“A living art of teaching…”

“A living art of teaching… has a thread of strength running through it that stimulates individual students to participate.” – Rudolph Steiner

jumpersI never thought there would be a clear connection between Marxist intellectuals and novelty festive wear. Turns out there is. The link is the Christmas Jumper. The modern “tradition” of wearing hideous festive woollies seems to have emerged in the last decade and is now a regular fixture of the run up to Christmas. It has even been put to good use by the Save the Children Fund who sponsor a Christmas Jumper Day on the 14th of December. So far so itchy.

There have been plenty of festive pullovers in evidence at this term end but it is the people wearing the jumpers I would like to focus on today. Over the past few weeks we have been treated to wonderful concerts, there have been quizzes, Christmas lunch extravaganzas, parties and plays. Once you have the opportunity to learn about the personalities behind the knitwear it soon becomes clear that there is more to our pupils than just a silly sweater. Indeed, at the end of a very busy term it is good to reflect upon the many diverse achievements that have been won over the course of the term. Particular thanks are due to Year 8 Zara who designed our splendid polar bear Christmas e-card this year.

Last week I saw the Nursery Christmas show; how humbling to see the youngest members of our school community singing and dancing with such assuredness. In September they were having their first experience of the School and now they are quite at home! Key Stage 1 and 2 have had busy terms in which they have moved on in their learning and have enjoyed days out to farms and days in with Egyptians. They have impressed us all with their singing too in their Christmas Shows. The Seniors have not been left behind. Our girls’ football team had a magnificent season, we’ve seen excellent expeditions and trips. University offers are rolling in and our Christmas Show gave our musicians a chance to shine. It has been a wonderful term and there have been so many high points that it is impossible to list them within my newsletter word count. But if you want to see what has been achieved, then take a look at our social media feeds, enjoy the recordings of shows and glance back over the term’s newsletters. As well as having questionable taste in jumpers our pupils have given of themselves and their talents to assist others in the local community through a variety of service projects, collection campaigns and fundraisers. Be it sorting stuff at Emmaüs or playing a musical instrument for older people in their care home, our pupils do it. It is easy to be distracted by the miles of acrylic yarn but make no mistake, our young people are made of a far more powerful moral fibre. They understand that service and integrity are as important as excellence.
One and all they deserve every congratulation on all that they have achieved. I hope that you and they have a joyful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Nicholas Hammond

1. See The Invention of Tradition E. J. Hobsbawm and T. O. Ranger if you wish to find out more…

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