This is Anti-Bullying Week and our Year 8 pupils gave a very thought-provoking Senior School assembly contributing to our focus this half term on the power of words. They showed how words can hurt, damage self esteem and, in the worst cases, lead to self harm and suicide. I was impressed by how sensitively yet confidently our pupils explored the issues and spoke of their own experiences. They also showed how words can inspire and encourage, how we can speak out to help make a change in people’s attitudes.
Tomorrow, we move from words to action as we raise money for Children in Need. This year, there are even more creative pupil-led activities to enjoy, and we are all looking forward to wearing our spotty clothes and having lots of fun knowing that we can make a real difference to the lives of children across the country.
At this time of year, in common with schools throughout the country, we remember all those affected by the World Wars of the last century and other conflicts since. The poppies we wear remind us of those who died in combat and all killed or injured in the line of duty, whether military or civilian. Through the sale of poppies, the British legion has helped 9.5 million people whose lives have been so deeply affected by war.
In a whole school assembly this week, we focused on the effect of war on children. Our pupils were given the opportunity to reflect on life for boys and girls of their age a hundred years ago during the First World War. Children as young as twelve worked in factories; boy scouts and girl guides helped with first aid, fire fighting and growing vegetables; savings and pocket money were given to military hospitals and charities. Their lives were challenging, uncertain and often sad, as they came to terms with the loss of fathers and brothers.
We also thought about children affected by current conflicts and the charities that help them, including World Vision, which is making a huge difference to the lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
It is most appropriate that soon after Remembrance comes Children in Need day, when pupils will again be thinking about children of their own age in dire situations and doing their part to help them. It is through humanity, empathy and generosity that we can pave the way for a peaceful and brighter future for all young people.
It has been good to see all of our pupils and staff returning refreshed from the half term break. It was certainly busy in the run up to the holiday, what with the Harvest Service, Enrichment Day—when the House Tug of War event was re-instated, and the fantastic achievement of our U13 girls’ football team who won the plate competition at the National Football Festival in Ascot. This half term will be equally busy, of course, with trips and fixtures, the 50th anniversary Cut Hedge cross country event, as well as plenty of learning in and out of the classroom and all the excitement of the build up to (dare I say it yet?) Christmas.
Keeping our young people engaged and enthusiastic is key to their academic and social development, so when we hosted 18 prospective Year 7 pupils today, we gave them an action-packed sample of what life at Gosfield could hold for them—everything from Forest School to robotics, Spanish to Art. I was very impressed how well they did in my English lesson, identifying poetic techniques including personification and onomatopoeia and writing super poems about Bonfire Night. I hope they all had a fantastic—if exhausting—day and are looking forward to joining us in due course. We have certainly enjoyed getting to know them.
Activity Week has gone by quickly here—and I hope for all our pupils on residential trips to Spain, Portugal, Wales and Derbyshire. We have received plenty of positive messages and very much look forward to hearing about all their adventures on their return. Here at Gosfield, it has also been an exciting week. The Prep pupils are putting the final touches to their Play in a Week which will be performed outside this afternoon—let’s hope the rain holds off! Senior pupils have been taking part in a wide range of activities from street art to robotics and are currently exploring the cycle trails at Thetford.
On Tuesday, we have our annual Speech Day, and I hope that all of our families are able to join us for this special occasion when we celebrate success, reflect on the year and wish our leavers every good fortune and happiness for the future.
Thereafter, pupils and staff alike will have a well-earned rest. I wish you all a very happy and refreshing summer holiday.
What a sporting week it has been! We were so lucky with the weather on Tuesday for our annual Sports Day. While it was still damp underfoot, the sun shone on our young athletes as they participated in the traditional House parade and then took to the track and field to give of their best. As usual, the event was well attended by friends and families, and it was particularly pleasing that some of our old boys and girls not only came to watch but took part in the adult relay race at the end. Congratulations to everyone who took part and particularly to Tudor who won the Relay Cup and Sports Day Shield this year.
Weather conditions were very different yesterday at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, but torrential rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the athletes taking part in the ISA National Athletics Championship. I was delighted to be on hand not only to see the Gosfield participants representing East Anglia with such aplomb but also to present medals to our own pupils and talented young sportsmen and women from across the country. Gosfield athletes did exceptionally well, winning one silver and five bronze medals in all: a fantastic achievement!
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