WHEN I wrote in the Bury Times a fortnight ago about pressure being good for you, I did not anticipate that my words would be put to the test within a matter of days. Last Monday morning, I received a phone call from ISI (the Independent Schools Inspectorate) during which I was informed Inspectors would be visiting Bury Grammar School Girls that week.

In such a position, most school leaders will aim to rally the troops, remind everyone that they should be confident in what they are doing and above all, use the pressure to a positive end.

We are proud of what we routinely do on a day-to-day basis and felt strongly that we should not put on anything different designed to impress: it was important to us that inspectors should see the very best of what we usually do.

If you have ever visited BGSG, you will know that we have strong roots and a deep-seated sense of what we are about.

Within a few minutes of being in the school, any visitor will see that this is a school where pupils and teachers talk and listen to each other and where pupils are encouraged to aim high, be ambitious, take pleasure in their learning and look after others.

Above all, we are a school which is open to the outside world, keen to celebrate its heritage, optimistic for its future and very proud of being part of the community of Bury.

When you are about to be put on show, the depth of your confidence is truly tested. Our deep-seated roots spring from a history which goes back nearly 450 years, the support of a very committed wider community of parents, friends, former pupils and teachers, extremely talented and dedicated staff and of course bright, happy, down-to- earth and talented pupils: the sum of these parts adds up to a confident school.

Confidence means that you are able to take criticism — an important attribute if you are to continue to improve and grow — as well as to enjoy successes.

I am very pleased to report that by the end of this week, we had enjoyed some very positive feedback indeed about our school and had come to the conclusion that a little bit of pressure had indeed been a good thing.