At 8.20am on Thursday 30th August, your sons and daughters, a significant number new to the school, came through our red gates to begin the Michaelmas Term, the longest of our three terms. It seems a long time ago and yet only a moment ago. On reading the reports of our 300 pupils, it is clear all have made very good progress, have achieved much and have enjoyed the varied opportunities they have had. They can look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the New Year with confidence, but come Thursday afternoon, when they will be passed over to you for the holidays, they will have thoroughly earned a rest.

Our Christmas events have begun delightfully with a charming Year 1 Nativity in the School Hall on Thursday afternoon. The children did wonderfully well to learn their lines and collaborated beautifully in the songs. It was lovely to see so many parents, siblings, and grandparents supporting the children. I am very much looking forward to our Reception Nativities next week. On Thursday morning our Choirs visited Barford Court Care Home to sing and talk to the residents. Not only did they bring great delight but they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and benefited enormously from giving to others.

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.

With the emphasis on the performing arts last week, it was the turn of the creative ones on Thursday morning with Mrs Lomax giving a lovely photographic presentation of some of the art work created by our pupils in Assembly. The montage of art was accompanied by Christopher C. performing one of his own compositions on the piano. I have also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the many Christmas Cards designed by the pupils, cards which I know will be winging their way to various parts of Sussex and beyond in the not too distant future. My thanks to the Parents’ Association for the support it so generously gives the school to ensure this is possible.

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.