As I reflect on an exciting first half-term of the academic year I can’t help but hope our Year 11 students who have their external exams this year have been heeding the advice given to them to use their time wisely and start revising now rather than leave it to the last minute next summer.

Over the last few years it has become apparent that many of our students lack belief in their own capabilities and whilst as a staff we have been doing our best to persuade the students to believe in themselves, it hasn’t always had the impact we would have wished for.

This year we have decided to do something a little bit different, after all, as the famous Albert Einstein is quoted as saying ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’.  So we have started the year being explicit about our belief in the students, talking to them about the power of truly believing and the dangers of not believing.

I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for young people today, for the pressures they face and the unfair criticism they so frequently have aimed at them.  It is this that drives our staff to want our pupils to achieve the very best for themselves, to give them the determination and develop the resilience to overcome any challenges they face.  To build resilience however, we have to overcome setbacks and be strong enough to not let that impact on our self-belief. 

I am a firm believer in developing strong relationships amongst staff and students at school, after all, we spend almost as much time together as we do with our own families.  It is because of this that I like to give the students something of an insight into my life and interests outside of work, I suppose my thought process is that if they can see how I have struggled against the odds to achieve something then maybe they can do the same.  I spoke to the students in a recent assembly about the power of belief and my regrets about not believing in my own capabilities this summer whilst representing Great Britain in a cycling competition in Poland.

I had made it to the finals and was up against some ex-professionals as well as some of the best amateur road cyclists in the world.  For me to have qualified for the Finals was an achievement in itself and my primary goal was to make it through the race without crashing or getting left behind!  And that was my big mistake.  Rather than feel that I had earned my place in that final and believe that I could actually win, I was just grateful to be on the starting line. As I crossed the line after 93 miles of racing 5 seconds behind the World Champion I stopped and thought to myself ‘I could have won that, if only I had believed I was capable’.  And that became my message to the Year 11 students, don’t let next summer be your ‘5 seconds’.  Belief can be a tremendous power and too often it is a power we simply don’t ignite.

Of course many of you will have seen in the local press the far more exciting and motivational message of belief that was delivered by some far more influential people than me.  A huge thanks to Mr Hudson and Miss Bennett who went above and beyond to inspire our students with a few messages from some of their celebrity friends.  Now let’s hope our students get the message and truly start believing in themselves.

Click on the image below to see the video.