HM Blog Archive
In good shape
Published on: Friday, September 24, 2021
A brief paragraph or two this week. Many children have been off site this week whether it be on residential or day trips and I have picked up positive vibes about their experiences.
I, too, have been off site in Bournemouth for the last couple of days at the annual IAPS Heads Conference. Not only is it good to re-acquaint in person with the Heads I have only seen on a screen these last many months and to share in valuable professional development and affirmations but it is also a good chance to informally benchmark our own context within the sector. On discussing the varying past impacts of covid, current situations and future scenarios for a broad range of schools (but particularly those operating with a similar set of impact factors to ourselves) I am returning feeling reassured that we continue to focus our attention in the right areas for the children and also are in good shape operationally.
As an example, you may have been aware that plans to build a Sixth Form Centre have been formulating over the last year or so and, today, confirmation has been published that it will be built in the next 12 months. Whilst it will be of varying degrees of direct relevance depending on the age of your child, to quote a line from the College Headmaster’s letter to parents, “This exciting project underlines our present confidence as a school.”
Have a good weekend.
Busy, busy, busy.
Published on: Friday, September 17, 2021
We’ve had a few lovely mornings recently – the low lying mist is very atmospheric on the front field and of course we all welcome sunny starts. I hope you’ll forgive me when I say that the school is glorious without children! The peace and beauty of an amble around early on a fair morning never fails to fortify the repositories of natural delight, serenity and perspective.
We have certainly had a metaphorically sunny start to term not only in regard to bedding in new beginnings but, in not wasting a moment, we have been straight into various regular activities.
To mention a few: hobbies have been heavily attended this week, orchestra have convened, King’s Loop was immediately into its stride (and brilliantly popular), Year 3 are off on a trip today, the boarders had a cracking day by and in the sea at Dawlish Warren, Year 6 were on the Quantocks hill walking on Wednesday, ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ rehearsals are more than underway, the top field was splendidly covered with seven different rugby matches with spectators, we have been to hockey tournaments, creations are already emerging in Art and DT and I know Mr DJ has had excellent first sessions on the new instruments. And that is, of course, on top of and around all the considerable endeavour and hard work applied to academic development.
Even though the last fortnight has flashed by, this is no longer the start of term and there is much to anticipate ahead.
Published on: Friday, September 10, 2021
To come, we have Saturday training/games tomorrow for many older ones and more fun for boarders on Sunday but we have completed five busy days so far in this first week. We have come together as a fresh mix of humanity and the goodwill, companionship and inclusiveness that exists here seems to be working its magic once again. It has been lovely to see and hear happy children and families for the first days – long may it continue!
For those new, we send out weekly Newsletters for the Prep and Pre-Prep late on Fridays and the Prep one starts with HEADlines, a few informal, spur of the moment musings and ramblings from me to kick you off into the meat of the newsletter. I’m sure some even just click the link at the bottom to get to the main event which is some pictures and reflections of what the children have been up to in the last week. Some features have a rotation so that we cycle through all age groups and sections within the myriad of activities – far too much to put it all in each week!
Talking of coming together, I was promoting to the Prep children on Monday that whilst, of course, we should be self-motivated, and probably full of several “I, me, mine, my” questions, it is so powerful to realise that we don’t operate independently of others. Everything we do and say impacts others and vice versa. If we fully understand this, and harness it, then we have an incredible ability to achieve together – which of course benefits each of us ourselves: a virtuous circle.
I don’t know if you picked up that the Olympics added a word to their long standing motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius this year? As well as aiming to be Faster, Higher, Stronger – they are asking for us to do it Together.
Another year gone?
Published on: Friday, June 25, 2021
This is likely to be the last HEADlines of the year. Don’t get your hopes up – it could be a little more Friday-shattered than earth-shattering! Anyhow, it’s the content of the Newsletter that is really worth looking at. Some reflections on Arts Week last week and Maths Week this week are in there.
Cricket, end of term and the increase of Covid cases have been amongst my thoughts for the week. The Under 11 boys took on schools from the South West region as the newly crowned Somerset County Champions and, on winning that day, now progress to the National Finals at Oakham School on 8 July. On the same day, our U13 girls and boys both won tournaments against several schools in our area and both teams are also due to compete in County Finals next week. Not to be forgotten, the Under 12 boys are in their County Final. Phew! You may also have heard that the College boys 1st XI have made it through to the National T20 final to be held at Arundel Castle over the weekend. Good luck to all!
Those of you with dogs will know that whilst on occasions they are a pain and a hassle (cleaning Somerset red mud off a white dog in the cold, drizzly gloom of a January evening after a walk you didn’t want to have at the end of a weary day!) is more than offset by the better times. Recently, Meg has been a boon not only in making me go out and get away from the paperwork but she is great fun when out and about with the children at break times on the front field. She’s quite a capricious flirt, though, as she will prostrate herself in a group for tummy rubs but then unannounced jump up to scamper across to another cluster and similarly recline for her next luxurious body massage.
No doubt we will be taking her for an amble somewhere over the weekend and then it is into the last four or five days of this academic year…… and even the final days for some at King’s Hall.
Published on: Friday, June 18, 2021
Gosh – where to start? Arts Week (with an amazing two-man Circus Show to kick us off on Monday morning), the colourful Year 4 production in the Rose Garden, fab author Emma Carroll running workshops, Year 8 having a blast in Devon with gorgeous weather, the Under 11 boys becoming County Cricket Champions yesterday (the U12 boys and both the U13 girls and boys are also in their respective finals coming up), oodles of prospective children in for Taster Days and all week we have had even more children in to board for a couple of nights. And, of course, last week was Year 8 CE exams, Year 6 to Dulverton and Year 3 out on the river. Phew! This is how a summer term is meant to feel – study hard, including exams, and enjoy all the trappings of what’s on offer. (There’s no doubt however that under covid restrictions it is a good deal more demanding on the staff to find ways to make it all happen for the children and keep within guidelines!)
The opportunity to board is one of the great flexible options at King’s Hall and I think not having had it for the last year is one of the greatest casualties of the covid restrictions. It is a well-worn path for children to board increasingly more nights as they get older and it has been so wonderful to have been able to make it accessible again.
As you well know, I hope, whilst also drawing out your full academic potential, developing your sense of who you are, your independence and your ability to entwine your own character traits dove-tailed with those around you to maximum collective benefit is very much what we are about. Sustained time in the supportive, warm, encouraging and boarding environment full of collegiality that exists here is a terrific way to boost this aspect of growing up. It is (without covid!) always possible to take a look around and so, when we return in the autumn, if you have never been into the boarding areas and want to take a look – just ask.
Sadly, the Delta variant has come to cause disruption just as we are heading into some key end of year events. You should have seen my email of yesterday and, whilst the larger gatherings involving parents and visitors will have to be curtailed or even cancelled, we do believe that we will be able to ensure that the children are able to enjoy the vast majority of what they would normally.
Fingers crossed it all plays out as currently planned.