“A proverb is much matter…”

“A proverb is much matter distilled into a few words.”

R. Buckminster-Fuller

A truncated week. Whilst a bank holiday is always something of a treat, everyone endeavours to cram the normal five-day week into only four. Consequently, it is a week with a greater level of intensity. That combined with the appearance of the sun, (hiding all month) has led to this being a week to remember, it has been a week distilled.

Our Year 11 students had their last day in school before an extended half term break. They have worked hard all year. Their main task has been to build a portfolio of academic evidence and to complete this marathon task they have recently sat a series of mini- assessments. All this evidence will be used by teachers to devise the GCSE grades that will be passed on to the awarding bodies. In a normal year they would have had a month of longer exams. This year the exam season has been condensed. It remains to be seen if the experience of this year and the last will lead to the required changes to our public examination system. We have certainly learned a good deal about the value of assessment by other means and I hope that this will not be forgotten.

I recently spoke with one of the school’s alumni community. He told me something that I had heard before; that whilst he hadn’t spent long at the BSP the experience of studying in this international community had been both formative and life changing. Three years is not a great proportion of a life, it isn’t even that long in an education, but being part of this community is an experience that can have life changing consequences. For some in Year 11 the end of the exam period is a marker; it flags a coming change, perhaps of school, country or even continent. Their time here will soon come to an end before they move to the next chapter of their life. Time in the coming days will move at a different pace and experiences will be magnified. Over time the significance of this experience will come to be understood and appreciated.

A focused approach is sometimes necessary if success is to be achieved. A sense of purpose helps, and it is undoubtedly these traits that have propelled Year 12 Aden to success in the Junk Couture competition. Another group who deserves congratulations are Year 9 who have sat their school exams this week. They are looking forward to some days out of the classroom next half term. They will experience many of the activities that they would have enjoyed in a normal year but haven’t. Different educational experiences, more concentrated but no less valuable. Our Duke of Edinburgh Awards groups are also having the opportunity to enjoy something that looks like normality albeit in individual tents and socially distanced. This opportunity to spend a short time in the company of others facing challenge is again an example of how the time compressed activity can bear valuable fruit for personal development.

In keeping with the theme of concentrated experience, we break for a short half term today. As the sun has made an appearance it promises to be a time for batteries to be recharged ready to make the most of the remaining weeks of this most extraordinary of years.

Have a great break.

Nicholas Hammond