Irreverent we might be in this country, but the ingenuity of our humour is never in doubt. ‘TANGO MAN’S GONE MAD’ screamed the headline on the front page of a ‘Red Top’ on Wednesday. And after the antics we have seen from a slightly-less-orange-than-usual Donald Trump between White House and Walter Reed in recent days, it is difficult to disagree. Of many a theatrical moment, the most outrageous came when the President removed his mask on returning home, a Hollywood hero. Clearly having trouble breathing, and with White House staff falling like so many ninepins, this was the gesture of somebody who has lost touch with reality and who is incapable of thinking of anybody but himself.

We all recognise that a mask is worn not just for self-defence, but to protect others; it is, literally, a material means of loving your neighbour. While the most powerful man in the western world claims that he may be immune and that ‘gets’ coronavirus, he just doesn’t seem to get the idea of kindliness and the process of transmission. 

In the meantime, here among mere mortals, Mrs Neeson and I have enjoyed leading Year 1 and Year 2 Bubble assemblies on being extra kind. We used a graphic story of Mahatma Gandhi – a great and humble man, to reinforce the importance of kindness and ‘loving that neighbour…….’

The story goes that the Indian lawyer and political activist stepped aboard a train, one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track. He was unable to retrieve it because the train was moving. To the amazement of his companions, Gandhi calmly reached down and took off his other shoe. As the train continued to move forwards, he threw the second shoe along the track, landing it close to the first. Asked by a fellow passenger why he had done so, Gandhi replied, “The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track will now have a pair he can use.”

This sort of selfless approach is surely one that we should all heed – especially in these difficult times. Blue Coat kindness is a value that is always abundant, and I am grateful to all the children for their generous gifts towards our Harvest celebrations The proceeds will go to St Luke’s Food Bank at Gas Street.

In this week’s hockey and rugby intra-sport matches between Storm, Hurricane, Thunder and Lightning, girls and boys showed great skill and dedication to their team. So too did Year 6 in their House matches. They may not be playing other schools at present but they are certainly honing their skills in some hotly-contested matches. Well done, one and all.

Moving on to academic matters, this week the spotlight falls on Years 2 and 6. During this half term, in their English lessons, the younger group has been studying the books of the author Emily Gravett.  In  ‘Meerkat Mail’, Sunny thought that the Kalahari Desert was too hot and went off to find somewhere cooler for a meerkat to live. However he realised that – however hot it was – being with his family is the most important place to be! The children began by predicting what they thought might happen in the story by looking at the front cover. They then wrote questions that they would like to ask Sunny to get to know him better. The children also learned how to use commas in a list to help him pack his suitcase and generate a shopping list for Sunny’s welcome home party. They finished by planning and writing a sequel to the story, sending Sunny off on a new adventure. The children then studied the book ‘Wolves’. This story followed the story of a rabbit so engrossed by a book about wolves that he didn’t realise that there was one following him, ready to pounce! The children enjoyed being hot-seated as characters from the story and  thoroughly enjoyed writing about the behaviour of the wolf; outlining what made him the naughtiest wolf ever. 

Year 6 children have been following on from reading of Bilbo’s frightful meeting with Smaug the Magnificent, getting creative and designing their own imaginary creature to appear in a narrative. Using figurative devices, the children described the features of the animal and then wrote the opening to a story which introduced their creature.

Maths this week has focused on ‘Percentages’. After revising percentage tricks using their knowledge of fractions, the children have been applying their learning to real-life problems such as percentage increase and decrease (something they would need to calculate when visiting the sales in the shops).

Humanities this week has focused on significant figures in history. The children have already learnt about the Suffragettes’ battle for Women’s Rights and the first black British Officer – Walter Tull.

As part of their final stage of learning, our senior children have chosen their own significant figure from the past who has made a positive impact on society: selections range widely, from Rosa Parks to Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Our eldest children certainly have their noses to the grindstone at present, achieving deservedly strong outcomes, and I must commend the boys and girls of Year 6 for their excellent attitude during this exam period. I am confident that their efforts will be awarded with a place at the school that best suits their needs.

Finally, I must formally congratulate the following children in Year 6, who have been chosen as Heads of School for the academic year 2020-21; Head Girl – Sarika Hulait, Head Boy – Seb Stendall, Deputy Head Girl – Lucie Evans, Deputy Head Boy – Sam Tan. Sharing the weekly meeting with them helps to shape our School. I have the feeling it is going to be another excellent year, with these children diligently representing their peers.

Well, have a lovely weekend. The Neeson household will be cheering on our beloved Exeter Chiefs in the semi-finals of the rugby Premiership. Whatever you are doing, enjoy. And please stay safe, following Government guidelines.

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster