It’s been another extraordinary week on the international front, has it not? Scores of thousands of British people – and Boris Johnson – have been left feeling stranded, hoping that someone, somehow, will come to rescue them. Oh, Boris. You remember him marooned on that zipwire in London’s Victoria Park some years back, acting the giddy goat and telling those below that it was all “very well organised”? Well, to mix my animal metaphors, chickens invariably come home to roost. He acted unlawfully and, allegedly, misinformed the Queen. As he flew back from America, his comeuppance was almost complete.
By contrast, those holidaymakers who booked with Thomas Cook involuntarily picked an ailing organisation, are fully deserving of our sympathy. If it’s hard to imagine sunning yourself in a foreign land when your package company goes bust, it’s fortunate for these innocent English folks abroad that everybody in Majorcan hotels speaks their lingo.
In this country, we are lucky indeed. English is the language understood more widely around the globe than any other. Consequently, we feel that we have less need to be multilingual. But, especially as we prepare to duck out of the EU, does that mean that we should rely on this privilege? Should we really shut our ears and close our mouths when given the chance to take on the challenge and the charm of other tongues?
Says Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce “Young people skilled in the languages of Europe, China and other key markets around the world can look forward to exciting and rewarding careers”. And The Russell Group (of 24 Universities) has named languages as subjects that open doors.
Why? Because learning a foreign language does favourable things to the brain. Amongst other things – and you can find out more here this Friday (!) – it increases memory, encourages mental flexibility, explains cultural difference, helps us to understand our own language and enhances self-respect.
Mrs (or should I say Madame Newman?) has done a sterling job in raising the profile of languages at BCS. Seeing the children and staff celebrate Languages Week, taking simple but effective opportunities brought into their everyday psyche. We will finish off these wonderful five days with a lecture by Mr Boothroyd from the University Of Birmingham on ‘Why Languages Are Important.’ Please come along and listen. It promises to be a very interesting talk.
Yes, it behoves us to reach out: not only linguistically, but in so many other ways, too. We welcomed a number of children from Quinton Church of England School as part of our Outreach Programme. Children enjoyed Forest School under direction from Mrs Walker and Mr Isherwood. As Jeremy Corbyn threatens to abolish Private Schools, we have enjoyed sharing our facilities with – and promoting partnership with – the wider community.
On Wednesday morning I enjoyed visiting Reception to watch our staff and children at work. It is always refreshing to see the children so engaged in their learning. This is always one of my highlights, observing classes at work and watching them grasp all the opportunities offered.
It was also wonderful to welcome Year 3 parents to our open classrooms on Monday and Tuesday evening. It was great to chat to many of you and to continue building a strong foundation for your children. Thank you to staff and parents.
I also enjoyed meeting my Heads of School meeting on Friday morning to discuss school issues. They are embracing their roles with energy and enthusiasm, trying hard to live out the School’s values: Be Truthful, Patient and Kind.
And on another note, if parents would like any information about the forthcoming flu vaccination they should contact School Matron, Mrs Wendy Moloney. BCS normally has a very good uptake on the offer – last year it was 86.5% (compared to a normal average nationally of 65%) and the Immunisation Service has asked us to thank parents for their co-operation.
Bravo et au revoir!
Mr Neeson| Headmaster