The Blue Coat School is proud of being what is known as a ‘traditional but forward thinking school’. But it is equally proud of being adaptable. This past six months has tested to the limit our powers of flexibility.

As we conclude this academic year, I must commend all the staff and children for their hard work, ingenuity and co-operation over this strange and extraordinarily challenging time. The children have adapted uncommonly well, and must be commended for their resilience.

The staff body, too, deserves so much credit. I applaud their drive and efficiency in offering an unrivalled home learning package. As much as its illustrious history, this contemporary  ‘can do’ attitude – personified by pupils and teachers alike – defines the school.

In such a period of uncertainty, it is good to confirm that some things remain constant. And I am so proud of our Year 6 children, who have maintained our record of great results. Hard work pays off, and the senior school results reinforce the reputation of high academic achievement here. I would like to thank, formally, all our leavers for their contribution to our school.

This week, we celebrated with Year 6 – at a socially acceptable distance – the end of an era. The children enjoyed a Chapel service with Chaplain, a final session with me to receive their leavers’ merchandise (hoodie and Yearbook and a bespoke cupcake). They also celebrated with a Play in a Day, judged by Mrs Redfern, who prepares to rejoin the fold in September. They had a potted sports day and a STEM Day. All this was rounded off with a magnificent thanksgiving service and class assemblies. I must tip my hat to our Heads of School for their beautiful end of term speeches, captured forever on screen.

This is an appropriate moment to say a hearty thank you to the Chaplain for excellent thanksgiving assemblies, and to Jeremy Nicklin and Nick Hill for all the hard work on all the online assemblies and services across the year. They have really pushed the boat out.

I must also take this opportunity to congratulate Jack Mathew on completing his NQT year. Mr Matthews has really come to the fore with his eye for detail and his desire to further himself. We are very lucky to have a dynamic young member of staff so dedicated to the children.

I believe that we were one of the very few schools to welcome back nearly all pupils, having done so for the last four weeks of term. Here, I am grateful to the parent body for their belief and confidence in the school.

Many will be aware of the following mantra, which I maintain at all times; ‘We are individually strong, and unbreakable as one.’ The quality of teamwork and cooperation has never been more important than in this latest six-month period, which has been as unpredictable as it has been unprecedented.

Things move on; even apparently unconquerable viruses.  We evolve, and, inevitably, we have to say goodbye to a number of staff across the school. We wish them every happiness and good wish in all that they do in the future.

A special mention is due to the staff of Buttons Nursery, which has now closed its doors after so many years. These dedicated people have played a significant role in shaping the future of so many young lives. Their legacy lives on through the children who continue to grow in grace here at School.

Parents, have a restful break. Thank you on behalf of the staff for the good wishes and support during these times. In September we will, I trust, make a fresh start. Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Noel Neeson