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The Stonar Way 1 July 2022

Profile shot of Headmaster Matthew Way
  • Whole School

Mr Way writes about the end of the academic year and the last events taking place this month.

This week I thought that I might give you a flavour of my diary in the last week or so. In part, this time of year is about transition as we finalise timetables and plans for the next academic year. With this in mind, our new staff come in to meet with members of their department and to facilitate handovers. Whilst some new staff are replacing outgoing members of the Stonar team, others are simply new additions as we seek to expand our staffing, not least in the Prep School and in Senior School Maths, Science, English and Drama. I am very encouraged that we have been able to recruit so strongly with staff coming to us from Dauntsey’s, Royal High, Kingswood, Prior Park and Millfield, among other schools.

It is also a time for farewells, to our departing pupils and staff. We celebrate all they have done and reflect on their time with us during various events over this week and next. We are sad to see them go, but are excited for them all as they embark on the next stage of their journey.

I very much enjoyed teaching a Sixth Form History lesson to our Year 10s this week when they had their ‘Sixth Form Taster Day’. Looking great in their ‘business casual’ dress, they enjoyed the perks of Sixth Form life, like study periods (or frees as they call them!) and going into lunch early, as well as having Sixth Form lessons in the subjects they had chosen to take for the day. My History group looked at the Swinging 60s, which is part of the British History topic within the A Level, and we had some good discussions about the social changes that took place in that decade and subsequently.

I think they were quite shocked that in 1960 we still had capital punishment (we talked about the story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged. It really is a story worth looking up), women could not get a bank loan or mortgage, a person could be rejected for a job or housing on the basis of their race and/or religion and homosexuality was illegal. I hope many of them choose the course to find out more.

I spent last night under canvas with our Year 8s. Happily for me it was their second night out on a two day activity trip and by last night they were pretty tired and so settled down to sleep quickly after the camp fire games broke up at around 10.00pm. Today they were on the water and it was great to see them having such fun and working together to get food cooked, teams organised and games worked out. Indeed, Year 8 have enjoyed two school trips and this three day camp in the last week and a half and we can almost see the integration and socialisation catch up post-pandemic happening before our eyes. One of the features of this year for our pastoral team has been dealing with the challenges our young people have faced working out their relationships and friendships after having missed so much natural evolvement in this respect. These trips certainly help make up for that lost time.

On Sunday last week, I took the first ever Stonar Archery Team to a multi-school fixture held at Dauntsey’s. Mr Burns introduced Archery to our Clubs programme at the start of this term and it has proven to be very popular. The coaches who run the sessions felt that the pupils had made such good progress that they could participate in a schools’ competition. Our senior team even won team bronze. It was great fun and wonderful to see a constituency of pupils, not all of whom might normally be regulars in our sports teams, represent the School in this new and flourishing activity.

Finally, after my seventh prospective pupil visit of the week tomorrow morning, I am heading off to Tavistock. Not, on this occasion, to join our Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Expedition currently taking place on Dartmoor, but to the Summer Ball at Mount Kelly College, where I worked from 2001-06 and where we will be celebrating my godson’s leaving event. ‘Dad’ dancing, here we come (also to be seen next Friday night)!


I hope that you have a lovely weekend.

Matthew Way