Friday, 15 September 2017
Headmaster's Blog Autumn Term 2017 - Week 1
Blood red moon
Leaves turning yellow
Term started with a burst of energy just before 4pm on Sunday afternoon. One or two long distance travellers arrived a tad early, and the majority of boarders were very prompt, judging by how busy the Front Hall was. Our systems just about coped, but I certainly was not able to stop and chat to everyone there, for which apologies. Ms Parker and Team did a grand job of unpacking bags and trunks and ferrying clothes et al. upstairs and by supper time it was done. Our Top Year tackled their first job of the year and the Front Hall was cleared by 7pm, just in time for our new Spanish pupils to arrive for a mini second round.
Monday morning was equally lively, with Day pupils ready and in school bright and early, not to mention our new pupils: Form 1 taking their first step into a bigger and more daunting world and many other brand new faces, most of whom are boarding, arriving at 9am. There are 33 new pupils in just the Prep School this term, and we work hard to help them feel at home as quickly and as happily as possible.
That said, we don’t like to spend too long getting up to speed, so after a Form Tutor period up until Bun Break, when timetables, planners, school rules, games kit, music instruments and so on are all handed out and put in the right place, we started on our normal daily routine: lessons, lunch and Games.
Our pupil guides do a critical job at this time of year. It is easy to forget how challenging it is to join a new school, at least initially, and how tiring it can be. Every school has its funny names, ways and places. Those of us who have been here before take so much for granted that it is easy to forget that new faces will not have a clue where ‘Ashton’ is, or what it is, what happens at Bun Break, what to do with a Show up if you win one, where to go if you hurt yourself, or even where the loos are! This term the guides, without too many prompts, have been excellent and done a considerate job caring for their wards. If it is done well initially guiding need not take a long time, and it is a big contributory factor in settling in new pupils.
Our new members of staff should not be forgotten either. They too are getting to grips with the new routines, language and expectations, but there is rather less sympathy for them as they are plunged into lessons, tutoring, games and duties. They were all still smiling at the end of the week and have made a great early impression; good luck to them.
Autumn seems to have arrived early this year and the weather has been pretty foul, cold and damp. This time last year I was bee-keeping at 6.30 in the evening with no trouble at all. The days were dry and sunny. No such luck this September. However I did lead a band of new bee-keepers over to Ludlow on Wednesday evening to add a small colony to the school’s apiary. One of our kind parents said they were happy for us to go and collect this, and prepare another for a later collection, all of which went, rather surprisingly, according to plan. The bees were certainly rather cross to have been relocated, when I finally put them in their new home below the Walled Garden and unwrapped them, but I am taking that as a sign of vigour, which bodes well for the future. On our journey back we saw a wonderful blood red, full moon; which, as a superstitious soul, I am taking as a good omen too. The new bee keepers were very brave, interested and excellent company – all strong Abberley traits. Let’s see what the next few weeks bring.
Another Activity in the first week was one newly introduced by Mr Raven : cage, flood-lit football. A minibus full of children disappeared off happily (and returned even happier), eager to get stuck into this variation on a theme, including, I am pleased to say, one of your Top Year girls.
There is much more to write about, but unless I stop it will be Week 3 and exeat time.