“Time is a sort of river…”

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by, and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

Marcus Aurelius

Heraclitus of Ephesus is probably not in the front rank of the ancient philosophers, he’s more Championship than Premier League, the Norwich City of the Classical cogitators and that’s probably why I rather like him. Unlike his better-known followers such as Aristotle or Plato he’s more the sort of thinker who pops up in a quiz in answer to the question “Which ancient philosopher was know as the Weeping Philosopher?” He’s also known as the Obscure which is perhaps another clue as to why he’s not being remembered alongside those who followed him. No great body of writing by him survives, but we do have fragments of his thoughts recorded. He was interested in the essence of the universe and came up with phrases such as “the paths up and down are one and the same” and his most famous thought “no-one ever steps in the same river twice”. As we move through this final term, I can’t help but think about this idea of the ever-flowing river.

Now that we are approaching normal, we have a torrent of events and happenings. In the past seven days alone we’ve opened the school to refugees on the weekend, there have been clubs and activities at lunchtime and after school, a charity concert has been held and we’ve been running our lessons. Our oldest students departed this afternoon for their exam leave only to return for their A levels and for Prize Giving in a haze of signed shirts, cake and mocktails on the lawn. Our river is flowing at a fast pace.

Every school year is different and every year we have a different school population. In this school more than many, change is a constant. Heraclitus would have recognised this. Our Year 13 pupils take the next step on their journey today and whilst this isn’t quite the end it is certainly the beginning of the end for their school days. Other adventures await – some look to the US for university, others to the UK and some have opted for mainland Europe. Whilst the future is exciting, they will be looking at a different experience going forward. There will be no stepping back into this experience, but they will take with them memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. One great thing about the BSP is that no matter where you end up in the world, you are likely to find an alumnus of the school… they are, quite literally everywhere. The network is extensive and supportive.

Whilst I can’t promise a repeat of school days, I can offer a taste of school life for those whose last day at school is becoming something of a distant memory. Our Festival of Discovery gives parents from all elements of the school, Junior and Senior, the chance to spend a day in school and to rekindle some past enthusiasms or try something new. Alongside the chance to engage with a wide range of activities the BSPS will be delighted to see you at their front lawn pop up bar. I do hope you can make it.

Nicholas Hammond