As we end this four day week, and reflect on the excellent efforts of our School community as a whole, we re-enter a world where choice is again available to us. We can choose to go out for a meal, even if we have to sit in the cold, outside; we can choose the venue for our summer holiday; we can choose to go to the theatre (soon), or to a concert. All very ‘novel’.

Choices like this makes some of us tentative, even anxious. In lockdown, things were more straightforward. We had no choice but to let our hair grow and to dream of foreign beaches.

Except that we did have a choice; the choice given to us in books, by writers whose imaginations have created and shared with us worlds of their own : desert islands, subterranean adventure, space odysseys, Hogwarts School, and the like.

I dare venture the thought that Blue Coat children have been reading more than ever during the past year or so, and, from now on, we are giving the boys and girls a chance to widen their choice of reading even further, and thus to enhance their lives in the ‘new-normal’.

Yes, the highlight of this shortened week was not, of course, having Monday at home (why does it always rain on a May Bank Holiday?), but the sheer joy of being able to scan the shelves here, to choose a work of fiction or non-fiction.

The opening of the library on set lunch times and breaks is something that was certainly due: Year group bubbles clearly relished it, and I would like to thank all those members of staff who have been responsible for the innovation.

With further developments due to the Pre-Prep library this summer and an extension to the outside reading area on Library lane, this really is a gift of opportunity for our children.

Following an internal reading quiz delivered to all Year 6 pupils in March, two teams of four pupils were formed, and on Tuesday our selected pupils participated in the virtual competition.

Says Mrs Ayub:

“Questions were read aloud on screen and a strict time limit was permitted per question. Our Year 6 pupils kept their spirits high through ten gruelling rounds of  ten questions each, all about well-known books, characters, authors, and a few word-play teasers as well.

“An off‑screen marking system was in place to ensure regular leaderboard updates, and after three hours, the winners were announced:

Blue Coat Team 1: Connie, Anuva, Sam H and Ollie S ranked 8th place out of 33 teams.

Blue Coat Team 2: Zuva, Keya, Joel and Charlie S ranked 13th place out of 33 teams.”

Well done to all our pupils and the winners from Discovery Academy. This was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to enjoy an online quiz with their peers and compete with other schools in their region.

The Year 6 pupils in both teams demonstrated perfect BCS Values, it was an honour to be in their presence and I could not have been more proud of their efforts.”

Exposure to these high level events – where they see how older children perform and conduct themselves –  can only enhance the reading skills of our children. Overall, it was a significant event which it will have served to inspire our children’s love of literature. Well done, both teams!

In the Prep School, it was the turn of Year 5 and 6 this week to perform at Chapel in their long anticipated music recitals. I must say it was worth the wait. Watching Years 3 and 4 last week was special but the Senior pupils raised the bar still further. They showed control and excellent attitudes throughout the performances and must be highly commended.

Today provided some poignant moments as the children finally posed in front of the camera, smiling with happiness after what has been a tough 14 months.

Equally ebullient were the Pre-Prep, whom I visited on Friday. Like inveterate storytellers themselves, they loved sharing their news. One little girl showed me the wonderful safari animals that she and her friends are creating at present. Just wonderful! They were all so enthusiastic. 

I enjoyed the pleasure of Year 5 on the Golden Table this week. it was wonderful to chat to the children about school life and what makes them happy. The food, it almost goes without saying, was well received.

May I take this opportunity to thank all parents for adhering to the COVID rules.  Together we are slowly moving in the right direction. 

Finally, just to inform you that the School managed to come in the top three at the Times Educational awards. The bronze medal  represents a great team effort. We will definitely go back in search of gold or silver in our 300th year.

Meanwhile have a wonderful weekend.

Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster