I had goose bumps this morning as I stood with a clear blue sky overhead, overlooking the sea of red blazers filling the back court whilst the Last Post was played flawlessly by ex St Christopher’s pupil, Alex T. This was preceded by some beautiful singing from both Schola and the Intermediate Choir as part of a very moving Remembrance Day service for the Prep School. Later on in the morning the Pre-Prep children held their own service, planting poppies in the flower bed as a symbol of Remembrance. Amidst the business of the school day it is quite special to witness the children taking time to stop and think of those who have given their lives in the line of duty.

With Halloween over and Bonfire Night to come there has been the buzz of excitement in the school this week. I think we have all enjoyed the crisp, sunny days and the brilliant dusks which this time of year can bring. It is the best possible weather in which to view the starlings ‘dance’ above the ruins of the West Pier. I believe murmuration is the technical term. If you haven’t taken your children to observe it, I do recommend a trip at dusk. I can remember sitting with my own son and daughter on a bench on the seafront, a sense of wonder at one of nature’s great sights. Sadly there are fewer starlings now than there once were but the experience is still magical.

As the week draws to a close my mind is exercised by the importance of reading to all children’s learning. There is statistical evidence galore to show that those children who read voraciously are far more likely to do well academically. The encouragement of reading is embedded in much of what we do at St Christopher’s but I also recognise that it is parents who first give a child that love of words and nurture in them a love of books. I also realise that some children are more reluctant to read than others. For those parents whose children do read widely, please do all that you can to sustain this. For those whose children are more reluctant, do keep trying to encourage them and keep searching for books they will enjoy.

Last Saturday afternoon I received a text from Mr Lawson telling me that our Ist VI Football Team had qualified for the IAPS National Finals for the second year running. Most of the best prep schools in the country are members of the Independent Association of Prep Schools and it is a very significant achievement for a relatively small two form entry prep school to be one of 16 schools in the finals of a competition entered by over 200 schools. Our football coaches and those boys who played have every right to be very proud. The finals take place in Taunton on Saturday 5th November.

I have always enjoyed Harvest Festival but I found the service on Thursday morning particularly uplifting. This resulted partly from the inimitable enthusiasm of Father Robert for all things St Christopher’s as well as ‘All good things around us’ but equally from the robustness of the youngest voices and the beauty of the various choirs representing the school from Reception to Year 8. The occasion was also such a lovely one because so many parents were there. I am very grateful for your support.