Whatever one’s views on his newly-released book ‘Spare’, Prince Harry’s position and plight helps us to understand – if nothing else – that being born into privilege does not entitle one to a blissfully happy existence.

Harry, strongly supported by Meghan, has talked freely and at length about mental health issues. And it is clear that, despite having the many advantages and trappings of a royal upbringing, happiness and fulfilment is proving elusive.

For everybody, to a greater or lesser degree, life is a mix of highs and lows. To keep our psychological equanimity, we might want to take on board the sentiments of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “IF” (notwithstanding its gender-specific ending!). 

This week in school has reminded us of this very delicate balancing act.  

Just before Christmas, all pupils in Prep took part in the UK Bebras Challenge, a series of challenges that tested computational thinking skills. We are delighted that 20 of our Year 6 pupils achieved marks in the top 10% nationally and were consequently invited by the organising body to take part in a follow-up event, The Oxford University Computing Challenge on Friday 20 January. This challenge further developed their skills to identify solutions to more complex computational thinking problems. 

While celebrating this sort of high achievement, we have to remember how much we ask of our children at such a young age. This is why Mr Hulbert (Head of Values) was asked to engage guest speakers regarding child wellbeing. BCS is committed to supporting all children with their mental health. In the first of three online lectures, Kelly Hannaghan looked at ‘Supporting My Child with Stress and Anxiety’, and I believe that all who tuned in found the talk valuable.

Also valuable was another excellent English workshop led by Mrs Ayub. The parents of Prep children were given excellent advice to support their children at this important stage of the curriculum – and they appreciated it greatly. 

In fact, it has been an exciting week all round. Monday evening saw Mrs Newman lead the introduction and information meeting for the top year’s  French trip. The children are most excited about the return of this ‘residential’, especially after a three year break due to COVID. They are more than ready for this wonderful opportunity to travel overseas. I must also commend Mrs Newman, for leading the School in gaining The International School Award for language teaching. We are blessed to have such a forward thinking Head of French here at BCS. Well done and thank you!

Year 5EW should be commended on an excellent assembly on ‘Changing Water into Wine’. The idea of putting our trust in God was clearly demonstrated but, more important was the message of supporting each other and trusting God in our daily lives. Miss Warmington and her class worked really hard on this theme.

Nursery have had a busy five days, with a highlight being their Experience Day about the moon and the stars. The children, on top form, were mesmerised, and told me lots of wonderful facts. It is hard to believe they are only three and four years old.

Music, as always here, is thriving. Year 2 and 3 enjoyed a wonderful percussion workshop called ‘The Beat Goes On!’. The children loved it and clearly enjoyed the experience. For children so young, the rhythm and general musicianship was remarkable. Not to be outdone, Year 4 staged an excellent recital on Thursday morning.  From singing to piano to violin, the music was sublime; clearly the hard work and practice is paying off. 

My busy but fulfilling week was further enhanced by a wonderful Golden Table. It was magical, catching up with the children from Year 3 to 6. Thank you for the great chat. You really made me smile.

Tomorrow we have our January Open Day. Thank you to the parents who support the School, it is always greatly appreciated. The number of families attending is our highest ever. As always, the children who came to the day were wonderful ambassadors. Thank you, one and all. Thank you to Mrs Kearney, Miss Firman and Mrs Franklin, for organising this important event in the School calendar.

Have a wonderful weekend – and Happy Chinese New Year to those celebrating this festival.

 

If – Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!