Biological determinism is an interesting and challenging subject. How much of our achievement should we credit to our forebears, and how much of the credit can we take for ourselves? In other words, to what extent is our potential dictated and limited by our genes, and how much are we thwarted in our ambitions by our very own shortcomings? In his book The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould writes, “We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of opportunity to strive or even to hope by a limit imposed from without but falsely identified as lying within.” These thoughts have loomed large with me during the past week as I have seen footage of the awful events in Indonesia and admired the poppy bashing which has been a focus here at Blue Coat. At present, although we gaze helplessly at the devastation caused by the tsunami we can be thankful that we are living at a relatively peaceful time. Wars are not a thing of the past, I fear; they are not a focus of the present.

What IS a focus of the present, with Armistice Day approaching, is the sheer waste of war. The loss of so many young people who would never have the chance even to test out Stephen Jay Gould’s theory about the limitations of geneticism. To use his words again: ‘The stunting of life, and the denial of opportunity.’ To quote A.E.Housman’s Great War poem,

Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.
Life, to be sure
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is.

As we approach the centenary of the end of World War 1, our Artist in Residence Stephen Whitehead has, with Mrs Lambert Green and Mrs Lynn, overseen the classes’ poppy bashing as part of the Great War centenary memorial. This project will involve all children at the School and we hope that you, the parent body, will support by bashing a Poppy.

As another week comes to a close here, we reflect on the opportunities that the children have had to expand their experience and the positives that they have taken home. Year 6A talked to us about the understanding of feelings and how we should deal with  harsh or positive feelings. The children delivered their lines with clarity and made their point very clearly. Thank you to Chaplain and Miss Green for an excellent assembly.

It was great to welcome so many parents to our E-safety talk on Tuesday evening. The talk was, necessarily, weighty and serious. I would encourage all parents to contact Mr Hill, for further information on this topic. The key message was that we must embrace the online world, but at the same time we have a duty to be vigilant with our children.

There has been sport aplenty this week, and it has featured many a determined performance. Results didn’t all go our way but the majority did. A special mention for excellent play and victories must go to the U10 boys in both fixtures, and the U11 girls’ hockey was excellent. The U11B played exceptionally well to beat King’s Hawford 5-1, and the As drew 3-3 with King’s Hawford – who have not lost a game in two years. It was only a last gasp goal that robbed the girls of a famous victory. The U11 C and D teams were on terrific form against RGS and had two positive results.

In Pre-Prep, I enjoyed seeing the children out having autumn walks to enhance their writing. I look forward to observing the follow-up work. Today and tomorrow our Year 6 boys and girls will be sitting KEHS and KES exams. We wish them every success. I am sure they will do their themselves proud. And we also wish Mr Harrison good luck on Sunday when he runs the Bournemouth Marathon!

Have a great weekend.

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster