Mr Searle’s end of year message

At the end of this very challenging academic year, Turton staff received an email from our Head of geography, Mr Searle. As we approach the summer break, tired and emotional, the email cuts through to the heart of why we do what we do. It has been uplifting to see students performing in the school show again, this year, to listen to the many talented students performing in the music concert and to see so many students enjoying and benefiting from educational visits off site. On the year 12 trip to Arran, year 12 students commented that this was their first school trip since they were in year 8!

Mr Searle is exceptional in his drive to ensure that students experience incredible outdoor educational opportunities, and this runs alongside the commitment of all Turton staff to provide the multitude of micro-educational opportunities that occur on a day by day basis for all our students.

Alain De Botton says: ‘There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.’ Every year I see teachers at Turton giving themselves wholeheartedly to the job, but never more so than in this year following two years of Covid disruptions. They make sacrifices in their own lives for a job that is worth doing and a purpose that is worth ‘fighting’ for: which is to give our students the best possible education for their futures and for the betterment of future society. And in the absence of a functioning government, with any morality, this ambition is more poignant than ever!

As we approach a well-earned summer break, I’d like to thank all the staff at Turton for their courage, their passion for the job and their humanity in all that they do. It is through these values that we build our community.

Mr Searle’s email:

Words cannot express . . . but they are going to have to make a valiant attempt. 

This has probably been the most exhausting but most rewarding summer term in my twenty plus years at Turton. What a remarkable and brilliant set of staff and students we have at our school. In the last three months we have been able to catch up some of the time lost to Covid. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award team have helped our students complete two Bronze and four Silver expeditions. In the last week of April over 60 Year 11s completed their Bronze expedition followed by nearly 70 Year 10s in May. This week saw 40 plus Year 12s and 13s complete their three-day Silver expeditions in the lake District (surviving the soaring temperatures on Tuesday). They followed on from the 58 students from 10P and 11P who completed their Silver expeditions the previous week walking over 40 kilometres from Coniston to Keswick.  

In the past year or so these students have volunteered over 2,000 hours in their local communities: too often unsung heroes helping friends, family and strangers through the tail end of the pandemic.  

None of this would be possible without the energy and commitment of the staff that have helped in so many ways. My special thanks must go to the members of the Geography Department (plus our new, and not so new, honorary members) who also took 141 GCSE students to Snowdonia and 42 A-Level students to Arran. For everyone who had to cover a lesson, thank you so much (and sorry, I can’t promise it won’t happen again, but it was definitely for a good cause).  

A massive thank you to those dedicated staff for whom working a 6.00am to midnight school day has made it all possible. In no particular order (except one dictated by an exhausted memory): David Hier, Jeanette Bimpson, Jon Riley, Tom Gilroy, Rik Hindle, Fran Crawford, Clare Smith, Megan Bithell, Joe Lomax, Mark Sykes, Ray Foy, Mark Barrow and, last but by no means least, Jeff Davies (who finally had a job where he didn’t risk losing any fingers.) 

My final thanks, and eternal gratitude, to Catherine Feehan, whose calm control and phenomenal organisation at Ground Control, has made everything possible. And to Jenna and Claire in Finance who have had to sort through the hundreds of receipts and ‘reconcile’ (whatever that means) the ParentPay accounts. 

And to everyone else, in whatever role, a massive “Thank you.”  

I’ll leave the final words to an elderly stranger, who spoke to me in the tiny Lake District village of Grange in Borrowdale on Thursday, having spent a few minutes with us, while the students had a well-earned ice cream break: “What an amazing group of wonderful young people: you must be so proud.” 

I am. We all are. It’s why we teach.  

Enjoy the holidays. 

Clive 

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