Welcome to Arden and the start of what promises to be another very exciting and dynamic year. Each September we look forward to welcoming new staff and students to our successful school community. We are all anticipating a fantastic year ahead and can assure every student joining the Arden family they will be inspired to reach their full potential and develop into happy, well-rounded young adults. At Arden we pride ourselves on creating an environment where each student can truly flourish and we would encourage them to experience the many opportunities on offer.
Once again this has been evidenced by the very impressive results achieved at GCSE and A level. These results are even more remarkable in light of the changes in the examination structure and the bar being significantly raised nationally. Congratulations to two special year groups in achieving such fantastic results and attaining their personal goals. We wish them all the very best for the future and every success in their lives ahead.
Academic success is obviously measurable but at Arden we pride ourselves on creating students who aspire to enjoy other opportunities. Students who were involved in ‘Grease’ towards the end of the summer term deserve every plaudit they received. Again, the production was a huge team effort; students, staff and parents all pulling together, ensuring the production was truly amazing. I am extremely proud of everyone involved and would like to thank parents for the time and commitment they showed to their children and the school.
At its heart, Arden is a community school. We are justifiably proud of the number of students who want to represent their peers, their school and their community; many are motivated by wanting to ‘give something back’. Student bodies such as the School Council are a key component of life at Arden and students are actively involved in the wider community particularly with our local primary schools. These relationships will undoubtedly help shape the future of our neighbourhood and keep Arden firmly at its heart.
All our students attend our annual Dedication Service at Knowle Parish Church in the first week of term. Below is the speech Alisha Sharman one of Sixth Form Presidents made at the Dedication Service - please read her words as they are very important for us all.
I would like to conclude by wishing every member of the Arden family a successful and fulfilling year ahead.
Martin P Murphy
Year 12 Dedication Service Speech at Knowle Parish Church 5th September 2018
Good Afternoon Year 12, if you are sitting in this church right now I think it’s pretty safe to say that you did well in your GCSE’s. To show such resilience and perseverance in a time full of uncertainty and pressure and to still come out on top is commendable and you should be very proud of yourselves.
One year ago today I walked into this church and sat down, exactly where you are right now, and I was absolutely terrified. I sat there listening to every word of every speech, the words ‘success’ and ’achieve‘ spinning around my head, thinking how could I ever attain my target grades, how could I still be the student who consistently performed, was it time to say goodbye to Alisha as I knew her and make room for non-stop working and no social life? Now I have to admit, all of these thoughts were there way before I walked into the church, and I think the sixth form memes are partly to blame for that, but nevertheless I was so overwhelmed by anxiety and panic over what I thought sixth formwas going to be like, I had to walk out.
Now one year on I stand before you, in the same church I walked out of a year ago today, to tell you everything is going to be ok, everything is ok. Everysingle one of the year 13’s next to you entered the sixth form with a different perception of what it was going to be like, and so will every one of you. If you’re excited and ready for the new journey ahead of you, that’s great! If you are slightly hesitant and need a bit of time to make the transition, that is just as valid, the chances are you are not alone.
There will be a number of highs and a number of periods where you will need to push yourself along the way, but the rewards at the end are so worth it. At the end of the day, you get out what you put in, and there are so many resources and lines of support available to you, in the privileged position you are in, to get the best outcome possible. As Malala Yousafzai said, ‘let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.’ Don’t forget that you are allowed to have a life too, nothing is going to fall apart if you take one day off.
It is at this new beginning and at the start of this new journey that I feel it’s so important to emphasise the value of kindness and friendship. You do not know the battles those around you are facing on a daily basis- kindness is free and vital as everyone faces new challenges and we all move at our different paces. Now is the time to put the pettiness and negativity of the past behind you; forget about the arguments over prom cars and dates in Year 10 and step above the need to be seen a certain way or do what others do.
You do not need to be better than anyone, just better than the person you were yesterday. If you’re not doing well or you are struggling, whether that is with your work or emotionally, please speak out- its ok to not be ok. Look out for each other and be kind to one another, but most importantly be kind to yourself.
The next two years will be full of memories, laughter, some tears and some challenges; and if you jump in now with the mindset that ‘everything is going to be ok’ like I should have a year ago the positivity you attract will shine through your work and everything you do here at Arden Sixth Form.
Alisha Sharman (Year 12)
5th September 2018