“We have normality…”

“We have normality. I repeat, we have normality.”

Douglas Adams

Regular, unremarkable, average… normal. Normal, not exactly a word to set the heart rate soaring. Not the state of things that is usually celebrated but, this week, here at the BSP I am delighted to report that everything has been, well, normal.

Let’s start with the Welcome Event. Strictly speaking this occurred last week but we can start there. It was a lovely event and so good to see families making all important connections and renewing friendships for the academic year. Then a week of school. As any Headteacher will tell you, there is no such thing as a normal week in a school, each one is unique, each one is different but as far as I can see this week has been normal. Rather like that quotation about a week in politics, a week is a long time in a school. We’ve had excellent stimulating lessons, homework tasks have been completed (with varying degrees of enthusiasm), we’ve had brilliant co-curricular activities, there was a cake sale in the Senior School for gene research, teams have departed for other European capitals to compete and we will have a national netball tournament here in school tomorrow. Normal, for us.

The Autumn term is a breathless one. It starts in bright sunshine and ends often with weather that is slightly less pleasant. We have long bright evenings after school that encourage dawdling and it ends with us hurrying home in the dying light by December. It is also our longest one. We are moving into the period of the term where some of the most significant academic development takes place. The foundations have been laid, previous ideas revisited and now we are moving on, moving forward, ensuring that progress is made. Before long initial impressions will be shared, targets revised and levels of ambition fixed. If a shaky start has been made this is as good a time as any to regather and relaunch. Ground can still be made up if it has been missed. And none of this all-important progress will be made if sleep is neglected or activities are out of balance. Now is a good time to review how the settling in period has gone. It is good to see how normal it has been. Progress should be normal for the BSP pupil.

I was fortunate to spend some time with Nursery and Reception this week and their enthusiasm is infectious, it is good to be reminded how exciting the “normality” of school can be. I’ve also spent time with Year 13s who are considering their next step, the one that takes them out of school, they too are aware that the normality of school, so often not praised, will soon come to an end for them.

Our normal is vibrant and exciting. It is a normal that rarely stands still and one in which we all strive to do our best in all endeavours. As our school values so clearly state, our normal is to strive for excellence, to act with integrity and to work for the benefit of many. That, I hope you will agree, is a normality that is worthy indeed. Perhaps normality should be rebranded as being something exciting?

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Nicholas Hammond