We’ve reached a time in the academic year when the performing arts take centre stage. Last week a supportive audience took great delight from a Teatime Recital in which pupils from Year 4 to Year 8 performed individual pieces, demonstrating great confidence with a range of instruments. On Monday night pupils from Year 4 to Year 7 put on a magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Old Market Theatre to an equally appreciative audience. Our youngest children are looking forward to their Nativity Plays and our choirs are busy rehearsing for the Carol Service at All Saints Church on the final day of term. The next fortnight or so will be busy but wonderfully festive, with plenty to warm the heart as Advent approaches and the weather becomes increasingly wintry. I very much look forward to seeing parents and grandparents at nativities, at our Carols in the Back Court and at the aforementioned Carol Service.

The focus this week in school assemblies and in tutorials has been on the celebration of difference and on respect for others. On Thursday morning Miss Lowe talked about ‘Respect’ in Assembly and then the school sang a song - accompanied by Mr Holt, Mr Stead and Mr Groves - to drive home the message, memorably if not wholly melodically. It is an important message. As much as anything else I want St Christopher’s to be a school which celebrates difference and which embraces uniqueness.

Mr Sloan, a Senior Deputy Head at Brighton College spoke to the pupils this morning about moral courage, making the very clear definition between moral and physical. His words were well received by the pupils, who engaged fully with his strong message. As are many guest speakers, Mr Sloan was highly impressed by the natural warmth of the children, by their courtesy and good manners and by their forthcoming response. It gives me great pleasure that visitors to the school note qualities in the pupils which teachers place great store by and which are embedded in all that we are trying to do at St Christopher’s.

The rain came at the wrong time for our very short Remembrance Service for the Pre-Prep. Nonetheless, the children showed admirable fortitude as they planted their poppies and were very thoughtful for ones so young. Their service ended with the song ‘Peace, Perfect Peace…’, so poignant from the mouths of the very young. Earlier this morning the Mayor of Brighton and the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex joined us for the Prep School Service and the silence in which we shared two minutes of reflection.

As Half Term rapidly approaches, it is worth reflecting on the beginning of the academic year and all that has happened since the gates opened for the start of term on Thursday, 30th August. Our new Reception classes have settled remarkably well, as have other children new to the school, many children have taken great joy from their learning, there has been a full programme of sports fixtures and activities, presentations, celebrations, trips galore, recitals and services. Life at St Christopher’s is never dull and the school is always busy. Your children will be ready for their half term when the gates close next Tuesday evening and staff will be too.