We British really are the most extraordinary race. Even as the river of a coronavirus crisis is in full spate, we find the time and the inclination to swim into charming, sentimental little tributaries.

This week we learn that Colonel Tom Moore, the former soldier who walked round his house once for every year of his century, has been awarded a knighthood, having raised more than £30M for the NHS. And this extraordinary news followed hard on the heels of the story of Monty Don’s labrador. Having trailed his master lovingly around the borders and potting sheds for 15 years or more, TV personality Roger passed suddenly away.

The news channels need to find an antidote to awfulness, I know, and we all need to find comfort where we can. But some of the stories stretch credibility.

I guess we will hear next that the President of the United States is dosing himself up with a drug for which he would need a prescription, which might be good for the treatment of malaria but has no beneficial effects for the staving off of COVD-19.

But seriously, I did feel sorry for national treasure Monty, who has had periods of anxiety during his time, and for whom a trusty dog must be a wonderful comfort. At times like this, as books like Roald Dahl’s can transport us into a happier world, pets offer great consolation and support. And the fact that dogs need exercise gives one a good excuse to take a stroll.

 While walking our own family hound, Baxter, and absorbing the birdsong recently, I have bumped into numerous BCS families (metaphorically-speaking, of course) who have been so very supportive of our distance learning provision. I am delighted to hear this. I know as Headmaster and as a dad that the teachers are working so hard to provide a strong educational package for all.

The question will not go away. Will School life ever be the same? Well, the Senior Leadership Team here at BCS have been preparing for the ‘new normal’. You will all now be in receipt of the ‘Phased Return to School’ brochure which outlines our commitment to safe learning practices in these strange, uncertain times. I must reiterate my thanks to the whole BCS Family – children, staff and parents – who are embracing the new norm with flexibility and steely determination.

Plus creativity, indeed! How delighted I was with all the photos we received to show celebrations for VE day. It was great to see that many paid tribute to an important time in history.

The Heads of School joined me last week on my assembly to set out some House challenges: a family 2k run, an art competition focusing on lockdown, Baking and a Rainbow trail. Thank you to all the children and parents for joining in these challenges. Great fun is being had by all. This sort of thing keeps the House Spirit alive.

In Prep, the children continue to beaver away with their online learning. I am also seeing, on a day-to-day basis, great work across Pre-Prep, not only in core lessons but in the foundation subjects also. I have ‘sat’ in a number of lessons where they were so engrossed in helping the individuals that the teacher failed to notice me. Unflattering for yours truly, but a wonderful testimony to their engagement!

By now, I hope that you all have received a special Golden Letter from me! Please read it carefully. If you have time, maybe you will write back to me with how it went, and send some pictures. This is a thank you from me for all your hard work.

At half term, please do take a break and recharge the batteries ready for the last six weeks. I will be writing to Year 5 with our preparation plans for exams and how we wish to support the children. I will also be sending letters from Senior School Heads. These will outline the admissions criteria and expectations in the coming year.

Noel Neeson | Headmaster