News

News

Yesterday, I taught a lesson on Henry VIII’s Break from Rome; not quite as well as I would have liked to, because I discovered last night that my resources had been thrown away by my wife. Nonetheless, it was a welcome change, and I was hugely impressed by the knowledge and the very pertinent questions asked by pupils who are only just thirteen. Our Year 8 pupils have been incredibly impressive in their management of disappointments resulting from events wehave had to cancel, just as their approach to work in which they show real engagement and interest gives me great pleasure.

I cannot write with conviction that this has been the happiest of weeks for teachers, pupils, or you as parents, but as I look out of my window the enthusiastic play of children does help keep things in perspective; as did the enthusiasm of Year 5 and 6 pupils this morning as their achievements were celebrated in a small Celebration Assembly for just thoseyears. Amongst the announcements made were Internal Scholarships for Year 7. Next week I will be able to announce further External Scholarships, other than Academic ones. I am confident that we will be celebrating a very impressive number for a relatively small Prep School whose pupils go on to the very best and therefore most competitive Public Schools in and beyond Sussex. However, all should remember that the child who gives of their very best is always the real winner, Scholarship or not.

It was good to see many Year 4 parents at last night’s performance of The Peach Adventure ; drama is such an important outlet for your children, and I am glad that this was an event that we were able to present under the currentcircumstances. My thanks to all who made it possible, bringing a little much needed cheer to the week.

As I write, the playground basks in sunshine, a welcome relief after the rain we have had and which I thought would never stop. It is entertaining to see the children, attired in their colourful World Book Day costumes playing basketball – a judge has just managed what I believe is called a slam dunk and James Bond is controlling mid court. The Upper School children are thoroughly enjoying the work they are doing with Nicky Singer, and their Pre-Prep counterparts are having a lot of fun with their own visiting author, Sophy Henn.

It saddens me enormously that so many events and activities our pupils were looking forward to have been cancelled owing to the rapid spread of coronavirus in Europe and in this country; a situation which is developing and changing by the day. However, I have found it uplifting that the children have been so understanding. We have made the decisions we have in the belief that this is the right thing to do for our pupils. I hope that we are steering the right course, but I would like to apologise for the inevitable frustrations and disappointment that our decisions may cause to you, your children and families.

You will see from this Newsletter how much we are still doing, while the adjustments to our end of term programme have drawn very firmly to my attention what a rich schedule of events and activities the teachers at St Christopher’s organise for our pupils. I do hope that the sunshine we are enjoying today lasts through the weekend and that you are able to enjoy it with your families.

 

A healthy body is important, a healthy mind possibly more so, and this week we have been focusing your children’s thoughts on this. Good sleep, a good diet, and a positive outlook have all been features of discussions. A big thank you to Mrs Newby for sharing her expertise on diet and nutrition and to Miss Lowe for organising presentations and seminars which encouraged thought.

Miss Lowe’s Assembly on Thursday morning focused on the theme of courage, using the phrase, ‘Find my brave’, the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week. Though the phrase is grammatically clumsy and, of course, not of Miss Lowe’s choosing, the theme is a very good one and well worth following up with your children. I believe, for example, that a fear of getting things wrong provides a real barrier to success and that children need to remember that mistakes should be seen as a vehicle for learning – we all make them.

Half term comes at the right time – the children are tired and ready for a break. This has been a half term crammed full of Drama and Music and Sport and work and play, and it is no wonder they are tired. Our Year 8 pupils will want to do some revision as recommended by their teachers but they too should have a really good break from study so that they return to school fully rested in both body and mind.

I hope to see many of you at Brighton Rugby Club this evening at what I hope will be a splendid sporting occasion. I wish your children a very happy half term holiday.

The wild and wet weather continues and I think that we are all looking forward to something rather more Spring like. Nonetheless, the children’s spirits seem unaffected and I am delighted that they have been able to get out for trips and for fixtures. Those fixtures have brought considerable success. I was highly impressed by the standard of Rugby played by our 1st team under lights at Brighton Rugby Club on the eve of Half Term. The impressive achievement of being winners of the Lancing Netball Tournament at Under 13 level and runners up at Under 11 level was equally pleasing. Sport, trips, music, dance, and a rich variety of clubs should be central to the lives of all children. I am pleased that they are here.
 
I have just signed Commendations, a lot of them, reflecting terrific work in the classroom too. I was struck by the range and the variety of the work being done as well as by its quality.
 
Our Year 8 children have just finished their Mock examinations and I commended them this morning for the maturity of their approach. They will have made mistakes – that is one of the main purposes of Mocks – but I am confident that all will have achieved successes, in one form or another,  which should boost them as they approach their final term at St Christopher’s.

What a busy week it has been. The ‘Battle of the Bands’ brought together pupils of different ages and combined a rich variety of instruments, and the Year 3 production of Annie was a testament to the developing confidence and the enormous enthusiasm of our Year 3 pupils. It was lovely to see so many children performing and, more to the point, so enjoying performing to a very appreciative audience. A big thank you to Miss Huber and her team, and to Mrs Griffiths and her team. Central to those teams are those who manage the technology and sound, not easy in a crowded Hall and vital to the success of any performance or production.

There has been further success on the Netball court with our Under 10 girls this week to follow on from that of Under 11 and First VII last week. I wish our senior Netball players the best of luck in their match against Roedean this afternoon. Our Rugby players competed well against BCPS. Their turn will come; I am very much looking forward to the Rugby under lights at Brighton Rugby Club next Friday, and hope to see many of you there.

This evening the Parents’ Association Quiz Night will no doubt be great fun, a splendid way to start the weekend.