Principal’s Blog 2016: Happy New Year Happy New Year to all of our parents and well wishers. Term has started again and already after a few days, it feels very calm and relaxed and all the great things that were happening last term have quietly been reignited.Rehearsals for Midsummer’s Night Dream are underway again and it is a joy to stand and watch and listen to our students grapple with Shakespeare. Learning the lines and speaking them with emphasis and meaning is the best way to learn Shakespeare’s work and to really understand the wit and clever use of language that characterise his plays. They certainly look as if they are enjoying it but they are also working very hard. The performance is in March – not long to go now. Meet the cast here.We are going to ride to South Africa in order to raise money for and with a school there that one of our students used to attend. The risk assessments we would need to complete to actually ride bikes all the way there was a little daunting so instead we are going to ride gym bikes, run on treadmills, use rowing machines and lap the field for the same distance and raise money through sponsorship. I write ‘we’ but it will all be down to the Academy Council and as many other students and staff as they can persuade to take part.The idea for the activity and the choice of charity was entirely down to the students – and I am very proud of their ambition to do something that will be absolutely exhausting and will require determination and grit. Those character traits – not giving in when things get tough, setting yourself ambitious targets – are exactly the goals we have for our students. Yes, we want them to pass exams but, much more, we want them to be employed and doing fulfilling work in the future and it is those character traits that will distinguish them from all the other young people who only have some examination grades to show for five years at secondary school. In the competition for the best jobs, we want our students to shine.In the last week of term, 250 of our students disappeared into the mist and drizzle of our playing fields in the Race for Life – also organised by students to raise money for a cancer charity. We still have our just giving page open if you feel you would like to help out. Watch out for more from our students on this next week.This is going to be a great term, even if it does rain the whole time! There is huge spirit in the school and we are working together well. Happy New Year.