09 November 2020

The Monday Briefing: Ticket to Ride

The Monday Briefing: Ticket to Ride

2020 has, undoubtedly, brought little cheer. 

Monumental catastrophes like the Australian bushfires, the accidental shooting down of a Ukranian passenger plane by the Iranian regime and the deadly explosion in Beirut have all been dwarfed by the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent worldwide economic downturn. Personally, I can not recall a year which has lived up to the maxim ‘from bad to worse’ as suitably. To place the cherry on the icing on the cake, a hero of mine, Sean Connery, passed away in the last week or so. Famous largely for his depiction of ‘007’ in seven James Bond films, I look back most fondly on his work as the quirky father of the title star in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He was larger than life, and he oozed class in every performance, winning an Oscar for his role in the Untouchables. As a fellow Scot, I know that his influence will be greatly missed - and that his legacy will go on for many years to come.

In a similar vein, my predecessor Dr Ian Moores has left a legacy at Ealing Independent College which will live on for the foreseeable future. When he took on the role as Principal, it was little more than a tutorial College which looked to turn around the futures of those who had run into difficulty when seeking entry to medical courses at university. From humble beginnings come great things and years of nurturing dedication have resulted in what can only be described as a transformation. The College now offers real opportunity to all students, of all abilities, who seek a wide range of subsequent steps - and nurturing talent is what we do here. It is a place where students now choose to come - because they can be sure that the quality of teaching is excellent, where there is certainty that pastoral support is never compromised and where their parents can rest easily in the knowledge that a partnership, creating a robust support network, is quickly and firmly established. A dedication towards ensuring extensive knowledge of all of our students on an individual basis allows for our success.

With the transition of power in the United States now underway, and the demise of President Trump at the weekend, I felt, for the first time in a long time, some real optimism about prospects for the medium term on a global stage. I was very impressed with the conduct of Joe Biden during the campaign. He was calm, measured, and projected a presidential image throughout. Having overcome a severe stammer in his early years, and personal tragedy when his wife and daughter died in a car crash in 1972, he has shown incredible resilience in being elected as president at his third attempt. He is by no means perfect, but his dedication to unity over division is exactly what the world needs at this point. He said in 2016, when asked if he would run for President, that “Nobody has a right … to seek that office unless they’re willing to give it 110% of who they are.” His son had recently died of brain cancer and he was overcome with grief. Biden has now broken records in terms of vote count in seizing his opportunity in 2020 at the right time, and he intends to use it for the good of the nation. Since the result emerged, he has shown a desire to get on with the job.

I’m hopeful that a deserving student seizes their opportunity next week in our annual Dr Ian Moores Scholarship Competition. The College takes great pride in offering a generous scholarship package to potential students and this year is no different. A maximum of two full scholarships and two half scholarships are available, and the rewards of such a prize can be truly life changing. 

For proof of this, one needs only to look at our last two scholarship winners. Both Namit and Ahmed performed outstandingly to win fully funded places at the College, both came to us from local state schools and both are seizing their opportunity enthusiastically. 

Namit, in year 13, already has an A* to his name, having sat Mathematics in one year during his first year of A Level with us, and he is currently in the process of applying to Cambridge University whilst embellishing his A Level profile through Further Maths, Physics and Computer Science. He has had extensive support throughout his time at the College with regards to small class teaching and his UCAS application, but, because of his mindset, geared towards hard work and realising his potential, he has made the most of what is on offer here.

Ahmed, currently in year 12, was an exemplary student last year. He performed tremendously well in his GCSEs, contributed to College life where he could, being a Running Club and Football Club regular and picked up no ‘Red Card’ demerits all year. Like Namit, he is driven and ambitious, already having targeted a career in Dentistry. He has also started year 12 excellently, affirming the rewarding of the scholarship prize from earlier this year. 

I am convinced that without the contribution of the College, both students would have been significantly further from their goals - or perhaps would have already abandoned them. Both students have been the beneficiaries of a golden opportunity, and both students have shown great respect to the award by adopting a diligent, conscientious and industrious approach in pursuit of self-improvement.

Due to the pandemic, the award this year will have to take on a slightly different format. We won’t be able to host the test in College as in previous years. I had also arranged with Dr Moores to be there in person, but due to lockdown this sadly won’t be able to happen either. I know that he would have provided an inspirational introduction for the evening, and it would have been wonderful to see him again to discuss how he has been getting on since he retired in the summer. Nonetheless, the College has shown that it can continue to function more than adequately in the face of the pandemic - and the competition will be no different. We will alter the tasks set to ensure fairness and factor in an interview stage for the leading contenders. Google Classroom has allowed us to adapt our approach - and I look forward to seeing what the applicants come up with next week.

  • 05


    The Monday Briefing: More of That Jazz

    The sort of leadership which empowers others to make an impact, at all levels - which nurtures that desire, supports it, guides and advises it, and ce...

  • 22


    Monday Briefing: Seaside Rendezvous

    Throughout my career, I’ve attended a number of continuing professional development conferences and gatherings, with varying success. Some have been i...

  • 15


    The Monday Briefing: Good Company

    The College is in a strong position at present, close to capacity, but moving to expand possible numbers so that demand for places can be satisfied.

  • 09


    Monday Briefing 9th May 2023: Back chat

    Ealing Independent College is in a privileged position to be part of Bellevue Education. Firstly, crucial support is in place in terms of governance f...

  • 02


    The Monday Briefing: Dog With a Bone

    When parents come with their children for interviews at the College, a common theme they discuss when explaining why they are considering coming to EI...

  • 24


    The Monday Briefing: Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

    I had the privilege yesterday of being in attendance for one of the most remarkable London Marathons in recent memory.  It will go down in history for...

  • 17


    The Monday Briefing: Battle Theme

    It’s very rare for me to be working on a Saturday. That day of the week is usually sacrosanct in terms of being a day of rest. A day for me and the fa...

  • 27


    The Monday Briefing: In Only Seven Days

    I’ve noticed a remarkable change within some students in the College this week. With mock exams commencing on Thursday, students have truly embarked u...

  • 20


    The Monday Briefing: Goin' Back

    A question I’m often asked by students around this time of year is: ‘how should I revise?’ The answer to this query is never an easy one, as students ...

  • 13


    The Monday Briefing: The Invisible Man

    Moral fibre: The capacity to do what is right, no matter the circumstance. A person with moral fibre does not do things to intentionally harm others, ...

  • 07


    Y12 Conference - Exploring post A Level options

    Possible routes to become a solicitor, a day in the life of an Oxford University student, and degree apprenticeships were some of the topics of the an...

  • 06


    The Monday Briefing: Drowse

    Last week, the blog focused on the first of a series of comment pieces aimed at providing useful advice for the maximisation of preparedness for the e...