Like Sir Richard, students in Weston can be the best

Neville Coles

In his latest column for The North Somerset Business Leader, Neville Coles, who is the Principal of Priory Community School – An Academy Trust – says students can take inspiration from Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard Branson has yet again made the headlines with his involvement in the Government’s scrapping of the FirstGroup rail contract.

The enthusiastic entrepreneur is never one to shy away from a challenge and his tenacity and business brilliance is behind the Virgin success story.

Yet he has overcome dyslexia to achieve in the business world.

His headteacher’s parting words at school were ‘congratulations Branson, I predict you’ll either go to prison or be a millionaire’! His teachers knew that he was going to make a mark on the world.

For this reason, we chose Sir Richard to be named after our new £1.4 million support to learn centre which is due to open next March.

We want the thousands of children who go through the Sir Richard Branson Centre to see people like Sir Richard, Einstein and Churchill as inspirations. Like these successful people, they too can achieve their dreams.

Sir Richard himself has built Virgin’s success on some cultural values. He encourages his staff to take risks, try new things and believe that all things are possible.

We do too.

Students First is our motto and we remind them regularly that whoever they are and whatever the difficulty, like Sir Richard, they can be the best.

Our students are responding in so many ways.

This week we just beat one of the best private schools in the UK – Millfield Prep School – 2-0 at football. Our rugby team got to the last stages of the UK Daily Mail cup.

And our GCSE results this year – with 82% achieving C+ in English and 78% C+ in Maths – have put our school in the top few cent in the nation.

As a school we aim to be the very best – but be gracious in defeat – and bring the inspirational Olympic values down to school level.