Matthew Brown, Head Boy

Good afternoon year 6’s, I hope you’re all safe and well, and welcome to the Biddenham open evening! It is a privilege for me to be standing up here today presenting to you. We do apologise for having to do the speeches over recording, believe me we wish we could all see you here today and welcome you to such a great home, not school, but a home. For those of you who don’t know, I’m Matt, I’m Head Boy and along with Matilda we help lead the prefect team who are basically responsible for running a lot of events in and around the school. I am a year 13 student, currently studying Maths, Physics, Computer Science and Business, with the hope of going to Cambridge to study a general engineering course post sixth form.

This year will no doubt be a challenging step up for all of us,. Believe me, I remember when I was in your shoes six years ago, it was quite a daunting experience. I remember getting up one morning and trying on the school blazer, it was like waking up in a new chapter of a book. But I’m hoping with a little bit of my experience along with some of the staff and year 7’s,  that we can make this process a lot more comfortable for you and get you ready for your new chapter.

So like Matilda, I joined in year 7, and it was ideal for me because I was previously going to Great Denham primary just down the road like some of you, and it was a great location that I could see myself settling into. However, coming into the first day, I found it really difficult to strike up any conversations with people who at the time were strangers to me. However, over time, it was like adapting to a new environment, I grew the strength and confidence to talk to other people. However I always liked the idea of being the bigger fish in the pond, why fit in when you were born to stand out?

I’ve always had a positive experience at this school, it is such a positive environment with staff and teachers, whom I’ve known for a long time now, so they’re probably doing their best to try and get rid of me. When you reach your GCSE life there are so many options for where to study, but why move when you have more than you need here? Going into your year 9 era, the school gives you a transition period to try out all of the subjects and courses you can take, from Dance to Sport, Music and Science. From experience, I was a very indecisive boy, I changed my subject options twice, and after the second year decided to do separate Science rather than combined, practically taking an extra subject. It was a huge workload and needed consistent effort, but with great support from our teachers, it wasn’t something you could consider a challenge, but more so a hobby. We have a great amount of independence when it comes to being able to study, we have learning hubs, the school library, quiet areas in the year 7 and 8 block, which let’s be honest, sometimes can be the complete opposite. But as you can see, once you open your eyes to everything that is on offer to you, it’s not too daunting after all. Want to do more, come along to our extra-curricular activities, help Biddenham score a 90th minute winner or hit the winning run in cricket. Not interested, try out for school musicals, drama productions, we have annual performances where parents and carers can come and watch you perform. Still not floating your boat, then maybe you want to make the school a better place for you and your peers, join the Student Forum, open to all age groups and help make this home to you a home for everyone.

We even have subject clubs, for a while I partook in a STEM club every Thursday after school. So if you’re interested in looking beyond the classroom, then tag along, we may need a few people to help out with some fun experiments. Obviously we have been restricted due to Covid, but we hope to get these up and running for you. It was actually a proposed idea for me and my fellow prefect peers to do. We are part of a discovery society which if you make it to year 12, you will have the opportunity to be in, where we come together and discuss and share information to help benefit students in sixth form life and get them ready for the outside world. We even have a magazine that Matilda mentioned, want to write an article about something which interests you? Go ahead, no limits for you here.

So as you can see, Biddenham is not just a school, it’s a sport, it’s a performance, a focus group, it’s everything you could ever need and want as a place to go to. My journey has been a roller coaster along the way, to think I was this quiet kid in year 7 presenting to you today, it’s almost aspiring for something you never thought you’d be doing. But that is what we’re all about, don’t just limit yourself to the study, don’t try to be indifferent, be the difference, because who knows this might be you in a couple of years presenting to the new year 6’s, and I hope that this Open Evening will make you think so. I look forward to seeing some of you this evening, we have staff and students dotted around the school at every corner. They are here to make sure you can find the answers to all your questions. Feel free to look around as you please, and welcome year 6’s and parents and carers to Biddenham International School & Sports College, your everything.

Thank you.