My Speech: FPSS Open Evening – 3 October 2013

I hope that the students of tomorrow will go on to feel as proud of their school as I do today.

— Andrew Burdett, speaking at Open Evening, 3 October 2013


Tonight, at my school‘s Open Evening for potential Year 7s and their parents, I gave a short speech on the subject of the jolly old time I’ve enjoyed these past six years. Joining me on stage, at the end of a twenty-minute presentation by Headteacher Ms White, were Head Girl Sarah Donlon and Year 7s Jessica Phillips and Lewis Duncombe. I’ve always loved being a part of these special events – such nights, which show Furze Platt at its very best, never fail to fill me with pride – and consequently I’m delighted to be involved with showing prospective parents around the ‘working campus’ on open mornings later this term. Tonight, though, it was amazing to have so many people on-site, all eager to learn more about the superb establishment I’m thrilled to call my school.

Sarah Donlon and Andrew Burdett speaking at Furze Platt Senior School's Celebration (Speech) Evening in September 2013.

Sarah Donlon and Andrew Burdett, Head Girl and Boy at Furze Platt Senior School, speaking at the school’s Celebration Evening in September 2013.

Remarks of Andrew Burdett, Head Boy —— As Prepared for Delivery
Furze Platt Senior School Open Evening
School Hall
Thursday, 3 October 2013

I arrived at Furze Platt as an unhappy little boy: truth be told, I didn’t really want to be here. I’d said goodbye to my favourite teachers; some of my best friends had gone to other schools; and – worst of all – I’d forgotten my packed lunch.

Unlike my older brother and sister, who’d spent (between them) a decade in grammar school education, I failed my Eleven-Plus – actually quite miserably. Seven years on, though, I can confidently say that that was the best thing I ever did.

Because it meant I came here, and being at Furze Platt has given me incredible experiences. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have had a good schooling if I had gone elsewhere, but, certainly, I wouldn’t have had quite the same wealth of opportunities. Trips to lively market towns in France, to the Berlin Wall in Germany, to the Great War battlefields in Belgium. PGL on the Isle of Wight. Skiing in Italy. And, on all of these trips, the space to get ever closer to an ever wider range of people: great, great friends, some of whom I know will remain so for life.

Like Jessica and Sarah, and Lewis who will appear in a moment, I’ve loved the huge range of activities and clubs on offer. In younger years, I participated in the school’s choirs, and as I progressed through the school, I formed and led one of my own. Our Junior Boys Choir was launched a few years ago with a small number of nervous lads. Now, it’s thirty-strong, appearing at every concert the school puts on. “Boys don’t sing”? It’s a lie.

Other highlights include being part of the record-breaking Three Peaks team this summer – we thrashed the school’s time, despite the soaring July heatwave. My challenge to Jessica and Lewis, when they no doubt tackle the same mountains in six years’ time – and, possibly, one day you – is to beat our nine hours and nineteen minutes.

Of my experiences back in the classroom, I can speak with similar zest. Right from Year 7, I’ve loved every minute of every lesson. Why? Because staff are motivated, they’re keen, and they all have that infectious enthusiasm for their subjects which – I think – is so essential.

It is perhaps no surprise, then, (and at risk of sounding immodest) that despite enjoying a full calendar of extra-curricular activities, I was able to attain straight As and A*s at GCSE. The same support continues into A-Level, and I hope to go on to study Journalism (my premier passion and love) at the University of Sheffield.

I hope that the students of tomorrow will go on to feel as proud of their school as I do today. I am, no longer, that unhappy little boy; instead a truly content young man. That’s the real power of a great education, like the one offered here at Furze Platt: it changes people for the better.


Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.