First, may I take this opportunity to welcome back the School community to what promises to be a very busy term. As always, please consult the calendar for forthcoming events and again, as always, please come and support your children.

This week I spoke to the children in assembly about positive attitudes. In every walk of life we must be focused and committed to reaching our goals. We must find our hygge (our happy place); live life to the full; learn to understand that we are all different but all equally important. Over this term there are many opportunities for the children to shine and develop. A daily one is their increased capacity for reading. During the holidays I read an article suggesting that children were not being exposed to rich vocabulary. It struck me that with the short and unrewarding material which is a feature of social media, youngsters are unlikely to gravitate – without guidance – towards anything more demanding. They will not want their beliefs challenged, and they may be disinclined to take an imaginative leap into the life and thoughts of an Alice (in Wonderland) or a Robinson Crusoe (on his island).

I remember the days, playing football being a more attractive option, when I was encouraged to read books such as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Alice, and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Yes, I confess: I was reluctant at first. But these books, I am now delighted to admit, did take me to lands of wonder and of awe. At BCS, under the guidance of Mrs Ayub and Mrs Kavanagh Finch we are planning a reading revolution. We aim to ensure that children enjoy immersing themselves in challenging material, and that they build a love and enjoyment. Of course, this will take their written work and understanding to a higher level, but more importantly, it will support them greatly in life.

On the subject of reading, I must quote Times columnist Jenni Russell. She wrote last week: “In 2013 Science magazine reported research by social psychologists at The New School in New York. Hundreds of participants read extracts of popular fiction, non-fiction, literary fiction or nothing, and then took a test measuring their ability to interpret what others were feeling. Those who had read literature did far better than any other groups, because their capacity to empathise had been switched on by their awareness of other people. And so, I issue a ‘3CB Reading Challenge’ here – finish 3 Classic Books by the summer holidays and win a Headmaster’s award.

There are just a couple of things to mention before I sign off. The BCS Golf day is on Friday 11th May. If you wish to sign up, please email friends@thebluecoatschool.com by Monday. Also, please keep an eye out for The Friends’ Summer Fair. All help is greatly appreciated.

Next week, all pupils must come to school in Summer uniform. This is summer dresses for the girls, short sleeved shirts and shorts for Pre-Prep boys, and short sleeved shirts and either shorts or trousers for Prep boys.

Prep parents, please be aware that snacks will continue to be provided by the School every day for children to enjoy.  Some parents have expressed a desire to supplement these snacks with extra food to ensure that their child’s energy is maintained throughout the day and for extracurricular activities – this is absolutely fine, but please ensure that all additional snacks adhere to the list sent by Mr Wurr.

I will be writing to you in the coming weeks to inform you about classes for the Academic year 2018-19 and new appointments. As always a lot of thought and consideration has gone into class sets and appointments made. I am very excited about this term and beyond.

MR NEESON | HEADMASTER