On the short walk from home to the School campus this morning, I heard the excitement of children chattering and speaking excitedly about the new developments around the School. This was gratifying. It is so important that the children feel inspired by the innovations that have taken place over the summer break.

More significant still, perhaps, is the staff training which took place at the end of the holiday. All staff were really inspired by our training programme, and your children will undoubtedly see the benefits in the short and the long term. It focused on The Power of Reading. As we all know, there is nothing which provokes and stimulates thought more than a book. Some cinemagoers (is that word still in current usage?) might be lucky enough to have seen Ian McEwan’s ‘The Children Act’ adapted for the screen. You don’t even need a superb performance by Emma Thompson to amuse, to chill or to move. Even on the page, the written word has the power to awake emotion as well as to instruct. We want all the children at BCS to use their imagination fully; to be exposed to literature, not McEwan yet, but perhaps Christopher Robin, which I notice is also being shown nationwide.

I was lucky enough to lead the School in assembly and Chapel this week. I feel it is important for me as Headmaster to use these opportunities to set out my expectations. My theme was kindness and love; two important pillars here at Blue Coat. Mrs Neeson uses a great line with our children: “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!” It is so important, you will agree, to put others before ourselves and to think carefully about how we make others feel. As adults we must follow this simple principle, and lead by example. At Blue Coat we are keen to take small steps to make a difference, and to that end Chaplain will be writing to all shortly about donating old PE uniform to be sent to a worthy cause.

This weekend some of our Year 6 children will sit the 11+ exams. I would like to wish them all the very best. Whatever happens, we are very proud of your hard work and commitment, and I am sure that whatever school you move on to will be lucky to have you.

I look forward to seeing many of you this evening at the first of this year’s BCS Lectures for what I am sure will be a fascinating talk from Alex Hibbert, a polar expedition leader. I would also like to cordially invite you to the BCS Summer Soirée which takes place on Monday 17th September at 7pm in the School Hall. Performed by the BCS Music Department staff, it promises to be a wonderful evening. Further details can be found here.

And so the BCS engine is ticking smoothly. In fact, we are already in top gear. Can I formally thank all the staff at the School – academic staff, estates workers and administrative staff – for ensuring BCS was up and running – indeed highly-tuned – for the new term.

On the subject of motor cars (and pedestrians), please can I also remind you always to be careful walking and driving round school, especially until work on the Pavilion and viewing area is completed. Oh, and talking of pavilions, we have reached the end of an era, cricket-wise, with the impending retirement of Alastair Cook. In my previous job, I had the pleasure of welcoming England’s then captain to talk to the children and to give a Masterclass coaching session. Cook has been a great player, and the most delightful man, too. To think that no child in school here was alive when he made his debut for England in India – and made the first of so many centuries! What are the qualities that he has shown in his international career? Mental strength, courage, dedication, honesty and sheer hard work. Our values at BCS.

Have a great weekend!

MR NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER