There is something about witches’ brews, the riddle of walking trees and a man not born of woman which has transfixed audiences of Shakespeare for 400 years and more.

If Birnam Wood arriving at Dunsinane – and the final fight scene between Macbeth and Macduff – have captured adults, then you can suppose
what they do to the imagination of a child.

Well, we don’t have to wonder any longer. You had only to be with us in the School Hall this week to understand the lasting power of The Bard, and why he is unchallenged as the greatest dramatist of all time.

Yes, Year 5 were treated to a compelling, if abridged, version of ‘The Scottish Play’ by the Young Shakespeare Company. The children were enthralled and captivated by acting that really made both the story and their learning come alive.

Perhaps this will be the introduction to a long list of great characters – Lear, Falstaff, Shylock, Othello, Hamlet, Malvolio and the rest – who are just waiting to greet our children as they get older.

With the dark nights starting to creep in, and the clocks soon to go backwards, perhaps it’s time for a topical quiz question for all children, Mums and Dads. So, here we go:

Which Shakespeare play not only contains a scene in which a statue comes to life but also contains the remarkable stage direction, “Exit, pursued by a bear”?

The first correct emailed answer to my PA, Olivia (hmpa@thebluecoatschool.com) wins the sender a small edible prize!

Anyway, meanwhile, a big thank you to Mrs Ayub for organising this event. Do read her piece below for more details.

Of course we all know that our language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words which were wholly original.

I was reminded of this when visiting Mrs James this week, who had her class working on their writing skills. It was a challenging lesson, one that got the children developing their language with multitudinous* new and exciting words. Well done, Year 4.

On the theme of literature, some of our Year 5 pupils visited King Edward’s School on Thursday for an Author Visit. They evidently found listening to Joe Craig a stimulating experience, and I am sure that this will develop their writing ability in future.

Deputy Head Academic, Mrs Palmeri, has also been visiting classes: she tells me of many excellent and strong outcomes for the children. The use of IT in the Pre-Prep rooms that I visited greatly enhanced the teaching and learning. I was amazed by the mathematical ability of our Year 1 children, all of whom were being challenged to achieve their best. Most importantly it was a tonic to see the teacher interacting with the children so naturally. A big thank you to all the staff for their hard work and for the way in which they have created a happy, confident atmosphere. Without that, the process of learning cannot be effective.

I must commend the children sent to me by Mrs Redfern to receive a Headmaster’s Achievement Award. The writing was excellent and of a very high calibre. Well done to all.

Can I remind those Year 5 parents who were unable to attend my talk on Senior School Transfer that the presentation is on the parent portal.

It has been a strong week on the hockey and rugby fields. You can catch up on the results in the results section, but I just wanted to mention the determination and commitment the children are showing. There is a desire to achieve and develop. This work ethic is pushing standards for all. I was delighted to see some of the Moseley RFC here on Monday developing the skills of Year 5 boys. Such sessions can only inspire children to develop their ability and their enjoyment further.

Next Thursday sees the first Prelude Concert of the academic year. Looking at the list of performers, this has the makings of an unforgettable concert. Thank you to Mr Nicklin and his team for preparing the children. I hope to see many of you next week at 8.40am in the School Hall.

Today and tomorrow sees many of our Year 6 children sit the KEHS and KES entrance exams. Good luck to them all!

Have a great weekend and do, please, keep your eye on the calendar for upcoming events.

 

NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER

*A word invented by Shakespeare; used in Macbeth to describe all the seas that Duncan’s blood had turned red.