Early in my career, I was lucky enough to work with a very experienced Headmaster who always gave excellent advice. One of the things he said that stuck with me was, ‘When you are a Head, go on the school gate as much as you can.’
I took his advice and I have to say that being ‘on the gate’ in the morning is one of the best parts of my day. The children all say good morning, I see friends meet up to play before another exciting day at school, and, of course, I have the opportunity to see many of you for a quick ‘Hello’ or ‘How was your weekend?’ Jackie is always there to help with enquiries about lost property, which she had a Jedi-like ability to locate. Children who arrive on the minibus file in with a happy ‘Thank you!’ to their driver. I watch as younger siblings, first in prams, then on scooters or balance bikes, accompany their older siblings to the gate, counting down the years and terms until they join us. I watch as mums’ small bumps grow into the next generation of St Christopher’s pupils. I feel privileged that over the past year I have also met grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends who have come along for the drop off ritual. I am glad to see many parents combining the walk to school with dog-walking, as I get to see Dave the poodle and Gary the boxer most days!
I share the gate duty with a rotating cast of staff, and I find it impressive how many of them can greet all 287 of our children by name. Starting the day with a positive interaction, and of course a smile, can only ever be a good thing, setting a pattern for the day. From the moment they enter the school gate each day, we make it clear to the pupils that they are the heart of our community, and that we are here to take an interest in their lives, helping them to become the very best version of themselves.
This week saw a wonderful Earth Day Assembly led by Mr Stead. We are very proud of our Eco Schools green flag, and continue to work with the children on ideas to make our school as sustainable an environment as possible. Monday saw the final performance of Model Behaviour by the Upper School children involved in the NT Connections festival, in a public performance at the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells. The Scholarship class made their final preparations for next week’s exams, including a visit from Miss Murray, Head of History at Brighton College, who explored the fascinating topic of women in Victorian society with them. Elsewhere, we have had an Assembly and workshops on how an orchestra works, a guided meditation session for Year 5, and two afternoons of matches in typically unpredictable Cricket season weather.
Looking ahead, we have two Bank Holidays in row, celebrating May Day and the Coronation of Charles III. Whilst shortened weeks are a novelty, we have much to prepare for with Year 3’s performance of Mary Poppins coming up in Week 4, and our Artists’ Open House event on May 13th. Enjoy the long weekend, and I hope to see many of you on the gate on Tuesday – do please stop and chat!
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head