Autumn half term

“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.

Nicholas Hammond


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