Five reasons to be cheerful

I recently had the great good fortune to hear Geoff Barton, the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders speak at a conference.  Geoff is a fount of good sense in a sometimes turbulent educational world and he has recently blogged about 5 reasons to be cheerful at the end of this half term.  In a spirit of healthy plagiarism (if there is such a thing) I am taking his excellent idea and adapting it to a BSP purpose.

So, 5 reasons for us at The British School of Paris to be cheerful at the end of this half term:

1)     Learning has happened in spades (massive amounts)!

ApplesI am fortunate to be able to tour the schools on a regular basis and I am constantly impressed with the knowledge and eloquence of our young people.  From Nursery’s incredible work with apples to A level students in Year 13 pushing the limits of their knowledge and understanding it has been a successful half term by any measure.  Everyone can do something that they couldn’t do before!  Thank you to teachers and very well done to our pupils.

2)    New pupils are now established pupils

At the start of term we had nearly two hundred new students.  Such is the welcoming nature of the BSP these “newbies” have become “old hands”.  Our pupils are settled and are able to develop friendships, build on the talents and enjoy coming to their school.  Over the course of the half term there has been only one Monday morning where we have not welcomed a new pupil.  Our warmth and openness as a community means that no-one feels new for long!  Next half term we will welcome still more pupils, we look forward to all that they will bring to our community.

3)    We have an ever developing sense of responsibility for wider communities

This term we have made massive steps forward towards reducing single use plastic and whilst there is still work to do we are well on the way to achieving our goals.  We enjoyed the first batch of honey from the beehive.  Our Sixth Formers are currently in Cambodia visiting the school that we have built with the support of the tireless BSPS. We’ve contributed to local sports events and are proud to be part of Croissy’s Remembrance activities next term.  Our volunteers have given many hours to charities such as the Red Cross, Genetic Disorders UK (Jeans for Genes), Arbre À Pain and Emmaüs – Bougival. We make a difference both locally and globally.

4)    We are about to open a new multi-purpose hall

Whilst education can (and often does) occur anywhere it is always an advantage if learning happens in an inspiring environment.  The newly refurbished Redgrave Hall will give us the opportunity to perform in a space that will match the talents of our pupils.  It will give us room to hold lectures, assemblies and it will make parents’ evenings much more effective!  Most importantly it is a shared space, Junior School pupils will use it and Senior School pupils will use it. Sport, music, drama, public speaking and many other activities will take place in it. One thing that we have learnt over the last eighteen months is that we are fortunate in having a variety of spaces shared on two campuses and it is easy enough to move from one campus to another.  We are one school.

5)    We get to do it all again after the holiday

There is an enormous amount to look forward to next term.  Trips will still go out despite the weather, fixtures will be played, lessons will take place; there will be challenges and discovery.  There will be opportunities for pupils to show determination and endeavour.  We will continue to play a leading role in our community and we will seek to serve others with integrity and we will strive for excellence.  We are fortunate to work in a school which offers us all, be we pupils, teachers, support staff, administrators, governors, alumni, parents or friends such opportunities to learn from each other.

Have a great holiday.

Nicholas Hammond

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