Speech Day 2021

Speech Day 2021

“Teaching the skills today the world needs tomorrow” is the key message at WGS Speech Day

It was a Senior School Speech Day with a difference on Friday 2 July, but after 18 months of not being able to come together to celebrate the successes of pupils, it was an event welcomed by the socially distanced gathering of the Headmaster, staff, pupils, parents and our special virtually present guest, Dr Helen Wright.

The underlying theme was the importance of the journey our pupils have made at WGS, emphasising the need be mindful of where they came from, embrace the knowledge and be excited for the future. Pupils demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability throughout the pandemic and continued to thrive despite the many challenges posed by online remote learning.

Dr Helen Wright, a virtual guest on this occasion, talked passionately about the highlights of her own educational journey, reflecting back on the unique experiences she had shared with her school friends in their time together. The journeys those friends’ lives had taken, and the wide variety of direction they all took, was looked upon with a sense of amazement and possibility.

“We can’t change that past, but we can take that past on, so it becomes part of our experience and our understanding. It can enrich us.

When you go to other places, and meet other people, you see the world differently, and you appreciate both your own part of the world better, and your role on this incredible planet we inhabit and that, actually, is your task from now on – your mission. In fact, it has always been your mission – all of your education to date has been preparing you to work out how you are going to contribute to making a positive difference in the world.”

Dr Wright encouraged the pupils to stay in touch with each other as they experienced their own journeys and share the many, many glorious differences… between an elephant and a post box – a childhood joke she opened her speech with!


Headmaster Chris Staley’s address was delivered in the form of a letter to all, sprinkled with memories and key advice to all pupils moving to the next stage of their journey. He challenged pupils to develop the key skills and behaviours beyond academic excellence that employers seek.

“These skills in the next phase of your education and life are going to be become increasingly important. He spoke about Critical Thinking, Problem solving, People Management, Emotional Intelligence, Judgement and Decision Making, Being Service Orientated, Cognitive Flexibility, amongst others.”

He also spoke with passion of his vision for WGS to be a forward thinking educational establishment – embracing and utilising technology to deliver new ways of teaching rather than using it to deliver old methods.

“Phase one includes upgrades to our whole site IT infrastructure over the summer; iPads are being issued to all 1st form/year 7 pupils as part of their everyday toolkit; the introduction of AI into online and classroom learning via platforms such as Century.

The next phase will be rolling out iPads to the rest of the school after the pilot programme in 2021-22, followed by the buildings. We aim to integrate the technology into the buildings to provide smart teaching and learning facilities that work seamlessly with the best education platforms available as we continue to improve our educational offer to the pupils at WGS”

The final piece of advice to our wonderful Upper 6th form leavers?

“You only get one chance to make a first impression, so be excellent. People notice excellence. Stand out and become unforgettable.”