“What I said to them at half time…”

“What I said to them at half time would be unprintable on the radio…”

Gerry Francis

And the shrill blast of the referee’s whistle goes for half time.

The teams leave the field of play and the frenetic minutes of the match pause. For a short period, there is a degree of calm. Down in the changing rooms there might be ranting, and harsh truths being spoken. There is a moment to discuss tactics and address injuries. More than anything the players have valuable space to catch their breath, to regroup and to be ready for the second half. Those in the stands dissect, analyse, question and celebrate. There is often hope of something better (unless you support Norwich City when the half time chat tends to be about how the Canaries will manage to squander a lead).

We have reached our half time in the term. Seven weeks of hard work, exciting activities, new friendships, and new experiences. Every pupil will have made progress and will have moments of triumph and probably a few frustrations along the way. That is the warp and weft of school life, it is how we grow. Looking at the pupils as they arrive in the morning, some look ready for a rest, our teenage pupils in particular look like they need a bit of a lie in and half term is a moment to regroup. In the coming days all pupils can take stock of their performance, consider what has gone well and identify the places where improvements can be made. A time for some fresh air, exercise, plenty of sleep and of course some reading. They probably won’t require a stern talking to from the coach.

In two weeks, they will start again with a little more energy (hopefully). There is much to anticipate in the second half of term, there will be plenty of exciting lessons, fixtures, some school trips, and a wide range of concerts. The second half of the Autumn Term is a special time, and it is important that all pupils have used the half term break to reflect, recover and reset.

As we break for half term, I believe that we are right to look to one of the world’s great philosophers, Eeyore for inspiration. At the end of a busy half term there can be a tendency to look at that which has not gone well. Eeyore, that famously miserable member of the Hundred Acre Wood community, perhaps surprisingly, reminds us that “It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.”

And therefore, build on the positive.

I’m sure that our pupils will return to school in November ready to accomplish new achievements and scale new heights. Until then I hope that everyone has a great holiday. I’m off for a slice of orange.

Nicholas Hammond