Give &,

Speech Day 2023

Our annual Speech Day was held on Thursday 21st December 2023. The school’s choir greeted the students and guests as they entered the hall with Christmas Carols.

Mr Garrity, Headteacher welcomed the audience with his address. Prize winners were announced by Mrs Allen, Head of Sixth Form and prizes were awarded by the guest of honour and former QEGS student, Christina Lewis. In her inspirational address, Chrissie talked about her experience of school and her time since leaving QEGS.

Prayers were led by The Revd. Nigel Rode and everyone retired to the canteen for refreshments.

The event was live streamed, and a recording is now available to watch using the link below.

Speech – Mr S Garrity, Headteacher

Welcome everyone to Speech Day. I am Mr Garrity and I am so proud and honoured to be here this evening as your headteacher.

Thank you for attending and if unable to attend, we hope you are joining us from the comfort of your own home via the live link or watching a recording.

Here onsite, we have our prize winners, their parents and family members, our staff, our governors, our sponsors of prizes, and our invited guests from the community. On stage, we have our Trust CEO Anne Martin, head of sixth form Louise Allen, Assistant Head Steve Bembridge and our special guest and presenter of prizes, Christina Lewis – welcome Christina.

Christina, it is a real honour to have you as our guest speaker and I know that as an ex-QEGS student, this means a lot to you and your family.

Christina will be speaking to us a little later, about her time at QEGS and beyond. About the challenges and successes, she has experienced and how she has seized the opportunities that have been available to her. Such a fantastic journey of breaking down barriers, I know our guests will want to hear your story.

I know that each speaker we invite back to school always echoes the conversation I was having with a group of political representatives who recently visited the school to talk to Yr13.

With the imminent general election, we hosted a Q and A with input from the Lib Dems, The Green Party, Labour, and the Conservatives. My discussion with them prior to their grilling was about how a school education is about so much more than just grades! We all agreed that grades are just one indicator, and they are important – but so are teamwork, problem solving, debating, listening, caring empathising, being resilient and helping others. These are skills which few exams assess, and they often put to the test in everyday life, in work, in relationships and in friendship. Whilst we will have all sat exams at 16, 18 and maybe 21 to end stages of our education. The learning of ‘people skills’ and ‘life skills’ never stops.

A great example of this was the recent Oscar’s film night organised by Mr Illsley. The students were of course completing their Creative and Digital Media course but the film-making was about so much more than that. Here is a snippet of what they produced:

– Video –

Mr Illsley has given so much to the education of our students and also the experiences they have gained. Unfortunately, he is leaving us this term to explore pastures new out of teaching. Mr Illsley thank you for the Oscars event, the Canon project work and so much more. Please give him a round of applause.

We end this year on another high, with our new block at Boothby now fully open, great sporting achievements, Shrek was awesome and I sure the Addams Family in March will be too! Last week we had 1500 Santa Hats issued to the whole school, students, and staff. It was to help recognise Christmas Jumper day and to celebrate the fundraising which students have been involved in throughout the year. We have so many kind, thoughtful and caring students who regularly give up their time to help others thank you!

This year we have new prizes in the Unsung Hero award and the Dave Roberts Music Prize. Thank you to those sponsors the new prizes and all sponsors for the financial support each year.

We also remember former colleagues and supporters of the school at the end of this year: Juliet Hudson former colleague, Sandra Lewer Girl Guide leader and Dave Roberts former colleague. They gave so much and will always be remembered.

I want to thank the students, staff, and the whole community for continuing to support each other and for showing that they really do care. I feel honoured to be the headteacher of this school. Let’s hope that 2024 is another amazing year.

Have a fantastic, festive, family break.

Take care.

Thank you.

S. Garrity Headteacher

Hannah W (Y13), Harriet R (Y13), Mr Garrity (Headteacher), Christina Lewis (Guest of Honour), Mrs Martin (CEO), Mrs Allen (Asst. Headteacher), Mr Bembridge (Asst. Headteacher), James W (Y13), Archie T (Y13)
The School Choir
Christina Lewis, Guest of Honour
Mr Garrity, Headteacher

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Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Ashbourne Derbyshire