As Enobarbus is currently saying nightly of a famous queen, down the road in Stratford, “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” Well, our children show no signs of withering, and they are certainly being introduced to a full range of adventure. No, it takes more than a stiflingly hot week of Egyptian-style weather to diminish our appetite for experience and excellence!

I must first of all inform the school community about ‘The Bigger Splash’ – news that we are the new English Schools Swimming Association National Champions!

And now I am offering an edible prize to the first pupil who can name
a) the play referred to in this week’s introduction
and
b) the artist responsible for a painting whose title appears in the second paragraph!

I would like to congratulate, Sofia Knight, Monique James-Thomas, Skye Henshaw and Maia Noonan who smashed the English Schools’ national freestyle record twice (once in the heats and again in the finals) to become the new ESSA national champions. This quartet has worked extremely hard and shown great dedication in School; the support and commitment they have shown to their club when swimming out of School cannot be overestimated.

A special mention must go to our boys for their contribution and the girls’ medley team who narrowly missed out on winning their heat. I would like to thank Mrs Denham and Mrs Barrowclift for the support given to the children – it is greatly appreciated. This achievement is wonderful, and we must now use it as a springboard to further success in the future – not only in sport but in all that we do.

This week track and field was high on the agenda with the IAPS Athletics at Abingdon. Our performers gave a strong display and achieved an excellent outcome. Sofia Knight and Monique James-Thomas must be highly commended as they qualified for the IAPS National finals at The Alexandra Stadium in July in the 1500 metres and high jump respectively. Well done to all the competitors who represented The Blue Coat School. This was a great experience to build on in the future.

This week we welcomed our new Transition children and parents for an information afternoon. It was wonderful to see the children so happy and engaged. As I looked on at all these eager, fresh young faces, I thought, “What will they be? How many opportunities they will have afforded to them in the years to come!”

You never know, I could have been looking at the next Frederick Handel, a second Serena Williams, a budding Jack Nowell, an entrepreneur such as Bill Gates….the mind boggles!

Shakespeare will doubtless be as big as ever when these children are our age, but the next generation of playwrights probably won’t be using pen and paper, never mind quill and parchment!

Talking of which, Year 4 headed off to Stratford as part of their Shakespearean studies. It was a memorable day that was very informative. Metaphorically-speaking, the children clearly enjoyed dipping their toe in the water down beside the Avon. To mix metaphors, I hope this lights a fire within them to realise the power of the Bard’s work. It will surely stand them in good stead for the future.

Year 3 looked to the future as they visited the National Space Centre. They clearly enjoyed a fun-filled day learning about space travel and other exciting facts about space. How important it is to stretch our imaginations and to try to comprehend the scale of our planetary system – not just to retain a sense of wonder, but to put relatively trivial incidents into perspective, and to help us realise that as individuals we are not at the very hub of the universe!

And then, last weekend we enjoyed our Summer Fete. As we sizzled in the sun, I must admit that I rather enjoyed cooling off in the stocks! A big thank you to all The Friends for the massive effort that they put into this event. It was great occasion enjoyed by the whole school community. Thank you, one and all.

At the risk of repeating myself, please observe the school calendar over the course of next week. Events are coming thick and fast: the Transition and Reception Thanksgiving services and, of course, the Year 6 production of ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’, next Thursday and Friday evening.

Have a wonderful family weekend!

NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER