5th September 2017
The following is the speech that Mr Rouse gave to students in years 7-11 on their first day of the year:
“Welcome back! It’s fantastic to see you all back, looking smart and ready to learn.
I worked out that, as the school started in 1904, this is probably the 114th September start! Think of all the girls that have sat where you sit now, wondering what the next year will bring. Simply by being here today and wearing that badge you join the countless thousands of young women that have gone before. Some of their names surround you in this very room and out in the vestibule. I have had the great fortune of meeting some of these women that remember their 7 years at St Anne’s so fondly. They have gone on to teaching, medicine, law, business, government, as well as the important things: being part of a family, a community, volunteering to help those around them, seeing a need and making a difference. Sometimes the needs around us in the world can seem so great and we are very small, but I take heart from the words of Mother Theresa: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
You are part of a really successful school. This year, our results have been amazing at GCSE and A Level. We have a 100% pass rate at A Level, and our GCSE results are, once again, the best in the city. We know what we are doing! Our brightest and best year 11s are joining us in year 12 as well as students from other schools joining us for the sixth form. You will be meeting them in tutor times on Fridays this year; a change that allows you to get a better understanding of what the sixth form is like, and a chance for them to put the leadership skills they have gained in the first five years of their time at St Anne’s to the test. Take the time to quiz them on how they got to where they are and learn from those who are just ahead of you on their educational journey.
What makes the school we belong to so successful? Well, we are a Catholic school, and like faith schools we are different. We know we all have a part to play, a moral duty, in making this world a better place, and it starts with ourselves. None of us are simply recipients, like cinema-goers, theatre-visitors or customers, sitting back and waiting for learning to somehow happen to us; we know we must take an active role in our learning because, in the end, our results at GCSE and A Level belong to us and no-one else. We aim to “be the change we want to see”, which has been our mantra in recent years. As a school, we are not like McDonalds or H&M; a business that provides a service for which our pupils are customers. We are a community, and we know that we succeed or fail together.
This leads me on to the second reason why I think we are so successful: our unity. We are a richly diverse community, coming from the full range of backgrounds and cultures, and this is something we celebrate. Our mission statement quite rightly says: “At St Anne’s we work together in our inclusive, richly diverse community where we are united by our shared values and not divided by our differences”.
So what are these shared values? As an LSU school, we are part of a worldwide community of schools; it is important to remember we are part of something bigger. The LSU charisms are Simplicity, Hospitality, Openness, and Warm Relations. These are words that I believe describe us as a school. If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to spend a bit of time thinking about how your actions each day promote these charisms. Our new rewards system is particularly focused on these charisms. We don’t do them to be rewarded, but it is nice to celebrate them when we see them happening.
So, as your Head of School, I look forward to seeing the great things you achieve this year, both in the classroom and beyond!”