Some of you Netflix watchers might have been lucky enough to see David Attenborough’s recent masterpiece, A Life On Our Planet. This was a very moving exposition of, amongst other things, how we as individuals can do our bit to preserve wildlife and pass on the glory of the natural world to future generations. This year has made us all stop and think. In the face of extreme weather, forest fires and the global pandemic, what is it that we can all do to help our planet? Happily, it is the young who seem to be particularly engaged with these questions, and, with half term here, we have an opportunity to concentrate on the world around us.

So, I have a little House competition for all our pupils. All you need is to borrow your mum or dad’s  mobile phone or camera. In two age groups from 4 to 7, and from 8 to 11, let’s have a wildlife photography competition. Over the next fortnight, just email in photos that show you helping the environment to: hmpa@thebluecoatschool.com. Let’s call it ‘Standing Up For Nature’. Do lend a hand, Mum and Dad! Perhaps you would like to create a little house for bugs. Maybe you are keen to encourage more birds to your back garden. You might even be lucky enough to protect and nurture a hedgehog, who has selected your border for its autumn/winter home. I’m sure you will have your own ideas. There will of course be House points on offer for all entries and an exciting prize for the winners of each category. The senior leadership team will then discuss the entries after Monday, 2 November, and I will then award a prize for the most appealing entry.

Talking of Wild Things, we always get some eccentric outfits on Dress Down Day, and this Friday I noticed was no exception.Thank you to everyone who supported this great cause. Your support for Birmingham Children’s Hospital is greatly appreciated! I even spotted an Exeter Chiefs replica jersey, it made my day! 

‘Fancy’ dress was in evidence 48 hours earlier, as the Prep School enjoyed a “Wow” Wednesday. Each year group cemented their learning by focusing on a single topic from the Humanities curriculum. Year 3 enjoyed developing their understanding of The Stone Age; Year 4 concentrated on The Tudors; Year 5 on The Vikings. And thanks to the culinary talents of our catering team, they even enjoyed theme day lunches.

You will observe from the commentary and photographs from the lead staff, that everybody embraced the day wholeheartedly. Well done one and all – the costumes really added to the vibrancy of the day and enhanced learning further as it activated great conversation.

Like so many artistic institutions, the BBC Symphony Orchestra has been severely affected by COVID. Year 6 was so lucky to have a workshop with the orchestra this week. It was an uplifting experience that not only motivated and inspired, but reinforced the point that practice makes perfect.

Prep House matches were the order of the week and I must say that the standard of hockey and rugby on display were just first rate but more importantly the children loved representing their house and had lots of fun. The sporting behaviour of all the children should be mentioned. It is always pleasing to see sporting etiquette on display at such a young age.

The Final Headmaster’s assembly of this half term saw St Margaret’s crowned champions for this half term. There are lots of points still ‘up for grabs’ on our return. Who, I wonder, will lift the Headmaster’s Cup at the end of term?

The feedback from our Pupil Voice interviews across the School – as well as during my Friday Golden Table slots – has highlighted many positive outcomes from the children’s love of their new Bubbles in Prep. It also became clear how safe they felt here, and this is gratifying for my hard-working staff.

 I thank the staff for their endeavour over this half term. I am thankful to be surrounded by such a strong team across all areas of school life.

Finally, congratulations to Mrs Ayub who will be sworn in as a Magistrate in November. I am sure she will do a sterling job.  Please be aware this will NOT impinge on Year 6 teaching and learning.

 Enjoy the half term break. Do please adhere to Government guidelines and, most important, stay safe!

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster