I write this having just waved Year 5 (and the Headmaster) off to France. I am sure they will have a fantastic time putting their spoken French to good use in real life situations. My thanks to the staff accompanying them; please remember to bring us back some cheese for the Staff Room! It has been a typically busy week, with sporting success for the IAPS Girls (fingers crossed for the Finals today in Essex), Year 4 at Fishbourne Roman Palace, and the delightful Year 2 production of Dick Whittington.

A book is like a door, that of a wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ wonderful Narnia tales. It is a door into the minds of others, into other cultures and places, into the past and the future. This is the analogy used by Chris Riddell, our visiting children’s author and illustrator and one which was developed by Nicky Singer, another of our visiting authors. She also highlighted the importance of storytelling, using one of her own stories. During their double act, another children’s author, Will Mabbitt, was entertaining our youngest children. Children love stories and they should be encouraged to write them, to tell them, to read them and to listen to them. I am confident that they were inspired by our three visitors today.

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.

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.

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.