News1The first few days of a new academic year are always exciting. The children, however much they have enjoyed their holidays, are ready for school and all that it offers: time enjoying the company of friends of their own age, the opportunity to learn and to discover, the structure that many children enjoy, and rich opportunities.

The children have already been coming in hordes through the doors of my study to show me their holiday diaries. I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about happy sun-baked days and they have taken great pride in telling me about wonderful experiences. I was particularly pleased to hear that good old-fashioned entertainment such as blackberry picking, visits to castles, and day trips to London excite as much as exotic trips abroad.

New pupils, naturally anxious on their first day, already seem very settled and to be making friends and there is that sense of joy and energy in the school as sunny September days begin to replace slightly grey August ones. I spoke to the children in our first Assembly about three of the things which are central to St Christopher's and which we are very keen to nurture: kindness, curiosity and confidence. I also used a story, slightly embellished I fear, about my own holidays to encourage them to understand that life has its downs as well as its ups and that it is how we respond to the downs that often defines us. My wife has a favourite saying, 'Don't wait for the rain to stop, learn how to dance in the rain (it should possibly be 'puddles'). Though I often find my wife unfathomable, I finished by asking the children to ponder what that meant.

I wish all of your children a rich, happy and fulfilling academic year.