Established 1588 ffree Grammer Schole of Newport

Being Head Boy

 ‘What is it like being Head Boy?’

Like all 21st century adolescents, the first thing I did after reading this question was roll up my sleeves and Google it. As lazy as it seems, I don’t think I have once seriously answered this question since my inter-view this time last year. It’s not because I don’t want to, but I can’t; at Newport, there is simply too much to talk about. Of all the 169 million results that came up, each was as boring and inaccurate as the next. So, to save you the bother, I’ve kindly researched it for you.

It all starts with some organisation. At the end of last year, we (Head Boy, Head Girl and deputies) were given the task of showing off our Sixth Form to the soon to be Year 12s on ‘Induction Day’. Excited by the responsibilities, in hindsight, I am prepared to admit that we got a bit carried away. With an ice cream van, bouncy castle, live music, barbeque, DJ and sports, there wasn’t a shortage of things to do on a Wednesday afternoon. We even splashed out on some sunny weather too. Plus, to afford all these extras, we held a Sixth Form Social event that Friday, where the students were encouraged to come along and integrate with the Sixth Form. Preparing for an event like this takes time - especially the health and safety - but I am so happy with how it came together, and proud of all the Sixth Form team for the warm welcome that we gave.

But of course, this isn’t a normal day at Joyce Frank-land for us. At the start of the 2014/5 academic year, it mostly consisted of listening to moans for a kitchen and giving the Sixth Form a face lift. After appeals for a kitchen finally got through, Joyce’s café was declared open, and the teas and coffees rolled in; closely followed by a parade of Prefects asking for money.

Later on in 2014, we were invited to the annual Old Newportonian dinner. It was a fantastic night, where current sixth formers got to meet past students, and learn more about the society. What really pleased me is that students wanted to go to this event. There is a general perception here that staying in touch with New-port’s unique heritage is just as important as its future. For a Friday night, this was an encouraging sign for the future participation of the ON society. After an amazing performance from Shakila Karim, I made my speech ad-dressed to the ON Society, thanking them for their continued support of the Academy. It is a privilege to be a part of these events and I have no doubt that these traditions will continue.

Sometimes it’s easy for us Sixth Formers to forget about the lower years, but however long ago that seems, we were once in their size five shoes too. Therefore, it’s opportunities like the Lower School Christmas Assembly that we really push prefects to get involved in. The youth talent that the Academy has is incredible, making our lives in helping to organise events like this relatively simple. With a few nudges in the right direction, what they achieved was remarkable. Live performances, home-made videos, presentations, readings and hymns were all features in the Church event, adding a modern day twist to a Christmas tradition. The assemblies went so well, we even got the Year 11s singing along! If that doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what will.

All these examples of prefect organisation really show off what I believe the Sixth Form is all about. In every single event that we were involved in, the students were put first. It makes us proud to be here, because we feel more valued and a part of the Academy, and quite rightly so. For most of us, after seven years of developing here, we know the Academy better than anyone. This is something which I really picked up on at Sixth Form Open Evening. Nearly the entire Sixth Form turned up voluntarily to have their say and the prefect team held the welcoming speech, talking about their experiences at Joyce Frankland. Speaking to the parents afterwards, it’s this different way of doing things that they loved and had never seen done before. The potential students also picked up on the unique atmosphere, and the high number of external applicants said they would feel comfortable being a part of the Sixth Form already. It made me proud to represent our Sixth Form, and I hope to see them all next year, on my visits back to Joyce Frankland!

Andrew Draper

(Head Boy 2014-2015)