Back in the day, any youngster seeking stardom needed to come armed with a sickly smile, two pigtails or a pair of very pushy parents. Preferably all three.

I am talking of a time when ‘Wayne’ was a surname prefaced by ‘John’, and not a given name followed by ‘Rooney’. Thankfully, the world has moved on from the sentimental era of Shirley Temple, into an age when youngsters make an impact on the international stage, not just via Hollywood hyperbole.

This very week, a 15-year-old girl from India who was a finalist in the Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot prize told world leaders at COP26: “We’ll build the future, even if you are stuck in the past”.

Apparently, after learning how the burning of charcoal damages the health of ironing vendors and affects air quality, Vinisha Umashankar has invented a solar-powered ironing cart . She stood next to Prince William as she called on the world to give up its “old ways and habits”. And she got a standing ovation.

During the past four years, Greta Thunberg has set a powerful example to all young people. And to think: she is still two months short of her 19th birthday.

It seems to me that schoolchildren now, more than ever, are more prepared than ever to take on responsibilities – not only for securing the future of the planet but for looking after their fellow human beings.

Significantly, as COP26 spread all over the news channels, our Eco committee, led by Mrs Barnes, was meeting to discuss how the School community can do our bit to help the environment. As a result of that meeting, BCS will be joining a nationwide “switch off” fortnight, and encouraging us all to do our bit to support the green agenda. This is clearly a hugely important topic and I encourage all of us to get behind it.

Not to be outdone by the ECO committee, our Science ambassadors and Digital leaders met with Mrs Simmons and Mr Hill to consider ways to support staff and children with these areas of learning.

Like Thunberg, our children are fine role models, and they really care about their responsibilities. Well done to them all for all the hard work and dedication.

Still on the subject of taking responsibility, when I had the pleasure of meeting the Heads of School this week, I set them their first task: to plan our whole school Children in Need assembly. This includes filming a documentary-style film which will outline what the charity event is all about. Predictably, the children were not in the slightest bit fazed. Their enthusiasm was tangible. I can’t wait to see the outcome of their hard work.

Year 3 to 6 took part in a wonderful assembly with actor Nick Bailey. Nick was interviewed on ‘Black History Month’ by myself and Mr Newman, as we celebrated all the work that our children took part in during the first half of term. Mr Bailey spoke with poignancy and with passion on this important subject. Thank you to all the children for their wonderful contribution.

Music was high on the list of celebrations this week with Year 2 and 3 taking part in wonderful recitals. For those of such a young age, the players showed great musicianship and composure. I was so impressed with their hard work and skill levels. May I recommend that you come along to our Music Scholars’ Concert on Tuesday 16th November at 6pm in the School Hall. This will showcase our most exceptional musicians and we would love to give them a packed house to perform to.

Finally, in a beautiful Blue Coat service, today saw our Probationary Choristers being robed – the first time this has occurred for two years. Well done to all the Chapel Choir. I look forward to seeing the choristers sing at the Old Church in Edgbaston for Remembrance Day next Thursday. Parents are cordially invited.

Finally, good luck to all the Year 6 children who are sitting the Solihull School 11+ entrance exam this Saturday.

Have a great weekend, one and all!

Noel Neeson

Prep-Eco Committee Prepare For Switch-Off Fortnight