they have put into launching this initiative.

The sports department would also like to improve the way in which fixtures and team lists are shared with pupils and parents and to this end, this term will be trialling a new system. Each week, all team sheets will be posted on the PE noticeboard, outside the staffroom.  Pupils who are involved in fixtures will check the board weekly and record details of times and venues.  The fixture list and individual team sheets will also be available for parents and pupils to access on the school website under: Senior School / Departments / Physical Education.  To ease the transition for our pupils, this term, team sheets will be available for pupils to take away from the PE noticeboard.

To conclude, thank you for your continuing support of the school. This term is always the one in which the school buildings and the grounds are at their best and I hope to see you enjoying them at one of the many events your children will be enjoying.

Kindest regardsMr Richard Notman

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