The beginning of the academic year is one of my favourite times. The children are ready for the structure which school brings, excited to see their friends again and ready for the many opportunities to learn and develop which we provide. Those returning are full of energy and enthusiasm and those who are new to school have settled remarkably well.

As this year and our time at St Christopher's is drawing to a close, I have had time to reflect on Year 8. Year 8 has had its ups and downs and twists and turns but it has been one of the best years of my time at St Christopher's. It can be seen as a daunting time, all about exams, passing them, and getting into your choice of school. However, it has been a year of fun too. Most importantly, friendships have been built and developed and the year has continued to feel more and more like a big family. The saddest thing for me will be not seeing my school family every day.

I love seeing our pupils out on mass enjoying the sunshine and the events which are so much a part of the Summer Term as it draws to an end. The sponsored walk was a splendid event with almost every child in the school enjoying the fresh air on the Hove Seafront, whether they sauntered, jogged or ran with real intent. It was lovely to see so many parents enjoying the occasion. Our Pre Prep Sports’ Day was also very well supported and made for a super family occasion. The youngest children revelled in the events provided and I was very impressed indeed by the way they competed and supported each other. I would like to thank all who supported these events.

It was lovely to see so many of you at Sports’ Day and Prize Giving, a day to celebrate the year that has passed, a year in which your children have made extraordinary progress and benefited from rich experiences. The week which has followed has been the busiest of the year. A wonderfully staged production of Les Misérables enabled all of our most senior pupils to feel a part of a resplendent production and many to achieve things they did not think possible.

The whole of the Pre Prep were learning on the beach on Wednesday, supported by some of our Year 8 pupils. Beach Huts were measured and volumes calculated; sights, sounds and smells were absorbed to stimulate creative writing; and the children all enjoyed a thoroughly different learning environment. Today they are at Wilderness Woods where they will be equally stimulated by very different surroundings. A Year 5 Geography trip to the Seven Sisters Country Park, a seven mile walk on the South Downs for some of our Year 8 pupils, rounders and cricket fixtures galore, such is the week after Half Term, a week which will be more fully established and consolidated as Trips Week next academic year. I am extremely grateful to the many parents who accompany the pupils and make such an ambitious programme possible.