Principal's assembly 2nd April 2019


1927 was an amazing year.
The year saw the renaming of our country, from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 5 years after Irish independence, we officially recognised what is now the Republic of Ireland.
Charles Lindbergh, a 25 year old army officer, made the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight. The 3,600 mile journey from Long Island to Paris took him 33 and a half hours and his achievement inspired significant further improvements in aviation. Later in the year, Mercedes Gleitzer became the first British woman to swim the
Sir Malcolm Campbell set a new world land speed record covering the Flying Mile at 174.224 m.p.h. driving the Napier-Campbell Blue Bird, the last time this record was set in the UK.
George Herman Ruth, known to sports fans as Babe Ruth, established himself as one of the greatest sportsman of all time that summer. A massive hitter and larger than life character, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs during that baseball season.
Over here, another era of dominance began as Joe Davis won the first world snooker championship and continued to do so every year until 1940. We also saw the first live sports broadcast on the BBC, a rugby union game between England and Wales. The first televised football match came a week later.
The era of the talking film began with the release of The Jazz Singer. In the UK, future saxophonist and famous club owner Ronnie Scott was born.
In the US, Henry Ford moved away from the Ford Model T and introduced the Model A, his second commercially successful car.
Not everything went quite so well for Henry Ford. Over the centuries, we’ve seen many attempts at creating model societies, utopias, some politically driven, others less ambitious but providing better living conditions, like our own Saltaire.
Ford was driven partly by a philanthropic instinct – he wanted to found a city for his workers based on the values that had made his company successful – and partly by the desire for cheaper rubber to cut costs on the tyres for his vehicles. So, he started to build a city in the Amazonian jungle of Brazil.
The site of Fordlandia was close to a tributary of the Amazon but set on a peak to avoid flooding. He built modern hospitals, schools, cinemas and factories. The workers took time to settle in their new surroundings.
The main problem, though, was that they simply couldn’t produce the rubber. Even attempts to grow new rubber trees were destroyed by blight. The city couldn’t pay its way and was eventually deserted with the Ford corporation receiving a fraction of what it had originally paid, never mind the building costs.
So much for the utopia. The best laid plans came to nothing.
I mention this in the context of the plans that many of you will be making for the Easter holidays. For years 11 and 13, this is the most significant revision period you have had so far. No doubt pupils in years 10 and 12 will also plan some learning for their up-coming mocks.
Do take a couple of days to relax and forget about school. You need to hit May/June with energy as well as knowledge so don’t burn out too early.
Do maintain exercise during the holidays. There’s plenty of evidence that continued attention to health and fitness boosts your capacity for learning. Keep your revision active too – avoid passive re-reading of notes.
Do get up early and work in the morning. That will give you the space later in the day to relax, socialise, go to the gym or get fresh air. Eat breakfast first, though, as that helps concentration and memory.
Do your best to stick to your revision schedules. Some days you will manage your six or seven hours of work, others it will be four or five.
Do remember that there is no revision utopia. It might feel like a slog some days. Do stay focussed on the end goal: that day in August when you get your results. Make sure you can look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you couldn’t have given it any more.
As a School, we will never ask for more than that.

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