THE Headmaster of Harrogate Ladies College has asked for a period of "hands-off" by Westminster and Whitehall to give teachers and parents the opportunity to develop good practice on the basis of common sense.
Mr Geoffrey Hazell was addressing pupils, staff and parents at the school's annual Speech Day on Saturday.
Mr Hazell said: "Government initiatives in education pile up, one on top of another, and claims are made of staggering progress in some areas. Yet, in my humble view, four decades of persistent interference by the politicians seems to have achieved relatively little in comparison with the achievements of our direct competitors".
"I would like to see a period of 'hands off' by Westminster and Whitehall while teachers and parents are given the opportunity to develop good practice on the basis of common sense rather than abstract principles or political advantage."
Mr Hazell announced a series of new initiatives and developments. They included a review of the public examination areas of the curriculum – Lower Five through to Upper Six; a review of the assessment of years 7-9 (Upper Three to Upper Four); the extension of Internet access to every bedroom and study for sixth-formers; and further development of Mandarin teaching for all age groups.
Mr Hazell paid tribute to Deputy Head Miss Pamela Harrison who had combined the roles of Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head during the 2007-2008 academic year.
The school also said farewell to two retiring teachers: Mrs Faber who taught Spanish and French, and former Head of Music, Mr David Andrews.
Guest speaker was the Editor of Ackrill Media Group, Jean MacQuarrie and she presented prizes to more than 50 pupils.
Special guests were the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Coun John Fox and his wife Maggie, and they were welcomed by the chairman of governors, Mr Alan Skidmore.
Harrogate Ladies College prize winners:
Accounting Prize Fabien Yip; Florence Shackleton Prize for Art Tching-Yee Yip; Alvin Galbraith Prize for Biology Rebecca Singh; Applied Business Prize Caroline Webster; Business Studies Prize Christina Gao; Hewlett Prize for Chemistry Rebecca Singh; Greig Prize for Chemistry for Progress in L6 Phoebe Chow and Tina Chau; Brock Classics Prize Florence Gamberton; Benson Prize for Computing Joffee Chan; Violet Gask Prize for English Katie Kettle; Crawford Prize for French Naomi Fay; Mallet Prize for Geography Victoria Walker; Prize for German Katie Kettle; Bertha Smith Prize for History Georgia Nixon; Poppleton Prize for Progress in History Naomi Fay; Applied ICT Prize Kerry Newing; Maes Prize for Mathematics Christina Gao; Prize for Mathematics Rebecca Singh and Anita Ho; Prize for Further Mathematics Helen Liu and Tian Cao; Blenkin Prize for Music Naomi Fay; The Roberts Prize for Physical Education Amy Pullan; Prize for Physics Christina Gao; Elizabeth Barker Prize for Religious Studies in the Sixth Form Georgia Nixon; The Cosgrove Prize for Spanish Marisa Lam; Prize for Textiles Lauren Bodie; ML Davies Prize for Choral Work Jennifer Bullock; Craft Design Technology Prize Christie Lai; Mary Sheepshanks Prize for Creative Writing Giorgianna Passerello; Audrey Taylor Prize for Creative Writing Lois Scoffield; Golden Jubilee Prize for English Literature Joanna Demaree-Cotton; Givans Prize for Home Economics Janice Chong; MF Jones Prize for Work on the Games Field Laura Wraight and Rebecca Singh; The McKeag Trophy for PE in the Middle School Isabel Demaree-Cotton and Fabienne Johnson; Frank Harrison Cup for Textiles at GCSE Holly Furniss; Prize for best GCSE results Miriam Fay; Public Speaking Prize Lucy Welch; Prize for Drama Lucy Smith; Prize for Speech and Drama Janice Chong; The Alexandra Jabbour Prize for Perseverance Florence Gamberton; The Venables Endeavour Trophy Aliyah Tufail; The Tennant Cup Kerry Newing; Chapel Warden’s Award Vania Ho and Rebecca Li; Librarian’s Award Trish Pentz; Saturday Prefect’s Award Fiona Leung and Sally Wang; Prefects’ Leadership Award sponsored by the Army Jennifer Bullock, Carrie Hui, Marisa Lam, Klara Naibova, Georgia Nixon, Trish Pentz, Amy Pullan, Laura Wraight, Fabien Yip, Tching-Yee Yip, Vania Ho; Head of Tower Lauren Bodie; Deputy Head Girl’s Award Rebecca Singh; Duchy of Lancaster Award to Head of School + The Duchy Cup Katie Kettle.