It is a source of mystery to me that as more TV cooking programmes proliferate, statistics tell us that fewer people actually cook.

Maybe a mystique has grown up about the art of creating and presenting beautiful food. Perhaps people like yours truly (for whom scrambling eggs is a major challenge) feel inhibited – that we will be unable to reproduce the glorious stuff we see on TV.

Whatever the reason,  it is so important that today’s youngsters feel it is part of their education to learn the art of creating something tasty, tantalising and inexpensive for the table.

And when it comes to communicating the art of the classy cuisine, there can be few better than David Atherton, who visited the School this week.

A class act, he is to cooking what namesake Michael was to England’s cricket team as captain and opening batsman.

David certainly made a huge impression on the boys and girls, signing books and meeting the children in each year group. Not only was he humorous; he was very personal. He engaged the children on a subject which is, of course, very close to all their hearts.

Food writer, presenter, and podcaster, in 2019, David won Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off. Since then, he has released three cookbooks for youngsters, and launched a very popular podcast, Sticky Bun Boys, which I understand gets an audience of about 8,000 listeners per episode.

Reading loomed large on the radar on Thursday evening, when Year 6 enjoyed a Harry Potter Book Evening with Librarian, Ms Stacey.

The children donned Potter regalia and joined in a host of fun activities as well as enjoying some magical treats. This experience was very well received by staff and children alike, with the dining room more resembling Hogwarts than BCS. A terrific, imaginative evening, this will, in no short measure, enhance the excitement of books for our children.

David Atherton, winner of the Great British Bake Off, shares his new book with pupils.
Slytherin House after winning the House Cup during Harry Potter Night.

Year 3 is currently focusing on the Stone Age era in Humanities. Their learning is coming alive, their thirst for knowledge is being slaked, and this, in turn, will develop an even greater love for the subject. As part of her GCSE English course, aged 15, my daughter was taken to Stratford to see Macbeth at the RSC. This trip reinforced and further engaged her learning. We should never underestimate the power of these experiences.

A big well done to Year 4 and to Mr Martin for a thought-provoking class assembly on castles, knights and the Battle of Hastings. As we have come to expect, the children delivered with great maturity and got a strong message across to all.

This week, I must tip my hat to the outstanding musicians of Pre-Prep. I was blown away by their talents on piano, cello and violin to name a few. Every child performed with grace and humility. They were a credit to themselves. The future of music is very exciting here at BCS. Watch this space!

Following last Friday’s final for Years 3 and 4, today, Year 5 and 6 took part in the final of the House Art Competition, which has been very popular amongst all year groups. It was tough deciding who would get a place in the finals as the entries were so creative and diverse in their ideas and the materials they chose to work with.

We received 129 entries for the House Art Competition across all of Prep. Ten pupils who submitted outstanding and unique artworks were chosen from each year and they subsequently took part in a timed finals to create a new artwork in School. By the end of this week over 200 new artworks have been created and are set to decorate Year Group Hubs, showcasing the incredible talent of BCS pupils.

Next week, our special guest judge, Mr Matthew Hegenbarth, will select the top three finalists judged on both the pupils’ homemade entry and their timed piece created in School. He will award prizes for first, second and third place. Huge congratulations to everyone who took part and supported the competition. It has been wonderful to see such creative drive and excitement around the arts in school, and it inspires us to run more projects like this in future.

Finally, I do hope that many of you will join the Senior Choir and Chapel Choir for Evensong this Sunday at 4pm in the Chapel followed by tea in the dining room. It promises to be a typically beautiful BCS occasion.

Happy weekend to all.

Year 3 during Stone Age enrichment day, all dressed in their very best cavemen outfits.
Form 4SM, led by Mr Stephen Martin, pose following their assembly.