How timely it was for us that only last week, the MP for South Staffordshire, Sir Gavin Williamson CBE, lost his Government job as Minister of State without Portfolio. And that this week, a cloud hung over deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who is the subject of allegations by former members of staff at the Foreign Office. Whatever Sir Gavin’s attributes as a politician, nothing could have been more inappropriate for a former Minister of Education, knight of the realm and father of two than to set such an ugly example in public life. His behaviour to fellow workers spawned several chat shows in which the public and various experts argued about what was and what was not acceptable in the workplace.

But on one thing all were clear and unanimous: there is no room in any workplace for those who seek to ‘harm, intimidate or coerce somebody who is perceived to be vulnerable’. Blue Coat School is a workplace. Bullying is unacceptable here. It is anathema, and it is anomalous with the modern age.

If the spirit of Harry Flashman in the 19th century novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays is surely dead and buried, we as educators still need to be aware of any resurrection. We need to keep our eyes peeled and our ears open. And that explains why our focus this week was anti-bullying. On Monday the community wore odd socks in recognition that as a school we stand together against the very idea of such intimidation. We want our children to be upstanders’ not ‘bystanders’.

I must thank Mr Hulbert for his inspired organisation of the Reach Out campaign for Anti-Bullying Week this week. Please enjoy the video which features pupils and staff from across the School community which emphasises not only who the pupils can reach out to, but also the importance of them doing so.

This strong message was reinforced by 5AG, who performed a mature and moving anti-bullying assembly. It was made clear, as doubtless it would have been by Sir Gavin himself, that bullying has no place in a school.

 At BCS we always strive to keep children safe. Through our BCS Values of patience, respect and kindness, we ensure that the anti-bullying message is cemented into daily life; not just highlighted one week a year.

Talking of highlights and keeping on our toes, this week featured workshops and a performance to launch our partnership with Elmhurst Ballet School. With all children taking part in a workshop this was a great opportunity for boys and girls to link up a renowned ballet group and learn amazing skills and disciplines. The children fed back very positively about this venture and I look forward to January when the programme starts in earnest.

It was an excellent way to round off the week when the school came together for Children in Need. The Heads of School led the assembly superbly well. Although this was a fun-filled event, the children heard about the important work that Children in Need supports. They raised money for the cause by wearing their home clothes and buying some exquisite Pudsey Bear Biscuits made by our catering team. A great way to end a busy week.

On Thursday evening, staff and parents got together to compete in a hotly contested mixed netball tournament. One of our many staff and parent events, it was well attended and it was great to have a social after the main event. Thank you to all for attending. And special thanks to Mrs Somerville for organising. 

I have been most impressed by the outstanding work of the Science Ambassadors who have been having weekly meetings in Lab 1. They have created information posters and videos, designed and run quizzes, contributed to science displays, researched and answered pupils’ burning questions, and kept us up-to-date about ‘Science in the News’. Last Friday, some even enjoyed a ‘community garden’ litter-picking and bulb-planting session! They have really embraced their roles. Well done to them all.

Not to be outdone, The Eco-Committee is currently taking part in ‘Switch off Fortnight’, which started on Monday 14 November. The School community will be working hard to make sure that lights and equipment around the school site are turned off when they are not in use. We are also sharing ways in which we can save energy at home. Come on, parents, let’s all do our bit!

Whatever…..cold or cocooned, have a great weekend, one and all.