After a year of Brexit and Trump, we may be inured to the idea of change. But at this time of the year, it seems to me vital that we preserve the traditions of Christmas, that we respect them and that we revisit the stories and the sounds which have become a part of our Christian heritage.

The penultimate week of term has seen another set of wonderful Nativities from Year 1 and Year 2 respectively. The confidence of the acting, the clarity of the dialogue and the composure of the singing were first rate. A huge thank you to all the teachers for their combined hard work and dedication.

Last Wednesday saw a Chapel visit from the Salvation Army and band. Major Adrian spoke passionately about their role, especially during the Christmas period. Please spare a thought for those families and individuals who are in need this Christmas.

We celebrated a great term of music with our Prep Christmas Concert. It was a joyous occasion that really got us all into the festive flow. Congratulations to all who took part: the music staff and, of course, our exceptionally talented children.

For Year 6, the rugby and hockey season finished on a high with great results at Winterfold and RGS. On the topic of sport, I am delighted to announce that Mrs Tammy Bennett has been appointed our new Director of Sport. Mrs Bennett came through a strong field of over 25 candidates to take the role. Her passion and desire to promote sport was clear to our Interview Panel and Governors. I believe that Mrs Bennett has all the qualities necessary to develop Blue Coat Sport. Please get behind her and support as we gear up for the football and netball season.

Next term, I will announce other additions to the sports staff, and this will bring us nearer to our goals. We continue to recruit for a Head of Swimming and hope to appoint a strong candidate in the New Year. Meanwhile, this Monday we celebrated the sporting highlights of the term. We had no need of the compering talents of a Lineker or a Barker and there was much to be proud of for boys and girls alike; there is a great deal to build on in the future.

The children celebrated in their Houses with a party and pantomime on Friday. It was great to see them enjoying themselves so freely after a long hard term. Thanks to all the House staff for their support to the children over the autumn term.

By now you should have received a copy of the School’s Aims and Priorities document, including outcomes to the questionnaire. I wanted to share with you the developments which will begin to reshape the School as I seek to raise its academic, musical and sporting stature. I hope you can see from the document my intention, with the support of the staff, to drive standards to an even higher level.

Over the last few weeks many Year 6 children will have received results from senior schools. I would like to congratulate them all for their hard work. If any parent would like to discuss these outcomes, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Year 5 parents, may I draw your attention to the emailed letter regarding the additional Maths and English tuition from January. It is our belief that this will enhance children’s exam readiness over the course of the year. This innovation reinforces our commitment to building on existing good practice.

I sign off excited about the future here at Blue Coat. Next term I will be teaching Maths to the Year 5s in their booster sessions and donning my football boots to manage the U11 soccer squad. Move over Mr Southgate. But seriously, I think I am perhaps more excited than the children!

I would like to thank and wish my PA, Mrs Libby Hubbard, all the best as she moves on to a new position at St Luke’s Gas Street in January. She has been invaluable in helping me to settle in at Blue Coat, but is moving to a part-time position in order to spend more time with her family.

We rounded off the term perfectly, with our Prep Carol Service. Here was an evening of emotion with wonderful singing, reading and drama. The candle lit service focused the mind and really got us in the mood for Christmas. The children donned their Best Blue and created a truly stunning, atmospheric occasion.

It was lovely to meet many of you after the service, and I would like to thank our Catering Manager and his staff for the mince pies and refreshments. I would like to thank the Choral Society for their support, and Mr Nicklin for leading the choirs. Finally, my heartfelt thanks go to Chaplain for her hard work all term – and particularly over Advent.

The latest issue of Out of the Blue is now on our website if you would like to look back on a busy and exciting term. A hard copy will be distributed at the beginning of the Spring Term.

Once again, thank you all for your support of the school. Have a great Christmas!

NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER