As part of a wide consultation programme, the Headmaster, Mark Turner, recently briefed Old Salopian audiences on the future plans for the School, referred to as Shrewsbury’s ” 2020 Vision”. The first briefing took place in the distinguished surroundings of the Royal Automobile Club in London on 9 May. This was followed by a second event on 11 May at Gawsworth Hall in Cheshire, the delightful 13th century home of Tim and Elizabeth Richards.
On both occasions the Headmaster was eloquently introduced by the OS President, Richard Barber, who also took the opportunity to inform Old Salopians of the ongoing governance review within the Club.
Mark Turner’s presentations covered a wide range of topics. He described the broad engagement strategy he had embarked upon and the need to reflect on his findings before considering any changes. The School was rated as “outstanding” in all respects, following two high profile inspections. An extensive survey had been carried out incorporating the views of parents, pupils, staff and Old Salopians. Some of the headline banners were as follows:
- 56% of parents have attended boarding school.
- The 3 most popular words to describe Shrewsbury are: “Rounded, Welcoming and Sporting”.
- The 3 least popular words to describe the School are: “Pompous, Unapproachable and Unresponsive”.
- 95% of pupils are well-disposed to the School.
- 90% of parents feel that the School had met or exceeded their expectations.
- Areas for improvement included academic achievement, the quality of food and improvement of the facilities within some of the boarding houses.
The Head highlighted that there was now overwhelming support for the co-educational Sixth Form at Shrewsbury. The School’s governors had taken the decision to opt out of league tables, as these did not represent a true measure of a first-class, all round education. This was very much in line with leading academic schools including Winchester, Eton and St Paul’s. The School continued to achieve huge success in the fields of sport, drama, music and art. He viewed the OS Club as resurgent and that the current review provided a great opportunity for positive changes.
The School was keen that Old Salopians continued to recommend a Shrewsbury education to others, based on their knowledge and affection for the School. The “2020 vision” is a “road-map” setting out the type of School Shrewsbury will strive to be over the next decade. Mark Turner concluded his presentation by stating that in all of the feedback to date, the one thing that must definitely not be changed about the School is the “Spirit of Shrewsbury” - that indefinable mix of history, geography, culture and comradeship that binds Old Salopians, staff, parents and pupils to Shrewsbury School.
At each of the events the Headmaster threw the floor open for questions - Old Salopians were not backwards in coming forwards! Questions covered assistance to those unable to afford full fees, league tables, opening entry up to girls in all age groups, adoption of the International Baccalaureate and international, national and regional links. A fuller description of the Headmaster’s presentation and the questions and answers from both events are available from the OS Club.