The Head, Nicola Huggett

A few thoughts on Courtesy

I wanted to end today by drawing your attention to something that ought to be, and for many of you already is, a completely natural extension of who you are. Being polite and having good manners is an indication of the respect in which you hold other people and very much at the heart of what it means to be a Blundellian must be showing a sincere and meaningful respect for each other and for all members of our wider community – and beyond. To that end we have what we call the ‘Basic Courtesies’. This is a summary of the key aspects of good manners that we expect to see in you on a day to day basis. You can find it in your planners if you ever need to be reminded but I would like to bring them to your attention now as we endeavour to develop positive habits at the start of a new academic year.

  1. Greet people: all members of staff and all visitors to the School.
  2. If you notice visitors to the school looking lost, offer to help them. ‘Can I help you’ is often adequate.
  3. If visitors come into your study or a room where you are sitting down, or come up to you when you are sitting on a bench outside, you should stand up.
  4. If you approach a doorway at the same time as adults or visitors, you should allow them through the doorway before you go through.
  5. Open doors for adults and let them go through first.
  6. It is courteous to allow women to precede men through doors.
  7. Take your hands out of your pockets when talking to members of staff, other adults or School Monitors. When singing hymns or the National Anthem; when walking in and out of Chapel; when prayers are said and on similar formal occasions it is inappropriate to have your hands in your pockets.
  8. Listen attentively to people when they are speaking to you; look interested; do not interrupt until it is your turn to speak. Speak up clearly, and look up, when you are talking. It is considered courteous to look people in the eye when you are talking to them.
  9. If you are going to miss an engagement, whether it be a meeting, a lesson or a games session or anything else where your attendance is expected, it is appropriate that you should excuse yourself in advance, either in person or in writing. A polite e-mail would usually suffice.
  10. Respond promptly, in writing, whenever you receive a written invitation for a school or private function. A written note of thanks to your host or hostess is always appropriate when you have been entertained for a meal or a party. A written note or e-mail to a member of staff who has organised a trip or an expedition is also an appropriate way to express your appreciation.
  11. The greatest courtesy of all is merely to add ‘please’ to all requests and ‘thank you’ for all services rendered. ‘I am sorry’, said sincerely, helps when things have gone wrong.