Red boat climbing frame

Head Master's Blog

Autumn Term 2018

Week 3 is about to begin and the start of term now seems like a distant memory. I imagine that there were differing emotions in the days leading up to the first day back at school after the long summer break. I would guess that there were a few nerves and that is absolutely understandable. The children may be surprised to learn that teachers get a bit nervous at the start of the new year as well. A hint of anxiety at what is to come, coupled with the knowledge that it will soon be time for the grey matter to start working again! Perhaps that is just me? Outdoor LearningThe Summer break is a wonderful time but as August comes to an end, our thoughts turn to the new term, new friends, new teachers, new lessons and new stationary! Yes, the final two weeks of the summer break marks the start of the mad rush to buy those ‘essential’ items from WHSmith (other retailers are available). Suddenly the pencil case that your child simply had to have last year becomes “so uncool” and the colouring pens that just two months ago were thought to be in fine working order are discovered to have been left without their lids. You mortgage your house to buy another pack of Friction pens and pontificate about the need to purchase yet another smelly rubber. The ruler has vanished – supposedly lent to a friend, and the calculator that was not turned off in July now has a flat battery in September. Clearly, some of our girls in Year 6 had acquired new fountain pens and marked their first History lesson of the year by running out of ink and then changing the cartridges only to discover that there was in fact, quite a lot of ink left. The carpet in room 6 now bears testimony to this! Sadly, a recent article in the TES arrived just a little too late, as it suggests that much of this stationary is actually unnecessary. I’m not sure that I agree with all of the comments, although the one concerning glue sticks and missing lids is an all too familiar problem!

Swimming Swimming

Aside from this minor ink disaster, the start of term has been very positive indeed, and we welcomed nearly 40 new children across the Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School on the first day back. We also welcomed new staff with Mrs Clifford and Mrs Taylor joining us in the Pre-Prep and Mr Genders and Mrs Latus joining us in the Prep. As is ever the case at the start of term, the sun was shining, and day one saw our Pre-Prep children head to the pool for the first of their weekly lessons. They loved it and with 50 children from the Prep school also heading to the pool for their swimming lessons on Thursday mornings, it has been great to see this new provision already having such a positive impact. We have a great deal planned for the year ahead and I was delighted to have the opportunity to share these plans with parents at our Prep Welcome meetings last week. I also shared our vision for imbedding Growth Mindset principles in to every part of our daily lives and asked parents to look for opportunities to ask their children some key questions to help with this. I appreciate that children are not always receptive to answering parental questions after a long day at school but if you find the right moment why not ask them:

  • What was fun today? (Not necessarily Growth Mindset but it is always good to start with a positive!)
  • What did you try hard at today?
  • What made you keep going?
  • What mistakes did you make that you learned from?
  • What will you do to improve your schoolwork tomorrow?

Hockey

The key is to focus on the process rather than outcome, however hard that may be. I am sure that every parent has heard their child say “I can’t do that!” and we certainly know that this can be a very quick response when faced with a challenging task. We are aiming to add just one word to that phrase, and that word is “Yet!” If a child recognises that they can improve through hard work, consistent effort, purposeful practise, the willingness to seek and accept feedback, and the understanding that making mistakes is not only ok but a good thing, then they are well on the way to becoming better learners. We have already done a lot of work on this with children throughout the school but we intend to do more and in mid-October we will welcome internationally renowned speaker, Steve Ingle to BPS to help us further develop our plans. In the meantime, do let me know if you have any observations about how growth mindset has helped your child – I am always keen to hear success stories.

Group at Lynmouth MusicRefreshments at break Outdoor Learning

I have included some of the lovely photos taken since we returned to school, many of which have appeared on Facebook and Twitter. Do remember that there are daily updates to our social media feed and all photos can be found in the Image Gallery on our website.

My best wishes to one and all for the year ahead.

Mon 17th Sept 2018, 07:25