Emblazoned on coffee mugs; printed onto throw pillows; painted onto totes, T-shirts and distressed timber: how universally popular have become those aphorisms and sayings that we buy to bring a little homespun humour to our homes. In a world of the technological, where logos have generally taken the place of words and where we tend to rely on the graphics, it’s a strange phenomenon, is it not, this trend for the catchphrase, the epigram, the adage, the slogan?

To quote the truism of a wise man, who lived a long time before we were advised to “Keep Calm and Carry On” – “Nothing lasts forever, good or bad!” So, let me send that message to our Year 6 children who are still deeply involved in exam season, and for parents, let me adapt the words of that well-known saying from the WW2 posters: “Keep Calm and Carry On Supporting your Children!”

Clearly, you have not required my exhortation to support your offspring musically. During our Monday assembly, children received an astounding number of music certificates. They should be proud of their achievements, and it is wonderful to know that all the hours of dedicated practice are paying handsome dividends, as it will in every area of BCS life.

This week got off to a brilliant start on the sports front. The Under 10A and B girls had handsome 7-2 and 7-3 wins respectively against Solihull School. This has reinforced and rewarded the continued hard work and commitment of our pupils and staff. You don’t have to be an Arsenal fan (and I am not, incidentally!) to understand that for every much vaunted ‘superstar’ (Sanchez) there is a player less eye-catching but equally important (Elneny). At BCS we value team players. The U10 girls showed this in abundance.

That being said, I appreciate that swimming is a more individual sport. Having watched some of the development squad training this week, I must congratulate the children on their dedication to early starts in the swimming pool. I know that Mr Kelly appreciates the support of the parents in this new venture.

Cross country trials got underway this week. This training is providing a stirring start to the day for our budding Mo Farahs; it is also preparing young athletes for the upcoming season. Mr Harrison and Miss Crews are working hard to prepare the children for competition.

On a more general note, should you have any queries about clubs or activities of whatever kind, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Newman by email: newmanrj@thebluecoatschool.com.

Resisting the allure of the Labour Party Conference on the south coast, I this week visited Miss Kavanagh’s Year 2 English lesson. It was great to see a group so fully engaged in their learning. The investigative nature of the lesson challenged the children, setting high expectations, and I left feeling more inspired than even the more loyal of Brighton’s Corbynistas.

This week also saw our annual whole school assembly for The Shoe Box Christmas Appeal. As usual, Chaplain delivered a first class assembly, ably supported by staff. If you have time, please compile a shoebox for this worthwhile appeal. As a father, I know that it helps me to ‘ground’ my children and to value what we have at school and at home.

Tomorrow sees the first of this academic year’s Open Mornings. These mornings give prospective parents and children a really good idea of to see what life at Blue Coat is like. Once again, the omens for this event are promising, with a high number of visitors pre-registered. For their hard work behind the scenes, my thanks go to all the ‘Elnenys’ on the staff including Estates, and particularly Mrs Kearney (Registrar) and Mrs Dredger (Director of External Relations).

Whilst on the subject of our beautiful school grounds – I have been contacted this week by a concerned parent, who has brought our attention to a Birmingham City Council order after seeing parents bring dogs (both leashed and unleashed) onto the school site. Please be aware that from a child safety perspective this is not something that we can permit, so please refrain from doing so. The only dogs that are allowed on site are guide dogs and those owned by staff residents – and these are only to be walked outside of regular school hours.

And to finish on a sartorial note: I would remind the girls that they are requested to wear summer uniform for Open Morning tomorrow. Your continued support in such areas is much appreciated.