I would like to start by celebrating some great success in Sport and the Arts. Last Friday, just too late to make the Newsletter, the 1st XI played Hove Park in the 2nd round of the Sussex Schools’ U13 Cup and are through to the 3rd round. The U11 girls also did well in their first ever football tournament involving Brighton and Hove Schools.
On Monday night, I was in the audience at The Old Market Theatre in Hove for the annual Schools’ Shakespeare Festival. Performing as part of a bill with two other schools with much older children, Year 5 did a fantastic job bringing Romeo and Juliet to life before a very appreciative audience. They also performed to Years 3, 4, and 6 in the Hall on Tuesday. My thanks as ever to Mrs J Griffiths and the team of staff backstage who make events like this possible.
Older children in Middle School have been introduced to two new words this week, looking at the concept of subjective and objective statements. The idea that not everyone agrees on everything, and that disagreement can sometimes be fierce, was handled by the metaphors of Marmite or pineapple on pizza. Although this is a topic normally explored in Upper School RS lessons, current events informed our decision to introduce these ideas a bit earlier.
The children explored and discussed how we have the right to believe that the opinions of others are wrong, and find their reasoning flawed. We have the right to voice our opinion, to be heard, and indeed protest lawfully should we wish to influence others’ opinions. However, we should never discriminate against those who hold ideas different to our own, never incite others to do so, never use Fake News to discredit them, and certainly never think of harming them. These actions would go against our values as a school, against British Values and indeed the respect for the rule of law that is a central part of this core of beliefs. We should always evaluate our sources of information and rely on trusted sources for our facts.
Voltaire’s famous words on freedom of speech are perhaps more important than ever, although the power of social media to do more harm than good is something he could never have imagined. The ethos of debate at St Christopher’s, regardless of topic, is that everyone has the right to speak and be listened to, but that we should be able to challenge and question within a culture of respect for those speaking, and those around the world who hold different viewpoints to our own.
To return to British Values, the core message of these is Respect, and this was at the heart of our Remembrance Services this week. The politics behind war and conflict are often highly subjective, but respect for those who have fallen in service of their country is something that unites us all. I am proud that our community marked this event in such a respectful and dignified manner.
Finally, a very happy New Year to all those in our community who will be celebrating Diwali this weekend. A festival of light and colour is very welcome in these times of grey skies.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head