Principal's assembly 11th June 2019


Almost every day of their lives, professional sportsmen and women work hard to improve their performance. They concentrate on performance, note, not results. This is no different to you concentrating on your attitude to learning; look after your learning behaviours and your attainment grades will look after themselves.
In professional sport, the margins are often very fine. Again, though, that’s no different to school where the margin between a 7 and 8, for example, at GCSE is very fine indeed. Making marginal gains became synonymous with Team Sky cycling who knew that the margins between winning and losing on the track could come down to fractions of a second.
Sir Dave Brailsford, then boss of Team Sky and later Team GB, looked for any advantage his team could have over the opposition. The idea of marginal gains is that if you can improve lots of things by a small amount, the net result can make the difference between winning and losing. 
This wasn’t just about producing a bike that was a bit better than the rest or a helmet that dissipated heat more quickly. It also included cyclists taking the same pillow around the world with them, believing that the comforts of home would produce more sleep and therefore a fitter, happier athlete. It also included teaching the cyclists how to wash their hands, knowing that the killing of germs would lead to athletes who got ill less often.
In more recent years, Team Sky has become mired in controversy – with its integrity questioned – but the success of British cycling, especially in the Olympics and Tour de France, has been immense.
We have started a great year of sport. Joe Root, Phil Neville, Tracey Neville and Eddie Jones will all be looking for England success in their respective sports. Some of you, I know, want one day to emulate our elite athletes; others use sport to maintain physical health. What I think we can all do is apply strategies and mindset of the elite to our own everyday lives.
How can you show the kind of inquisitiveness that led Brailsford to question all aspects of his sport, from the most basic to the most sophisticated?
How can you demonstrate the kind of ambition that has enabled Tracey Neville to turn around our netball fortunes?
How can you show the level of creativity that has prompted Jones to explore what has worked across other sports and then apply it to rugby union?
How can you display the kind of resilience that Joe Root has shown to take England cricket from one day flops to favourites for this World Cup?
How can you create a feel good factor in the way that Phil Neville has made a positive difference to England Women’s football team?
So far this year, our teachers have awarded 103 Commendations for displays of these 5 key attributes? Don’t waste the last month of term. What can you do in the next four weeks to add one to your achievements this year?
 
 

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