Actor Ian McElhinney received a warm welcome back to Friends’ School when he was the Guest of Honour at the annual GCSE Reception.
In a lively and entertaining address, he paid tribute to the pupils who were receiving their Progress Files and expressed his delight at the performances of the Jazz Band and the Choir.
Ian McElhinney, whose credits include Game of Thrones and The Fall, spoke fondly of his school days at Friends’, saying that they were indeed some of the best days of his life.
After presenting GCSE certificates and Progress Files to all who had taken GCSE examinations last summer, Ian McElhinney joined pupils, their families and members of staff for refreshments in the Dining Hall and reminisced about his time here.
At the Reception, Stephen Moore, Principal of Friends’, spoke about the Friends’ pupils who had taken GCSE exams last summer, noting that, in awarding Progress Files and GCSE certificates to each one, the School recognised and valued the achievements of all and acknowledged the hard work behind the pupils’ success. Mr Moore said that all of the pupils present should be congratulated on their success. All of those taking GCSEs last year gained the benchmark figure of seven or more passes at grades A* - C, including English and Maths. 69 out of 145 pupils gained 8 or more passes at A and A*, and of all the grades achieved in all subjects, 30% were at A*, 66% at A* - A and 90% at grades A*-B.
Mr Moore concluded: ‘At a time when there is so much bad news and so much to shock us in the world, it is heartening to see our young people develop here in school, to see them flourish as they navigate their way through the challenges of GCSEs and into the Sixth Form, to see them so obviously enjoying their sport and music and a range of other activities.
“If outside school there might be cause for pessimism, when we look at the young people in front of us tonight, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future.”