“A delight of quotations.”

“A delight of quotations.”

Beatrice Otto

Over the course of the last twelve months the School has, necessarily, become a community of smaller communities. In some respects this is positive; smaller communities of learners tend to move at a quicker pace than larger ones and teachers interacting with their pupils in small units develop a greater understanding of those they teach; so small is sometimes better. This is, of course true, but within this we need to be careful that we don’t forget to join together for larger events, celebrations and assemblies. Our assemblies this year in both Junior and Senior School have been virtual – they have been broadcast to tutor and classrooms and this is something that may well continue at times in the year when we normally cannot meet, it is one of the “gems” described last week. In the very near future our musicians will be sharing their talents with us through a virtual Spring Concert, and I’d encourage everyone to take a few minutes to join in, to be with the larger BSP community albeit virtual and above all to enjoy some excellent music making.

Another aspect of the current situation is that I have not been able to visit as many classes as I might have liked to. This week I was delighted to have had the opportunity to make a suitably socially distanced visit to Year 5. The topic of the lesson was suspense. We started with a passage from Michael Morpurgo and then the pupils had the opportunity to write their own suspense filled paragraphs. (see JS pages) These included tripping over stray racoons and an evil wizard, I hesitate to say that you couldn’t make it up because, patently, they did. The enthusiasm for both telling a good story and ensuring adverbs, adjectives and subordinate clauses were used correctly and when it is permissible to break grammar rules was palpable. All this enthusiasm for suspense is starkly contrasted with the wearisome “will they, won’t they” behaviour of national leaders who seem keen to move closer to more stringent confinement measures but stop short of school closure. This is suspense that we could probably do without!

As I left Year 5 and having had a lovely chat about liminality and boundaries in the Romano-Celtic world with Year 3 (they started it) I was left wondering about our little communities of learning once again. As an aficionado of collective nouns particularly those describing groups of birds, I did wonder what the relevant term for a group of enthusiastic Year 5 creative writers is – a scribble? A folio? What about our historically minded Year 3s – a dig? An archive? As we head towards the end of the term some of the older year groups may not show quite the same levels of zest as their younger counterparts – is a grump of Year 13s fair or should we be thinking more positively, a flight as they look to the end of their school career? At lunch I have certainly seen a gobble of Year 9s. For those who are interested I’m reliably informed that the collective noun for a group of politicians is an equivocation, strangely apt I’d say. As it is the weekend and it is good to think happy thoughts can I remind you that the collective noun for a group of guillemots is a bazaar?

Nicholas Hammond