On a visit to Conkers Activity Centre this week, Year 1 enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities as part of their Science topic on Trees. They took part in a host of activities that you can read about on the school websiteFrom what they have told me, the little ones enjoyed not only gaining some tactile experience of trees in general but also an understanding of their role in the ecosystem. You never know: this may spark something in the children and they may one day become leaders in this important field.

Speaking of being involved in important fields, how many of my loyal readers wile away a few minutes of their day and compete with friends and family trying to work out Wordle on the internet? This five-letter word game has certainly caught on big style, and it gave me the idea for a little quiz that is open to Mums and Dads right across the school. It works like this. Take a look at the end of this Update. In italics, you will find the names of 16 common trees. All of them have their names jumbled up. Why not get together as a family and see if you can work out the names. The first correct entry emailed to me wins a special prize.

On a more serious note, Year 5 have had their summer assessments in the school hall. They were fiercely focused and remarkably resilient. To all the children who had assessments I am pleased to have received reports that you conducted yourselves maturely. Please remember: assessment feedback is so important; it helps us to improve our understanding and shapes future policy.

As they become ‘senior school ready’, Year 6 had their French oral assessments. Mrs Newman and Miss Patel were full of praise for the children and their commitment. It certainly gives our pupils a head start at the next stage.

Last week we completed the ESB – English Speaking Board assessments in Years 2, 3 and 4. Happily, because these ‘soft skills’ play their part in building confidence and poise, I am delighted to report that feedback from assessors was first rate.

It was great to see the girls and boys donning their whites as the cricket season got well and truly underway. As you can see from the reports during the course of the week, there were many outstanding and promising performances from budding Ben Stokeses. Most importantly, I witnessed powers of concentration and excellent sportsmanship. Well done, everybody.

Sitting at the Golden Table this week was at times hilarious and generally very informative. The children genuinely love BCS. They suggested ways of improving it further and were excited to hear of all the upcoming developments such as the Science Centre.

Incidentally, characteristic diffidence prevented me from leading off with the news that for the third year in a row BCS has been nominated for Prep School of the Year. In itself, this is a significant achievement and reinforces the hard work and dedication of our school community. This year, for the first time, the TES Schools Awards has brought together the best teachers and schools from all UK state and independent early years settings, including both primary schools and secondary schools. The panel of expert judges includes school leaders, inspectors, and education researchers, whose objectivity, professionalism and high standards make it a well-respected achievement for any school chosen as a finalist or winner.

As you are well aware, Blue Coat’s traditions for excellence go back 300 years. Which reminds me to urge you: please do book up for the ‘300 Year’ events and make our tricentenary a truly memorable occasion.

Oh, just before you do that, here are the 16 tree anagrams: charl, chebe, crade, paple, hoyll, chirb, deral, dreel, calli, wonar, rosie, pleam, zaleh, borom, spean, nepal. 

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Mr Neeson