This week saw the whole School community remember the men and women who have given their lives in conflict. I was honoured to lead Pre-Prep in their Remembrance Service and was struck by the bright attentiveness of the children during the assembly.
It still astonishes me that the number of military and civilian casualties in World War I totalled almost 40 million. Whenever I try to come to terms with those numbers, I save a special place for those who lost their lives in the closing days of the conflict, when – to all intents and purposes – peace was already signed.
Most prominent among them, perhaps, was the poet Wilfred Owen, whose body lies in the graveyard at Ors, the village in Normandy where he lost his life on the side of the canal.
This evening, wrapped up against the cold, we will watch and listen to the fireworks. Perhaps we can imagine what it was like in the freezing trenches just over a century ago, and indeed what it has been like being under fire in more recent times – in Syria, for instance.
To quote one of Owen’s most famous poems, Exposure, the anticipation of the shelling was as terrifying as the devastating impact. And conditions were unimaginable.
“Tonight, this frost will fasten on this mud and us,
Shrivelling many hands, and puckering foreheads crisp.
The burying-party, picks and shovels in shaking grasp,
Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,
But nothing happens.”
In the warmth of the chapel, The Rev Dr Nick Tucker conducted our Upper School Remembrance service, and gave a talk that was most thought-provoking. This was a poignant occasion that brought the school family together to remember the fallen.
I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time in Transition this week, watching them “Going on a Bear Hunt!” We cannot forget how young and innocent these three-year-olds are. They tried so hard to meet the tasks set by their teacher. Well done to all!
Talking of innocence, we have a duty of care to educate ourselves as adults to ensure we help our children stay safe in a world that is becoming ever more digital. On this serious note, I would like to thank the parents who attended our online safety talk on Thursday morning.
Please remember: if you would like to discuss any issues, I run a surgery for parents every Thursday from 8am. Also, we will shortly hold a Viney Open Evening when you can come and see our state of the art kitchen and dining room, archive room and new library. The facilities are first rate.
Next week we will be joining in with national Anti-Bullying Week with various age appropriate activities. The Anti-Bullying Alliance theme for this year is ‘Change starts with Us’. We will be focusing primarily on positive behaviours linked to this theme: being kind; sharing a smile; paying a compliment; including everyone; being a good friend. We will be having a whole school assembly on Tuesday 12 November when the children may wear odd socks for the Anti-Bullying Alliance’s Odd Socks Day.
I look forward to welcoming families to our annual Fireworks evening tonight. A big thank you to the Friends for all their hard work and endeavour.
Finally good luck to all children sitting Solihull School this weekend!
Mr Neeson | Headmaster