Achieving success through hard work, determination and ambition | Portsmouth High School

Achieving success through hard work, determination and ambition

I hope you all had a pleasant and relaxing holiday and were able to take advantage of the unseasonal sunshine. We are hoping this fine weather holds for all our summer events.

Those of you with children studying hard for public examinations probably saw less of the good weather as you were busy supporting, in a variety of ways, your daughter’s revision programme.  However, you may have seen the reports of Ted Loveday who has become the most successful participant on the TV quiz show “University Challenge” after answering ten starter questions correctly.  You might put his success down to natural ability but in fact whilst undoubtedly intelligent he said he achieved well because he studied hard for the competition. He researched question topics by watching past episodes and by reading around the common topics.  This will be comforting news to pupils and students studying for their summer examinations – their consistent effort will be rewarded. As an aside Ted also attributed some of his success to his independent school education.

Furthermore it was reported in the news this week an experiment to see if it is possible to teach an “unsporty” adult to play table tennis to a standard that would make him one of the 250 highest-ranked players in Britain within twelve months. Ben Larcombe, a young coach from north London, gave 24-year-old Sam Priestley more than 500 hours of personal tuition and took him to elite training centres in Hungary, Denmark and Middlesbrough and whilst Sam isn’t quite at the standard they had hoped he is doing well in competitions. Sam and Ben suggest their training venue of the kitchen table may have something to do with the fact that Sam has not reached his goal yet.

It is possible therefore with effort and training to improve and even if whatever it is you are trying to achieve doesn’t come so naturally – it is possible to accomplish an ambition.

Some of you will be aware that over Easter one of my sons ran the Paris marathon whilst his younger brother decided to go a little further by competing in the Marathon des Sables which is six consecutive marathons across the Sahara. My elder son is of a runners’ build and running comes easily to him whereas his brother is much more a rugby playing physique hence his school nickname of “Tim the Train”. Despite no natural athletic build he decided to enter this race dubbed the “toughest footrace on earth” and I am proud to say he achieved it ending up about 400th out of 1400 runners.  This took a considerable amount of preparation and further evidence that it is possible to achieve through determination, effort and hard work.

When I was at school one of my teachers was very fond of saying “success only comes before work in the dictionary” and it is true that however easily achievement comes to individuals it is still important to put in the required preparation to guarantee success.

And on that note you will be aware that the school is to be inspected next week. We have put in a tremendous amount of effort to ensure we are ready for their visit and I know the girls will be an enormous credit to themselves, their parents and the school. Please could I encourage you to complete the parent questionnaire which is available until Sunday evening as your views are important to us.