We are now nearly three weeks into the summer term but the weather doesn’t seem to have made its mind up whether it’s Spring, Summer, Autumn or -as I cycled home on Wednesday night- Winter.

T.S. Eliot wrote ‘April is the cruellest month’ in the 1930s but, perhaps with climate change, he might write in 2019 that it is May. The welcome rhythm of school life this term is, however, unaffected by weather: examinations; athletics on the school playing fields; expeditions like DofE and the Alladale Wilderness experience; school trips like the Belgium Battlefield Tour.

In short, all of those things that happen every term, provided by staff that enrich the pupil experience and which we must all be grateful for.

I am conscious, as I take up my new post, that for the next year the cycle of school life for me won’t be as immediate; the daily interaction with young people and colleagues at the school less frequent. These, of course, were some of the things that weighed on my mind when I considered the opportunity I was offered. And while I will miss you, I feel that I have a duty to play my part as a council employee to help deal with and respond to an unprecedented crisis in local government; to take a leadership role in the Care & Learning service and to help colleagues, pupils and parents through the challenges we face and the change that needs to happen.

Inverness Royal Academy is in a good place, notwithstanding significant external pressures. The school roll continues to rise; placing requests continue to grow and the reputation of the school is secure. Our priorities for the coming year should be clear. Central to those, as it always should be in any school, is learning & teaching.

The greatest strength of any organisation is the quality of its staff. With the help of parents and school partners the next year is our opportunity to move an already good school on to being a very good school.

I have every confidence that as a team we have the capacity to do that.

Thank you for your expressions of support and your kind gifts.

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