I was fortunate enough to watch the final ten minutes of a wonderfully competitive 1st XI hockey match at Windlesham House. Our girls went down narrowly but they played hockey of which they should be proud – they have improved enormously since the first game of the season, tribute to their approach to sport and the excellent coaching of Ms Laatz. At the same school we embarked on our rugby season with some tough matches. The Under 11 B team won impressively. Our 1st, 2nd and Under 11A teams lost to strong and physically impressive teams but there were glimpses of better results to come and positive signs for teams which had practiced only twice. The strength of character and pride in their school shown by our sports' players continue to impress all as much as the skill they show and the very good results they achieve.

Year 4 to 8 examination results have been published and the overwhelming majority of pupils are rightly proud. Teachers will go through examination papers and lessons will be learnt about technique and preparation.

The children will soon be excited about the approach of Christmas, if they are not already. We have the Nativity play, Year 1, 2 and 3 plays, and Christmas lunches to look forward to as well as the opening of the Beach Hut Advent Calendar on the seafront and our Carol Service at All Saints, Hove. I look forward to seeing many of you at these events.

Year 1 learn about wudu, the ritual act of cleansing carried out
before prayer,
during their visit to the Mosque on Wednesday. 
It was lovely to see a goodly number of you at our Remembrance Service on Tuesday. There is a dignified solemnity about the traditional service which I am keen to retain, because it is so British. It was splendid to welcome her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex to the service and I was delighted that he agreed to lay one of the wreaths. It was also appropriate that our long serving former Caretaker, Adrian Hawkins, who served in the Royal Sussex Regiment with distinction laid a second wreath, while Poppy G of Year 3 represented the generation which holds the key to the future. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have planted poppies in front of our own Remembrance Cross, making for a charming commemoration of which I am sure those we remember would approve.

There was a hush in the school yesterday with the majority of our pupils sitting examinations. Those who were nervous seem far happier now that they have sat their first paper, and rather a good lasagne for lunch proved fortifying for them. May I stress how important it is over the examination period that the children eat a good breakfast and that they get a good night's sleep, as it is throughout the term.
On Monday Edward L (RC) took great pride in reading some of his first words to me in my study, for which he was rewarded by Mrs Curtis with a Headmaster's Commendation. It was a joy to see Edward's pride. There have been other Commendations, the source of equal pride: for impressive discursive and creative writing, for beautifully presented and clear booklets on mathematical formulae, for maps of Thermopylae, creative similes, for kindness and care and, interestingly, one for 'trying porridge for breakfast and working hard'. Such is the variety of achievements for which the children are rewarded here.

I have also thoroughly enjoyed hearing about recent trips to Dorset, Normandy and Spain from which our children clearly gained a great deal as well as having enormous fun. There is more about these trips within the Newsletter, and some lovely photographs on the website.

Perhaps my biggest highlight this week has been the presentations of three boys in Year 7 who have researched the fascinating experiences of relatives during World War Two. All three boys have gained rich rewards from their research and from talking to some of the very few who still remember such events. They will be presenting their ideas in Assembly on Monday. If I gain permission, I will publish their stories in forthcoming Newsletters – they are extremely moving.

 Dorset School Trip

The Christmas lights were switched on in Hove last night and, as is now the custom, our Junior Choir delighted the gathering throng around Hove Town Hall by singing a selection of carols quite beautifully. It is perhaps rather early to be singing Christmas carols but it made for a charming scene, nonetheless. We try to make the most of our situation in the heart of Hove, and I am pleased the children are able to sing, perform, play and learn at a variety of venues in Brighton and Hove.

I hope that those of you who can will join the school for their Remembrance Service at St Philip's Church on Tuesday, 11th November at 10.35 am. Some of you will have seen the St Christopher's poppy in the Argus this week, but the photograph is below for those who did not. Our youngest pupils are perhaps too young to understand the importance of Remembrance but they will remember, I hope, joining in the commemorations which the nation embraces. As promised, within the Newsletter you will find the reflections of a relative interviewed by a Year 7 pupil.

For many of our children examinations are approaching, and for some it will be the first time they have sat exams. Some revision is important but please do encourage your children to keep those examinations in perspective. For Year Four the process is as important as the final result and the main purpose to demystify examinations and teach the children through experience that it is possible to actually enjoy them.
The children were fortunate enough yesterday to listen to a wonderful presentation in Assembly by Mr Stead. He spoke about well-being, and it is of course the well-being of the children here which is at the heart of all that we do. Above all else we want the children at St Christopher's to be safe and happy and to be confident enough to be the very best versions of themselves that they can be. Mr Stead reinforced to the children how important it is for them to respect and understand each other, for them to develop the clear sense of right and wrong which will enable them to make the right choices and for them to learn to appreciate their world and the people in it. At the end of the Assembly the children were asked to sit absolutely silently and think about a place of beauty which they knew well. Just as the noise of children playing at school is joyous, there is a beauty in silence and the children in Assembly this morning fully appreciated that.

It was lovely to see so many of you at St Philip's at the beginning of this week for our Harvest Festival Service, and I would like to thank you and your children for bringing in to school food which is now with those living in Brighton and Hove who most need it.

As half term approaches and autumnal rain and wind replace very suddenly the golden sunshine of September, I can reflect on the first half of term with great pride in the children at the school who have achieved so much in class, on the games field, on stage and in so many other areas of school life. Most are tired and ready for a rest and so I wish them all a very happy half term.
Our oldest and youngest pupils make the donation at Harvest Festival.