As I write, the phoney war is over and England are doing battle with Australia Down Under at The Gabba. Having followed The Ashes for more than three decades, when the series is on I am inclined to take the radio to bed and listen in, hoping that Root and Co can do what no English team has done for almost 30 years; win in Brisbane.

“Serious sport”, said George Orwell, “has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred and jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all the rules and sadistic pleasure in unnecessary violence. In other words it is war minus the shooting.”  Well, if you listened to comments from Messrs David Warner and Nathan Lyon this week, you would subscribe to the Orwellian view.

Orwell has been proven right in so many areas that I would usually hesitate to argue with him, but on this point I believe that sport offers so much more than jealousy, boastfulness and the rest. We have seen that recently at The Blue Coat School, where the fruits of hard work and training have brought success to pupils, and helped them to grow in confidence as young people.

Last Friday is a case in point. We took the RGS Cross Country by storm, winning the U9 individual and team competitions, as well as the U11 girls individual and team events. We also celebrated third place in the U11 boys and girls events with two children from Year 5 running a year above their age group. The future is bright! I would like to thank Mr Harrison and Miss Crews for supporting the children with their Tuesday morning running club. Well done to all the children for their hard work. It was with a warm feeling that I overheard one parent from RGS remarking that Blue Coat seem to be cleaning up at events these days. A lovely remark but one that Orwell would want us to keep in context!

I want to create a school where children achieve their full potential in all that they do, so it is gratifying that sport is developing well.  Sport is an important part of our lives here at BCS –  it allows boys and girls freedom of expression while teaching them the importance of self-discipline.  

When we look at the top senior schools in the country, including those in the Midlands, we see that they stand out academically, musically and sportingly. This is  how I would like BCS to be positioned and this is very much part of my vision.

As if to illustrate my point, take the stimulating talk that we had only this Monday from Molly Griffith. Molly, an old girl of St Margaret’s, is a Para skier. Molly is an Old Scholar and a classic example of how dedication can help the individual transcend physical handicap. Hearing her speak, and listening last weekend to Scottish rugby player Doddie Weir talking with such optimism about the crippling disease with which he is assailed, can only make us feel determined to make the very most of our lives.

Striving to make the most of our abilities brings me neatly onto the annual ‘Aims and Priorities’ booklet.  This week you will find the booklet in your child’s bag which outlines our targets for the coming year. I hope you agree that these are exciting times here at BCS and with clear vision and leadership. We plan to make the school a centre of excellence in all that we do. Thank you for your continued support as we strive for this goal.

I would also like to thank the Governors for their support and wise counsel. It was a pleasure to welcome to the School on Wednesday Mr Singleton, our Chair of Governors, as part of his Link Governor remit. I believe that he enjoyed his visit very much – and was even treated to a French fashion show!

We have also welcomed this week our Artist in Residence, Mr Justin Wiggan, who specialises in Sound Art. Thank you to Mrs Lambert-Green for organising this event for Year 5. Such opportunities really inspire our children and get them thinking outside the box. (Read more in the section below).

Tomorrow we have our Christmas Fayre, which really starts the festive period here at BCS. Thank you to The Friends for all their hard work in creating this event – they make such a big impact on School life. Can I ask parents and children to come and support the Fayre, and to enjoy a seasonal afternoon with the school community. You are also warmly invited to buy tickets for ‘Jingle and Mingle’ next Thursday 30th November. A special thank you to the Estates Team for putting up the Christmas tree outside the Viney Building – it looks stunning.

I would ask all parents to please check the calendar over the next few weeks as we enter into the ‘business end’ of term. Do come along and support your children in all that we do.

Finally, can we please ask that no child is left unsupervised outside of the Houses before 8am. All children should be under the watchful eye of a responsible adult until the House is opened. Thank you.

See you at the Christmas Fayre!