Look at Britain’s finest, proudest independent schools. They recognise that success in the examination hall goes hand-in-hand with success on the rugby pitch; that resilience in maths is strengthened by resilience in the gymnasium; that playing characters in drama is enhanced by building character through physical endeavour.
In the classroom this is the time of year when we begin to see the rich dividends of inspiring teaching and high expectations, reflected in the marked improvement that can be seen in the work of pupils from Reception to Year 8. Our Reception pupils are already meeting expectations and many already exceeding those for the year, while the Year 8 pupils at the top of the school are producing quality in their work beyond what they thought possible. It is wonderful to see the pride they take from this, whether five years old or thirteen.
Assemblies are a lovely time to observe the children in numbers together in their red blazers gazing wide eyed at an interesting or inspiring speaker from within or outside the school. Often I ponder that each and every one of them has a lifetime to explore and see a world that is worth exploring, to think and learn about things worth learning and to forge those very strong friendships which are well worth forging.
Please ask your children about School Assembly on Thursday morning. Dominic Ferris spoke and played to 250 of our children in the School Hall. Dominic is a former pupil of St Christopher’s who won a Music Scholarship to Hurstpierpoint College and then went on to the Royal School of Music. He is now a highly successful professional musician who has a rich and varied repertoire and performs regularly in the West End. Just as he was inspired by a number of wonderful teachers at St Christopher’s, this morning he inspired our pupils with his passion and his brilliant piano playing.
Parents’ Association Meetings are always a reminder to me of the amount done by parents in support of the school and to bring our community together. On Tuesday evening its members met to discuss a variety of planned events. I do hope that many of you are coming to the Quiz Night on 2nd February, always a very jolly social occasion and not too fiercely competitive. A committee is now in place for the Spring Fair on 28th April, one of the big events of the school calendar and a lovely way to bring pupils, old boys and girls, parents and teachers together. I hope that you will not only pen the date in your diaries but that some will consider helping with one of the stalls. The committee is looking for volunteers and the success of the events really does depend on us all mucking in.