Another week passes: another Premier League football boss is sacked.  After Frank Lampard at Chelsea, my money is Newcastle’s Steve Bruce to join the managerial merry-go-round. The reason I bring up this apparently left-field topic is because of the bizarre influence that managers from abroad have had on our use of English – and certain phrases. How often have we heard the likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Sarri and Carlo Ancelotti confess that his team is not “in a good moment”? What they mean to say is that the team is suffering a poor run of form; it behoves them to suggest that this dip will be but a blip.

Perhaps it is a good time to examine the proper meaning of the word ‘moment’.  A moment is defined by Google as ‘a particular point in time, or a short, but unspecified, amount of time.’ Those specialists and experts who help us with our mental health continually stress the importance of ‘living in the moment’, or, to coin a popular phrase, ‘being mindful’. They suggest that we take a sultana in the mouth and concentrate on savouring the taste, while doing absolutely nothing else.

So many people that I have heard on news programmes recently have bemoaned the things that – due to COVID-19 – they cannot do. They are unable to book holidays with confidence; they are unable to see their friends or even their loved ones; they cannot go to the cinema or the theatre. Of course these are hardships. But they are hardships that affect all levels of society; and all ages of a community. And it strikes me that we have to be grateful for what we CAN do, rather than be glum about what we CAN’T.

At school this week, we have seen the children engaging in a multitude of activities, all of which will have helped them to set aside anxieties of the virus and the things that are currently unavailable to them. 

Take Year 1 for example. How apt, in this inclement weather, that they should have been busy designing raincoats for the School Bear, The Bear will be thankful! This group also focused, appropriately enough, on Florence Nightingale. A true hero! This work helped our children to realise the wonderful job that medics have done, and continue to do – in this harsh winter, during the global pandemic. The outcomes have been excellent – well done all.

On a continuing positive note, children in Pre-Prep and Prep sent me thank you letters in gratitude for their Distance learning work (Pre-Prep) and 25 merit points in Prep. I very much appreciate the letters and photographs.

Staff have been bowled over by comments sent to them. The comments have really buoyed the team: not only academic staff but all departments across the School. Thank you, one and all, and a special mention to our Heads of School for orchestrating this initiative.

I have been very impressed with the hard work of all year groups but this week I would like to highlight Years 5 and 6, who have been engrossed in studying the Holocaust. Wednesday being Holocaust Memorial Day, the children and staff were very absorbed. Again, the topic was extremely thought provoking. Well done to our senior children for the level of maturity shown.

Back to where I started… week we draw the attention of the School community to Mental Health. To this end, can I ask all parents to join the seminar with Dr Hazel Harrison, from BBC Bitesize.

Please join us for her lecture, entitled ‘The Five Pillars of Wellbeing’. Mindful though we may try to be, we can all do with support as we brace ourselves for another few weeks of lockdown. A letter detailing the Zoom meeting codes – with an outline of the talk – will be with you very soon.

On that note have a great weekend and please remember it is National Storytelling week starting this Saturday. So get reading everyone!

Oh, and by the way, last week, the winner was Mr Isherwood. Congratulations, your prize is on its way!

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster