Headmaster's Blog | Saturday 3 February 2019

03 February 2019

 

They say that a change is as good as a rest and the snow certainly provided a change that brought out the best in the Caldicott community. I was sorry to cancel the buses on Friday morning and I apologise for any inconvenience caused. This decision was taken following our experienced drivers reporting that they could not get out of the minibus compound, let alone onto Crown Lane. In the twelve years I have had in school leadership I have never closed school due to snow and I intend to keep that record going for many years to come, noting that with resident staff, boarding, adequate planning and a willingness to roll one’s sleeves up and regularly review risk assessments there will probably be little reason to do so. I acknowledge that for staff and parents who are not on site or are local, the challenge becomes personal to the routes in, local conditions and type of vehicle being used. Our message here is that it must be safety first before travelling.

With 155 boys at school on Friday, the day began in Chapel at which plans were communicated leading to a day of academic lessons and fun in the snow, plus an event we all thought would have been cancelled, that I will refer to in a moment. I would like to thank everyone for their contributions to a day that will live long in the memory of their time at Caldicott.

The event that unexpectedly remained on yesterday was our partnership event with ‘Contact’, a charity that hosts events for elderly people. Boys have been pen-pals to a group of elderly people as part of a strand to our PSHE programme in which boys are taught to respect that every human being has a story to tell. Yesterday we hosted a tea party for this group and it was a triumph. The catering, housekeeping, musicians, staff and the boys themselves were amazing and I would like to thank Ma’am Corrigan, Head of PSHEE, for organising such a memorable event. The joy of seeing our boys chatting confidently with people two generations older was deeply rewarding and an endorsement of the value we place on honouring traditional values.

On Tuesday evening the English department hosted the 2019 Declamations, an event that I had not previously seen and I was not disappointed, but rather than me explain, here is an extract from an email Mr. Evans received afterwards:

I wanted to write to thank you and congratulate you on one of the best Declamations finals. This was my 11th final. The evening has always been a highlight - to hear the boys declaim poems, extracts and speeches that show maturity, personality and empathy. I thought this year’s carefully curated mix showcased a wonderful appreciation of English literature combined with self-expression and thoughtfulness. Its occasions such as this that encourage and stimulate all the boys (and parents alike) and I came away uplifted and reflective. Thank you. I know how much hard work goes into the evening - and how much practice the boys put in beforehand.

We agree! Many thanks to Mr. Evans and all the English Department.

On Wednesday evening I was privileged to attend Evening Prayer with, not only boarders and staff, but also members of the Doggart family, notably Antonia, Clare and Susan. At our service we reflected on my predecessor’s life and I am honoured that a memorial stone has been dedicated to his name. My thanks go to our Chapel Master, Mr. Paget, for organising this event so sensitively. Again, our boarders were a credit to themselves.

Jeremy Banks

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