With the restrictions imposed upon us by the Government in the fight against COVID, it is surely more important than ever that we respect and enjoy the traditions of the 2020 festive season. Because of the tier system, we may not, this Christmas, be able to see all of the family and what the media like to call “our loved ones”, at least in the normal manner. It’s a shame. But we will all be determined to find some form of compensation. So, in the Neeson home, and I dare say in households throughout the nation, there will be just that one little sprig more of holly; just those two or three more strands of ivy. I think the indoor tree might be a foot taller than usual, and that – hang the expense – the outdoor lights will be programmed to twinkle for a couple more hours from dusk each day.

People in general, and the British in particular, are wonderfully stoical and resilient, not to say indomitable. They find a way through a crisis: whether by discovering a vaccine that does not have to be kept at extraordinarily low temperatures, or by simply bonding together and rediscovering the Dunkirk Spirit. Now that we have reached what Winston Churchill might have called ‘The End of the Beginning,’ and with the vaccine on its way, initially from Belgium (good to know that we still have this warm connection with Europe), we can begin to celebrate – if not to lower our guard.

We British really are the most extraordinary, creative nation. And a microcosm of that creativity – linked to advent –  has been seen within the portals of The Blue Coat School this very week.

As the children and I came into school on Monday, what should we find but a giant gingerbread house in the shape and vision of the Viney building here. (pictures below and on twitter!) This is an absolutely brilliant piece of craftsmanship by Catering Manager, Luke and Bakery Chef, Nisha. Thank you both on behalf of the whole school community for this amazing artistry. Yes, Christmas is coming, with a dash of novelty, to BCS.

It has been a treat watching the Pre-Prep nativity plays this week. Of course, we were saddened that we couldn’t have parents and grandparents in situ, but the children performed with great energy in each year group bubble. I want to say a hearty ‘Thank you’ to all the Pre-Prep staff for their hard work on these performances, which were a triumph. There are a heavenly host of pictures in this Update and the recording will be sent to all families at the end of term. Please enjoy yours as a family!

Science has been grabbing the headlines of late, and here we have had our share of satisfaction. I must congratulate Mrs Simmons, Head of Science and Mr Foggarty, Science Pre-Prep Coordinator, for leading the School in gaining the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM). This achievement  reinforces the excellent standards achieved in a subject which might be worthy of the epithet ‘vital’. Across the whole school, children revel in their practical lessons, particularly. I am very proud of all involved.

Science links with Technology, Engineering and Maths to form a subject that is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the children’s learning. In Prep this week, as  the children enjoyed STEM enrichment activities, I was struck by the curiosity and problem solving skills of your children. Well done again, one and all.

Finally can I remind all parents to check the calendar for the busy last week. There are lots of things going on across the School from Father Christmas visiting to Christmas parties.

I am now off to put up the Neeson Christmas tree.  I hope that you have a lovely weekend, that you will stay safe, and that you will continue to support the School by following Government tier guidelines. If you are participating in The Friends’ Christmas Quiz on Sunday night, please do enjoy this time to come together and get in the festive spirit! 

Thank you!

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster