Staff and pupils at the school are involved in dozens of projects, covering all aspects of the Salopian experience – academic, co-curricular and pastoral. Great time and energy goes into the planning and delivery of these projects, but the effort is always worthwhile as we engage with partners, collaborating for mutual benefit. The sheer range and quality of what we achieve together gained recognition in this year’s Independent Schools of the Year awards – an accolade we can quietly enjoy, but one which spurs us on to do even more!
Among the academic highlights of the term has been the launch of our STEM Potential programme in conjunction with Imperial College London and working with colleagues from Oundle School. A cohort of 14 gifted Year10 students from schools across Shropshire in the Marches Academy Trust attended two virtual conferences. The topics presented and explored have been wide-ranging, challenging and intellectually stimulating: analysing the soundscape in rainforests to assessing impact of human activity on biodiversity; potential Alzheimer’s treatment using ultrasound drug delivery; the mechanism of zebrafish healing; measuring gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes; GCSE rates of chemical reaction; mathematical coincidences (or not); GCSE DNA Replication and uses in Covid testing; and the various ways to measure distance across the universe. My thanks go out to colleagues in the Marches Academy Trust for their support in setting up the partnership. Closer to home, my thanks go to the Science Department at the School, and in particular to David Wray, our Head of Science Outreach, who has co-ordinated and in addition provided additional inspirational materials via e-bulletins. Early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with one participant commenting – ‘I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the event. I think it was brilliantly planned and can't wait for the next one to take place!’ and another stating ‘the experience was fascinating and educational and all-round fun to do’.
Our ‘Dedicated Athletes Programme’ continues to flourish, albeit in remote mode also, in support of 14 talented and ambition young sportsmen and sportswomen from Shrewsbury Academy School, Meole Brace School and the Priory School. We have set up access to strength and conditioning sessions and are providing mentoring to help aid sporting development across a range of sporting specialisms. We are looking to provide these young athletes with the knowledge and regimes required to further develop and to maximise future potential, possibly in the professional arena. My thanks goes to the PE Department here at School, especially to our Lead in S&C, Sam Mitchell, and also to the Heads of PE from our partner schools for their support.
As ever the School has been active with charity work, fundraising and volunteering over the term. Although a direct physical presence has been largely impossible due to Covid restrictions, we have endeavoured to maintain and develop our support for local charities, creatively looking at ways to engage. A good many of our music concerts on site have been recorded, edited and sent to a number of local care homes. Through a programme run by a charity called ‘Kissing It Better’ we are training a group of our Lower Sixth Students in order to gain skills in talking with vulnerable and lonely elderly people and will soon be engaging in practice. Our Global Social Leaders have been working hard and inventively to maintain our strong link with the Food Bank+ in Coleham, with collections of goods and planning of fundraising events in lieu of the sad loss of this year’s Christmas Fayre. Similarly, as we near the end of a busy and productive term, we are preparing to support the Shewsy and its ‘Big Give’ campaign – where all funds raised by the Salopian Community up to £20k will be match-funded. We hope that we can raise significant sums of money for both the Shewsy and the Food Bank+ between now and the end of term – your support for both, so close and so important to the Salopian Community, and above all so vital serving their respective communities, will be much appreciated.
Stuart Cowper, Head of Partnership and Community Engagement