We have been happy to welcome all of our pupils back this week and hope that they had a very pleasant and refreshing break. As usual, there was plenty going on over Easter, including a most successful ski trip, revision sessions for examination candidates and activity days in Meadow Court. I am most grateful to staff who provided these opportunities and to parents for their support. Thanks go also to those who came in during the holidays to help put some of the finishing touches to our brand new cricket and forest school pavilion, which is looking splendid and will soon be ready for use. You will remember that this new facility was made possible by funds raised by the PTA, who continue to support the school in so many ways.
As we look ahead to another busy term, we paused to consider the significance of the Easter celebrations that have just finished. The Reverend Rose Braisby, who addressed pupils in our whole school assembly this week, reminded us of the story of Easter and the great mystery that the Christian church is founded upon, as well as entertaining us with a fun game of ‘egg roulette’ and leading us in song. Whatever our beliefs, it was an opportunity to be thankful for the rejuvenating power of springtime, for our school community and for our family and friends.
It was a great honour for me this week to be invited to a reception at No 10 Downing Street, along with leaders from schools and universities across the country, to celebrate the partnership work which is being done to help all young people unlock their potential. I met the Secretary of State for Education and spoke to Department of Education representatives and our local MP James Cleverly about our growing community links, including my recent work as governor of Gosfield Primary School. While first and foremost, my staff and I strive to ensure the pupils at Gosfield are provided with the best possible education, it is in the interests of all of us that children throughout our community are given the chance to achieve and succeed.
I often mention our charitable work here and how impressed I am by the contributions made by our pupils and parents to the charities we support. Our Red Nose fundraising activities this week are just one example of this generosity. Education itself is recognised as a charitable activity, and it is important that we make sure as many children as possible have access to our school, as pupils or as members of our local schools who can benefit from sharing facilities and expertise. I am mindful that all our parents help fund maintained schools through their taxes as well as financing their children’s education here at Gosfield, thus making a special and significant contribution to the success of future generations. As we break up at the end of another busy and productive term, I wish all our families a restful and enjoyable holiday and a very happy Easter.
They say that everything stops for tea. Well, that has certainly been my experience this week when I have on two occasions enjoyed light refreshments in the company of some of our youngest pupils. Children from Reception to Year 2 had been invited to a Principal’s Tea on Tuesday, and I welcomed the opportunity to get to know them better. They brought me lovely pictures, kept up lively conversation about everything from baby brothers to singing, and were polite and charming throughout. They found it quite a treat visiting my study and sharing the wonderful view. The next day, I was invited by Daisy in the Nursery to join her and her friends for afternoon snack. We enjoyed eating melon and croissants together in the sunshine and, again, it gave me the chance to find out a little more about the children, such as what games they like to play.
Year 9 based their assemblies this week on individuality, reminding us that we are all unique, with our own particular interests and talents, and that this is something to recognise and celebrate. Our musicians displayed their particular talents in the Music Showcase this week as instrumentalists, singers and composers. I congratulate them on their accomplished performances
There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away…’ This line of poetry by Emily Dickinson reminds us of how reading can transport and inspire us, and there is no doubt how inspired—and creative--our pupils were as we celebrated World Book Day on Thursday. The Prep School was full of storybook characters: Oompa Loompas and Big Bad Wolves and Very Hungry Caterpillars, to name just a few! Prep pupils had made models of scenes from their favourite books and Senior pupils decorated their tutor room doors, so that walking down the corridors was like browsing the shelves in a well-stocked library. It is good to see how books continue to intrigue and stimulate our young people who live in a world dominated by far more sophisticated forms of entertainment and sources of information. There is something about holding a book in one’s hand and turning each page not knowing what the next one has in store that is enduringly special. We hope that our children’s love of books and of reading lasts a lifetime.
Prince Harry has been commenting on education at this week’s Global Teacher awards. He stated that the ‘very best teachers go beyond the pages of textbooks to teach young people about determination, aspiration, resilience and, of course, compassion.’ We encourage all of our pupils to be kind and caring towards one another—and in our through school we see daily examples of older children looking after and helping younger ones. Beyond this, our pupils show compassion in their charity fundraising. Plans are underway for World Wildlife Day in March, when we will be raising money for the WWF, one of the global charities our pupils have chosen to support, as well as for ‘Red Nose Day’. Increasingly, pupils approach me with ideas for charity initiatives, from the now legendary GIFA football marathon to more modest sponsored events. They choose causes that are close to their hearts and come up with creative ways to raise not only money but also awareness. It is important that pupils leave our school with academic qualifications but also a generosity of spirit that will help them make a valuable contribution to their communities.
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