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Day & Boarding 7-13 years,
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Sunday, 8 September 2019

Headmaster's Blog #44

After an inordinate time ‘off blog’, I am returning refreshed and with good intentions to start my blogging anew. As with every new academic year most of us begin with a determination to address those areas we know that could have been done better last year, and a belief that this time things will be different and we will slay our dragons. It is one of the wonderful characteristics of human nature that hope springs eternal, and a new term, particularly one that starts in the early autumn is a great time to turn over a new leaf.

It really has felt like autumn is here right from the start of term and even just before. In some years the summer holds on much longer: the days are hot, the ground remains dusty and brown prevails, and even if the light does start to change to that champagne clarity I associate with early autumn mornings and evenings, it does so subtly and ever so gradually. This year, on the final weekend before Pre-season and the start of term, I felt that signs were very much here already: a slight nip in the air, leaves just starting to turn, that wonderful sharpness of light, and above all, a smell – one which is hard to define and describe, but nevertheless one that is very much there. Yes, a certain melancholy and wistfulness comes with this each year – where did the summer go? What else should we have done in our time off and away? One more week would have been so good. And it is the human condition to soul search at these junctures.

However, a great antidote to all this, I can tell you, for those of us lucky enough to work in a school like Abberley, is the energy and life that tumbles out of cars and suitcases on the first day back. Big smiles and high hopes, not too many questions, just an eagerness to get stuck in – point us in the right direction and press ‘Go’. Even our new joiners, of which there were many last week, did not look nervous for long. They have all made a remarkably strong start and it won’t be long until they are as much part of the fabric of this school as the rest of us.

This weekend is a case in point: the afternoon Chapel Service saw the Chapel Choir after the briefest of chances to rehearse, start beautifully and subtly. They promise much for the year to come and I cannot wait to see them develop their own particular character and style. Eve Jardine-Young, Principal of Cheltenham Ladies College, kindly came to address the congregation, which she did most eloquently, with a focus on the world’s environment and the heroes who are prepared to try and make a difference. Shortly afterwards we were outside listening to Viking myths and legends told in the old style: tents pitched, fires crackling, and a boatload of Vikings and their weapons, drinking horns and much more setting the scene for two story-tellers to spin the sagas to our pupils.

This morning – a most glorious autumn morning you could imagine – started full throttle with the u13s girls and boys and u11 girls heading off to various tournaments for hockey and rugby at Cheltenham and Clifton respectively, leaving the rest of the school to enjoy more Viking activities throughout the day, with an open invitation to families and friends.

The train has definitely left the station and is chugging along fast already.

Will Lockett, Headmaster

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