Tales of The Unexpected

It has been said before that every day at school is different. This week would certainly confirm this. We’ve had every type of weather as long as the range considered is damp, windy and miserable to a fairly sunny afternoon (thankfully no extremes). Christmas decorations are starting to spring up in unexpected places and my study was the subject of an unplanned feline invasion by a local neighbour.

There is a feeling that the COVID situation is getting better, indeed clinical trials suggest that the vaccine will be rolled out in many countries very soon. I had not expected that to happen until after Christmas. We are fortunate to have such low absence rates at present, they are far lower than this time last year – not what we might expect in this particular context.

A trip around the Junior School will bring treats at each turn and lots of Christmas music being made in preparation for the forthcoming online events. After all the gloom of this term, what an unexpected treat to hear these notes of joy. Some wonderful artworks too. There will be some marvellous Christmas cards arriving soon and did I mention the warm afterglow from last week’s maths week? – who knew it could be such fun! One parent wrote in to tell us that his daughter seemed to have passed a mini MBA. The Senior School is similarly musically rich with various classes, ensembles and choirs just tuning up in preparation for broadcasts and videos. A trip down the stairs from my office means a quick glimpse into a TV studio with poetry being read and assembly pieces filmed ready for Monday assembly or concerts later in the term. I even bumped into the Senior School talent show today, normally presented on the last day it will be shared in a socially distanced manner this year. Whilst I may not have expected to see the talent show, the level of performance skill was no surprise.

Not unexpected but certainly met with perhaps more energy than anticipated: it has been Assessment Week in the Senior School. Well done to all who have sat tests, timed essays, or had their grey matter challenged at a time when there is a significant temptation to wind down. Heartening also to see shoeboxes wrapped in shiny paper containing presents for other people not expecting a great deal this Christmas steadily growing in number, I think there were 150 in the Senior School library today. Thank you to all who have contributed to the Love in a Box appeal, donations can be made until Tuesday morning of next week.

I’m not sure what the Senior School bee colonies made of the hirsute and appropriately ventilated gathering to celebrate Movember at the start of the week… I do know that the delicious hot chocolate was an unexpected break time reward for those who grew, drew, or simply did that most important thing of all: contributed. A massive amount raised, so hats off to those who organized. We don’t normally anticipate being ranked up here with the corporate giants when it comes to matters financial but in our sponsorship of ‘taches it seems we have as much clout as Microsoft and Google.

There are eight school days left this term. As tiredness grows it is perhaps more important than ever that we make the most of treats and unexpected events that will be enjoyed. Whilst there is much in 2020 that we will choose to forget, this special time of the school year will be no less memorable albeit in a slightly different form.

Nicholas Hammond