“You had better live your best…”

“You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.”

Harriet Martineau

The start of the new school year comes with a heady mix of nerves and excitement. There are new forms, new subjects and new friends. For some it is an experience that has elements of familiarity and for others it is all entirely new. This term we welcome 177 new pupils to our community. Knowing that this is a welcoming community I’m sure that friendships will be forged and all traces of the first week nerves will disappear. Well done to all who have completed their first week and thank you to all pupils who extended a hand of friendship.

Alongside new uniform, nicely sharpened pencils and a colourful set of pristine exercise books, the new school year is a good time to consider what will be different. A time to decide what we will do differently. In short it is a good time to create a resolution (or two). On Monday morning I had the privilege of addressing the Senior School in assembly. I told them the story of Calum’s road . A tale about a man who built a road with nothing more than a pick, shovel and his own determination to help his community. My point was a fairly obvious one, in that we should be a little more like Calum MacLeod. At the start of the school year, we all have the chance to build our own pathway. We have a choice as to the direction in which we will go, and we know we will have obstacles to overcome. We can be confident that if we are steadfast in our endeavour we will negotiate the cliffs and marshes that stand in our way. Unlike Calum we have plentiful support in our task.

I mentioned the school’s character compass and suggested that this compass provides a guide for all of us in this community. When help with direction is needed by ensuring that no one point is out of balance, we can feel sure that we will succeed in our purpose. Similarly, it is important that our pupils move from the areas they feel comfortable and challenge themselves to develop into rounded and useful citizens of the twenty first century by experiencing new and different activities.

On Tuesday we were inspired by ultra runner Jake Barraclough who paid a brief visit to the school. His extraordinary 10 marathons in ten days were in celebration of William Webb Ellis’ “Audacious Run” when by deciding to take a new pathway he inadvertently invented the game of rugby.

I hope that our young people will take inspiration from these two examples of individuals who chose their own path, who decided to discover something about themselves and in doing so brought communities together.

Bonne rentrée. We are right to have high hopes for all that will be learned this year.

Nicholas Hammond