Earlscliffe Valedictory Celebration 2024

Posted: 27th June 2024

Valedictory 2024

The annual Earlscliffe Valedictory celebration is much anticipated and is the absolute culmination of the year’s achievements and activities – a time when we welcome families from all over the world into our picturesque seaside town of Folkestone on the Kentish coast. On a warm summer afternoon, our school gardens looked lovely, decorated with traditional bunting and fresh flowers. 

Before the official ceremony, guests were invited to an exhibition at the Creative Arts Academy which showcased a wide range of talents, from film-making to fashion, from illustration to photography, from sculpture to embroidery, from textiles to acrylics. Each piece was a testament to the artistic growth and personal journeys of each student.


Graduating art student, Nika, said, “I enjoy the Creative Arts Academy because we have a very kind community, everybody wants to support you. If you’re stuck on something, everybody else is there to offer advice – I think that’s very cool!”.

Afterward, the Valedictorians were called to School House to don their gowns. Students and teachers became very emotional as they gathered together for the final time in the historic building that has been such a key fixture of their academic journeys over recent years. We stopped to take a photograph of this moment with all of the students huddled on the iconic stairway.

Earlscliffe Valedictorians of 2024 then made their grand entrance into the marquee to a huge round of applause. It is safe to say that there were lots of big smiles and quite a few happy tears as we marked this moment where our “young adults” became fully ready for their next steps into university and careers.

All Earlscliffe guests were then served a quintessentially British afternoon tea. The centrepiece of each table was a traditional three-tiered cake stand, brimming with an assortment of sandwiches, scones, and pastries.

We were honoured to be joined by the CEO of Dukes Education for the event. Tim Fish founded Earlscliffe, with his wife Julie in 2012. He spoke of his vast experience in the education sector, and how he has seen his students journey through 

CEO Tim fish awards scrolls

their aspirations, taking surprising turns and discovering new talents far beyond their wildest ambitions at 18. He encouraged our Valedictorians to be courageous and to continue to work hard. And he thanked them for being part of our Earlscliffe community, encouraging them to always stay in touch.

Head of Year, Miss Burkett, then took over the formal part of the ceremony by recognising our students’ kindness towards each other. 

“We pride ourselves on a culturally diverse community which nurtures and inspires learning and growth,” she said. “Class of 2024, you are the example of our school values. Curiosity, respect, aspiration, personal development, and community.”

She then went on to make observations from the previous year about every one of our students. Whilst some were complimented for their thirst for knowledge, she noted how in awe she has been of the drive for success in others, she was impressed by those who have shown resilience and who “never 

give up”, and she thanked those who have always just been 

“all round good guys”. Of course she remembered to make a special mention to the “Earlsbros” of 2024.

Head Boy, Arno, then took centre stage to say, “the friends that I have made here are sort of like my family. They cheered me up in difficult times. But most of all I thank the teachers and staff. Without them we would not be who we are today.”

Head Girl, Anna brought the speeches to a close by saying, “For me, the most emotional moment from my Earlscliffe school life was a week ago when I realised that I must start packing my things to leave.”

Each of our Valedictorians was then asked to take the stage to accept their scroll and for a formal photo with Mr Fish.

The Earlscliffe Valedictory Celebration was a harmonious blend of art, tradition, heartfelt celebration, and culinary delight. 

As the sun set on this memorable day, it was clear that this was not just an ending but the beginning of a new, exciting journey for the graduates. With hearts full of memories and eyes set on the future, the Valedictorians left the marquee as alumni, ready to make their mark on the world.


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