“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” Guillaume Apollinaire
And so, we pause.
A hectic half term has been had. Much has been achieved from settling in to UCAS applications. Choirs have sung, teams have enjoyed competition, Booker Prize nominees’ works have been read and discussed, expedition groups have negotiated terrain, robots have been programmed and the nursery class has made the most fantastic set of wizards’ hats that I have ever seen. Lessons are in full flow, learning has been central and new friendships forged. Our service and charity programmes flourish. Challenges have been met and overcome, thoughts exam-ined and ideas have become embedded. As the leaves fall from the trees outside our school windows, we have the chance to slow down, consider and evaluate.
Schools are by their very nature busy places. Half term holi-days are therefore the ideal moment to slow down rather than stop. Such mid-term breaks give full minds the op-portunity to settle, to filter all that has been accumulated before knowledge and skills are both consolidated and honed. It is a time to look back and a time to look forward. It isn’t an end of term so we will need to pick up where we left off upon our return; perhaps total relaxation can’t hap-pen. We have no time to ease back in to the second half of term.
Over the holiday I hope that our young people have some space to relax and recover after this exciting half term. I also hope that they are ready to enjoy a range of activi-ties and not just on screen. Half term is the ideal time to engage in some deep or sustained concentration, the ideal time for example to read a novel (or in the case of one individual to write one). We live in an age where we are bombarded with information in bite sized chunks and some educationalists feel that this is affecting our ability to concentrate for sustained periods of time. I hope that all students here find an activity in which they can lose themselves for hours at a time, an activity that they may engage with for life. If they do that then a bit of screen time might be no bad thing.
Next half term promises to be as busy as the one just passed. There will be new initiatives, established events and the excitement of the end of term’s approach. Expe-rience suggests that before we know it we will be con-sidering the end of the year and all the enjoyment that it brings. Whilst it is good to look ahead we have all earned the opportunity to just pause to reflect on what has been achieved because much has been achieved. On this I think that Apollinaire might just be right.
I hope that you all have a restful half term holiday and look forward to seeing everyone in November.
On Wednesday the school launched an am-bitious charity fund-raising project to “teach the unreached”. Working in conjunction with the charity United World Schools it is our aim to work as a community to build a school in an area which has no school provision, equip it and train its teachers by Christmas 2017.
The project will require the school to raise 24,000 Euros. Once we have started to raise the required capital we will have the opportunity to select the area in which the new school will be built. At present there is an urgent need for schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal. One of the criteria for building a school is that a village does not have access to another school within 4 hours walk. This fact alone clearly indicates the need to provide an education to some of the most vulnerable groups in the world. There are still 27 million children in the world who do not receive formal schooling. United World Schools have built 63 schools in conjunction with partner schools from around the world. These schools educate 10,000 children who in turn are able to break out of the cycle of poverty they face and enhance their own communities. A child who benefits from a basic education will live longer, is less likely to be trafficked and has a greater range of life chances than one who does not. The Charity has a tried and tested method of supporting schools long term and they take a wholly responsible approach to the mission that they have undertaken. All the facts and figures are on their website as well as clear evidence of the good that they are doing.
Our school community is built on concepts of service, integrity and endeavour. In a world which sometime seems to focus on the self rather than others we have the opportunity to do something radical and transforming. We can, if we work together, assist in the development of another group of people and their future. Whilst education is at the heart of this project there are numerous other important benefits that our fund-raising will support. The project includes bringing drinking water and sanitation to the wider village populace. Fresh clean water, together with hygiene education cuts infant mortality by 50%. If we are able to take a One School approach to this challenging project we too will reap the benefits of working
with common purpose towards a worthwhile goal. It is hugely encouraging that the British School of Paris Society has agreed to put its fund-raising expertise behind this project. The School is creating a committee of students, staff, alumni and parents to support this project. If you are interested in being part of this then please contact the Headmaster at:
When communities work together they have the ability to do remarkable things. We are most definitely capable of achieving the remarkable.