It has been a great tradition at Shottery for the Year 13s to hold a Leavers Assembly every year. Unfortunately, yet another tradition has now been destroyed under the new regime. One of the current Year 13s has written about her feelings on the matter and I feel that this accurately reflects both the current Year 13's and my attitudes to the school. It would be interesting to hear what other people think about this:
'We found out today that we are not able to participate in an assembly to mark our time at Shottery on Thursday. Although I appreciate that this decision has been made and is unlikely to be changed now, I feel that our feelings and efforts haven’t fully been taken into account however much you feel that you have considered them. As a result of this I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you exactly why this has upset us and how much we feel this has impacted our time leaving Shottery.
In order to do this appropriately, I want to share with you some of the reasons behind choosing coming to Shottery. As a year six student from a town comprehensive primary, I remember seeing Shottery as a unique, passionate and happy place, unlike other schools I had visited in the area. What made Shottery different to anywhere else was the balance between great teaching, fantastic results and fun, distinctive traditions. Throughout my time here, events suchas classroom decorating, world book day and muck up day have been enjoyed and respected by all years, and the leavers assembly was a large part of this. As a student in the lower school, leavers assembly used to be something I looked forward to, not as a time of ridicule, but an opportunity to see the strengths of the relationships between the students and teachers allowing for such funny yet ultimately affectionate sketches to take place. I have watched six leavers assemblies and it is simply not true that they have become more offensive overthis time. A large part of the charm of these assemblies is that the same jokes and sketches are repeated, about particular teachers, KES boys, and the canteen staff. We, like other years before us have repeated these jokes, in good humourand with affection for the subjects of our sketches. As you have not read our scripts for many of these scenes, you do not know this, and instead have chosen to judge the assembly as a whole without having all the information necessaryto make a fair judgement.
As far as I am concerned the end of the leavers assembly is a continuation of the gradual loss of Shottery. The relaxed atmosphere of the school alive at the start of my time here combined excellent results and good work ethic with unique traditions and enjoyable events throughout the year, all whilst sharing positive relationships with teachers that we respect. Although you may deem this irrelevant,the introduction of vertical tutoring and the strict implementation of compulsory suits was not in keeping with the fun and relaxed spirit which made Shottery so special, and stopping this assembly is merely an extension of this. Shottery is not a structured private school, it is not a large comprehensive with the need for strict punishment, nor are we like any other grammar schoolsolely focused on exams. Shottery was a positive, enthusiastic place that trusted the students to work hard and awarded them with unique events and traditions. This has now gone, teachers that have arrived at the school in the last few years have attempted to change and structure Shottery. I admit changes which have been beneficial in some aspects, however in doing this the true spirit of Shottery has been lost, this has become evident to us today, with the end of the assembly.
Although the senior staff have stressed the fact that they have taken into account the efforts that have been put into this assembly, but that it is simply not true. Lydia has put in over two months of work at a critical time for her revision, speaking with teachers and trying her best to compromise between the happiness of both students and teachers. Sarah has put in equal amounts of hard work, helping us to write scripts and attending meetings across the recent weeks. Ontop of these two girls incredible hard work, the year as a whole has taken hours out of their time to rehearse, write and plan the assembly, time that is crucial at this revision point. To ban the assembly and make this hard work useless is cruel and extremely counter-productive in terms of time we could have given to revision instead.
Banning the assembly this close to the day is even more hurtful and we feel, completely unfounded compared to the effort put in to make this assembly appropriate and enjoyable for students and teachers alike. It’s a shame you feel unable to trust us, both as adults and students that like and respect our teachers, to leave the school in the way we anticipated and had prepared so much for. Unfortunately this has totally clouded our time leaving Shottery, which is unfair considering how hard we have worked across the years here, and how much we would have demonstrated our appreciation if given a fair chance.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, we just wanted as a year to express how upset we truly are at this situation, and how much of a shame it is that we’re leaving on unfortunately bad terms.'