Another week speeds to an end, and – if anything – the pace is quickening.
Talking of which, there is no greater fillip for a Head than to see the spring in his pupils’ steps. All too soon, in those teenage years, the stride or the skip will inevitably slow down to a self-conscious form of lope. We as a staff have to make the very most of this transient, dynamic enthusiasm; and from what I have seen, we are doing just that.
As I tour our impressive site and meet as many children as possible each day, they keep impressing me with their positive attitude. No great building was ever created without a solid foundation. No great altitude was ever reached without aptitude and attitude.
More specifically, Mr Wurr and I have enjoyed collecting in the children’s English books and reading some excellent pieces of creative work. As a follow-up, we are strengthening our process of feedback, marking and assessment in order to further develop the children’s learning.
It cannot be overestimated how important it is for pupils to gain recognition, not just from their peers or from their teachers, but from somebody outside the learning environment. Ideally this is Mum or Dad and next best, from me. Certainly, I have relished speaking to the children about their work – and themselves – when they have come to my office with a commendation.
On Thursday, when I visited the Pre Prep with Mrs Andrews, it was a delight to see the classes in full flow. The staff clearly have high expectations of the children in their care and are providing them with strong learning opportunities. I thoroughly enjoyed being with the staff and children to chat to both about the goings-on.
On Wednesday, the Rev’d Andy Martin from St Stephen’s and St Wulstan’s, Selly Park, took our chapel service. One theme he touched on was patience. This is an important attribute that we all should nurture, myself included. I am sure that Year 6 children’s patience is running thin as they wait for another tranche of entrance exams. Meanwhile, I am delighted that they are all working hard in school and at home in preparation for these assessments. I remind them to do it for themselves, and for no one else; to be proud of what they are doing and to prepare well physically and mentally – at school and at home.
Over the next few weeks as I work to build strong links and work closely with their schools, I look forward to meeting with Dr Fenton from King Edwards School, Mrs Clark from King Edward VI High School for Girls and Dr Weeks from EHS. I hope to have met with the Heads of all the local senior schools, independent and grammar by the end of this academic year. These meetings will ensure that we have continuity in every respect when Blue Coat children move on in the future.
On other fronts, I was delighted with the performance of the Under 11 girls hockey players. In their first fixture of the season against Hallfield they showed outstanding togetherness and belief. The first team won 9-0 and the seconds 4-3. Monique James-Thomas and Jessica McGuirk must be commended for excellent skill, control, vision and determination. I hope, as squad practices pay dividends, that all our teams compete with such commitment. We aim to build our sporting profile locally and nationally. We wish the girls well at the Bromsgrove Tournament this Saturday.
Chapel once again gave its choristers the opportunity to show off their talents. I believe that we should showcase the impressive calibre of our musicians on a wider scale and celebrate their amazing abilities. It is my hope that a mini-tour with Mr Nicklin can be organised for this choir later in the academic year. Further details will come before Christmas. I also look forward to releasing more information in due course regarding House Music Competitions. This will be a chance for all children to work together and shine musically.
Clearly, The Blue Coat School has an abundance of talent in all fields. I hope over the coming months to highlight and develop these skills further, and I urge you all to support the school in this vision.
As October is upon us we look forward another busy week. The Friends are already gearing up for their next big event and tickets for the Fireworks Extravaganza will be on sale from Friday 7 October.
Have a wonderful weekend. (and may we bring home the Ryder Cup!)
NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER