In a busy penultimate week of term, I decided to take my wife out to dinner. Having had a significant lunch in school that day, I bypassed the meat dishes and scanned the menu for something lighter. Fish, perhaps? Happily, the menu offered ‘Hake’. And that one syllable reminded me instantly of a hilarious incident from TV’s Family Fortunes. You remember the programme? Two families provide answers to ‘everyday questions’ that have been surveyed by 100 members of the British public before the show. So, one Saturday evening, chirpy compère Les Dennis asked a competitor to provide an answer to the question. A kind of ache? Back came the answer, as quick as a flash: “Fillet-o-fish.” “Eh-uhh” Isn’t it easy to get paralysed by fear when put in the spotlight? The simplest facts escape you; the mind becomes less like a cortex; more like a Christmas pudding.

And so, I want to congratulate the children for picking out their special subjects, for doing their research, and for putting their general knowledge to the test in this year’s Mastermind eliminator – our very own game show. The grand final will take place next Friday in the School Hall, where the Mastermind Trophy will be at stake. I will ask Mr Newman (aka Magnus Magnusson) to post the questions next week; then you can try your luck!

Doubtless that will be a dramatic event. And it will follow hot on the heels of another such: in the Pre-Prep we enjoyed the Transition & Reception production of Prickly Hay, followed by Year 1 who did an excellent job of Santa’s Setbacks. And then of course Year 2, our senior Pre-Prep children, were all outstanding in their own version of Love Has Come. The fantastically dedicated staff of Pre-Prep prepared the children for this family event at what is a special time of year.

The children had another wonderful experience this week when Chaplain arranged for animals relating to Christmas to visit our Forest School. These experiences make learning come alive. Thank you to Mr Isherwood and Mrs Walker for their support here.

This week we welcomed a number of other schools for our BCS Rugby Festivals. I was lucky to see the under 9s version, in which the boys, clearly relishing the occasion, played well. As for the U10s, they rounded off their season in style with great results against Warwick, Solihull and Eversfield schools seeing them undefeated. Well done to all the boys.

The U11 inter-house hockey matches were keenly contested, the girls of St Margaret’s House coming out 3-1 winners. It was a super match, the girls representing their respective houses with great pride. I would like to thank all the sports staff for an amazing term. Whether it be hockey, rugby, swimming or cross country, all children at every level had their chance to shine. BCS has made huge strides during this year and I am proud of the children for giving so much in whatever team they have represented.

On the music front, the Chapel Choir joined with the Cathedral Choir at St Philip’s on Sunday. Our pupils were first rate, singing beautifully alongside the Choristers and the BCS Choral Society. It is important that BCS children share their talents with the wider community, and the Chapel Choir did just that on Tuesday morning, entertaining the staff, patients and visitors of the QE Hospital with a rousing rendition of Christmas Classics.

My thanks also go to The Salvation Army who provided a memorable Chapel service on Wednesday morning. The children loved hearing the brass band. It got Christmas off to a rousing start!

As always, keep an eye on the calendar for next week’s events here at BCS. Brexit would in no circumstances be my Specialist Subject, but I understand that there is a vote of some kind in the House of Commons next Tuesday. If all that shopping and Christmas preparation is getting a bit too much for you parents, just think: it could be worse. You could be Theresa, or Philip!

MR NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER