This week’s New Statesman carried an interesting article on the artist Michael Andrews. Less well known than Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, he was nevertheless, apparently, a fellow luminary of the London School. A shy and retiring man, Andrews was evidently as self conscious in his manner as he was painstaking in his production.“To be released and unselfconscious,” he said, late in life. “How wonderful that would be.”

While adding knowledge, maturity and sophistication to all our pupils, one of the challenges we face as educators is to preserve that natural uninhibitedness and unselfconsciousness in every child. The sort of delightful unselfconsciousness, in fact, that I witnessed first hand while watching children hard at work with brushes earlier this week, when it was like being transported to the sunshine of Nice for a magical hour!

Year One children were working on self-portraits in Creative Arts. They looked at their faces using a mirror and thought carefully about the spacing and positioning of their facial features. They also studied the work of Henri Matisse and Paul Klee; and created pictures using a range of techniques in the style of these famous artists. In these days of ‘Selfies’ how refreshing it is to see work that is so creative. It certainly reinforces how children of this age are devoid of inhibition. The projects are coming along brilliantly, and I look forward to seeing the finished pieces. 

Year Five children have been focussing on something way beyond themselves. They have examined how the Jewish community celebrates Rosh Hashanah (and also wished Blake a happy new year!) They have learned about Yom Kippur, which is celebrated this weekend, and reflected on their own actions as a year group, looking at things that they are proud of and things they want to do better. 

Following on in PSHE, Year 5 looked at target-setting linked to our BCS Blue values. They thought about which values they have already received stickers for, and – linked to RE – spoke about how they can improve themselves. It is wonderful to see children learning about other religions and connecting this learning to the concept of respect. 

Here at BCS we pride ourselves in equality for all, and, fittingly, this week, leading Pre-Prep assemblies, I focused on the challenge of being kind. We looked at how children can support each other through such acts. It must have hit the mark as I have been inundated with children telling me of amazing acts of kindness; Saying thank you to the catering staff, wishing people good morning, telling other children how good they are at spelling, art or maths. The list was endless. Well done to all the Pre-Prep children for embracing this important School value.

In the Prep School, cross country was the feature of the week. The children tried so hard for their Houses and should be proud of their efforts and commitments. A special mention goes to Year 4 who – due to technical issues in race one – ran the race twice. I commend you all for your resilience. Your fitness levels will have increased, I’m sure. A special thank you to the Sports staff for their hard work on this event. Maybe a parents race next year?!

My Prep assembly today saw St Margaret’s awarded this week’s House Cup. This new celebration of the House system is having a very positive and healthy effect on the children’s endeavours in class. The winning House enjoyed treats from Ms Robinson, the baker in our catering team – thank you!

Finally we wish Miss Stefanowski (and Mr Nicklin!) and Miss Crews a safe and happy final trimester of their pregnancies. They will be working from home from 28 weeks, as per Government advice. I will keep you updated in due course of any baby news.  Hot off the press I would like to congratulate Mrs Glasgow (Pre-Prep) and her husband, Lee, on the safe arrival of their baby daughter, Eliana. Deogratius. 

Meanwhile, have a good weekend – and stay safe!

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster