This week has been overshadowed by the horrific incident in London. As the sun came up on Thursday, a number of images from the previous evening’s news will have come to gnaw at every viewer’s mind. For me, it was the sight of that youngish woman of medium height, with medium length hair, dressed all in grey, running from left to right along the bridge. Totally focussed, completely selfless and utterly fearless, she knelt to speak to paramedics, checked on a victim’s condition, and ran off to get help.
Rolling news, with its windswept reporters and the constant replaying of dramatic footage, cordons and police cars, sirens and draped stretchers, will inevitably play a part in our reaction to such events, but there must surely be a balance struck?
There must be some way of processing and calibrating the tragic and the remarkable, a way which does not provide the oxygen of publicity for would-be perpetrators, a way which provides some form of consolation and understanding for ourselves. Perhaps it is through poetry? According to William Wordsworth this is “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” a literary form which “takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”
Ironic, is it not, that in 1803, Wordsworth was standing on that very Westminster Bridge when he had a spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling. He later recollected that very feeling, in tranquillity, producing these marvellous lines:
EARTH has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
Yes, the sun did come up again on Thursday, and for an hour or so, there might have been some early nineteenth century serenity but maybe, in this age of rolling 24-hour news, instagram, twitter, mobile phones and the rest, we just don’t have time any more for that tranquillity? Many of us will be thinking of those unfortunate young French students and their desperate families as we continue to focus hard in all subject areas.
This week the Senior Management Team and Heads of Department observed a range of exercise books from each subject area and discussed with the children their views. It is really important that we always give our children a voice and work hard with them to set inspirational targets in all subject areas. On a visit to Buttons Nursery, I was delighted to see a range of work celebrating a variety of children’s learning.
We have had a number of talks from Mr Harrison regarding the Year 4 and 5 residentials. A lot of time and research has gone into these trips, which are designed to develop resilience in our children and to build independence and social skills. I am hoping to visit both sites during the children’s visits.
Last Friday, I was thrilled to hear that our Under 11 girls and boys had reached the England Schools Swimming Association Finals in Sheffield in June. This is a terrific achievement, the first time all four teams have qualified. A huge well done to the staff and coaches in and out of school and, of course, a huge pat on the back for our amazing children.
Football-wise, there was another strong display by the Under 11 boys, who reached the semifinals of the Independent Schools Football Tournament. This has capped off a short but successful term. Well done, to all.
Closer to home, the weather played havoc with the fixture list but the fixtures that did go ahead were very successful for our teams. We now gear up for the Athletics, Rounders and Cricket season. So get practising during the Easter break!
I am getting the cricket bat out in preparation for The Headmaster’s XI match against the Dads, who will be led by Mr Brinkman. The game will take place at Harborne Cricket Club on 9th June, and there will be a BBQ available on the evening. I would like to thank Mr McKenzie for taking the lead in organising this event. Please keep the date free and come and support your Headmaster. Any tips on batting and bowling would be gratefully received!
Tomorrow will see over 800 visitors to school as we host author/illustrators David Litchfield and Jonny Duddle as part of the Bournville Children’s Book Festival. It is important for us to be involved in events such as this within the local community and we are delighted that the event has sold out. I hope many of our Blue Coat families have bought tickets and will make the most of this opportunity.
This morning St Margaret’s House gave the whole school an entertaining but thought-provoking review of the important work of Comic Relief. Even a little money goes a long way in changing people’s lives and I hope that we can make a valuable contribution to this worthwhile appeal today.
As we approach the final week of term, I pinch myself that I have now have been in post for two terms….how time flies. Please check the calendar for timings of next week’s various events, In particular our Easter Service in Chapel. It would be great to see a bumper turnout of parents to celebrate the end of term.
NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER