To quote the words that Shakespeare put into the mouth of that ‘noble’ fellow Falstaff: ‘The better part of valour is discretion; in which, the better part I have saved my life.’ We will do well to follow the example of Prince Hal’s portly friend – especially now, as things move a little closer to how they used to be.

 Yes, of course it has been delightful to have the School Community back in their Bubbles, but we must avoid complacency and we must continue to remember that discretion is indeed the better part of valour.

 As I mentioned in my letter to you all at the beginning of this week, we must keep social distancing and hygiene at the forefront of all we do. You will be aware that, due to cases of coronavirus, other local schools have had to send home children in certain year groups.

 And though Donald Trump might not concur, I am sure right minded parents will agree with me on this: in the current climate only the vain or the reckless will oppose the wearing of a ‘mask’.

 Which leads me to continue with a paragraph in significant dark type :

 In order to keep us all as safe as possible, I am asking, that, from Monday, all parents observe social distancing at drop-off and pick-up, and that they wear a face covering. 

This way, we can ensure that a bright start to the new academic year will carry on uninterrupted.

 Certainly, the children have settled well into the new term, and there is a real buzz around the School. Focused and engaged in their learning, boys and girls have told me about scintillating science lessons, challenging comprehensions and mind-boggling mathematics. They are clearly buoyed to be learning in a classroom again.

 I enjoyed addressing the School –  albeit through video – to set out our aims for the coming year. These aims encompass academic and pastoral targets which I hope will drive ambition and attainment as well as instilling in the importance of putting others first, through kindness.

 I genuinely believe in the “3 C’s”; Courtesy, Consideration and Common sense. Surely if these are embedded into daily life we would all be better people!

 I had the honour of leading two Thanksgiving Assemblies: Year 1 on Tuesday and Year 2 on Thursday. As we reinforced School values, Mrs Neeson was on hand to support. The children, as always, were impeccably behaved and reverent throughout. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we are as yet unable to sing, but Chaplain led us in song through audio, and we performed the actions.  It was just perfect.

 Children across the School have had much to deal with and we must be mindful of this. Mr Hulbert summed it up wonderfully well in staff training when he suggested; 

“The language we use is going to be crucial in ensuring that we create a safe and positive environment for the children to settle back into school. Refraining from using negative language.  We’re going to look at turning this situation into a positive, looking at praising and encouraging the children to ensure we create that safe, nurturing environment that allows them to learn to the best of their ability.”

Wise words for us all to heed!

Finally, can I wish all the children sitting the 11+ this Saturday the best of luck. Make yourselves proud and you will no doubt get to the school which fits your individual needs.

Meanwhile, have a restful weekend with your families: you all deserve it!

Mr Neeson