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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Headmaster's Blog Spring Term Ending

We finished term this year, for a change, with the final note of the musical, The Sound of Music. It was a fantastic climax of what has been rather a special term, but I thought I should wait a few days at least, until the familiar tunes had faded from my head before putting pen to paper and writing a final blog for the term.

I under estimated the enduring power of some of those songs. Although we bundled up our luggage and hit the M5 and M6 immediately after we had broken up and ensconced ourselves deep in the Lake District, several of the tunes have been going round and round in my head. I suppose I have been in the right place for them – “High on a hill…”, “Climb every mountain, ford every stream (beck!)”, “I am sixteen, going on seventeen.” (Well that really is more than a stretch of the imagination).

I think it says more about the excellence of the production, the really fantastic standard of singing, both from the soloists and the chorus, and the catchiness of the tunes, than about my fevered mind. We ended what has been a busy term with the Sound of Music ringing in our ears, with a lot of smiles and hugs, and some very tired, but, I hope, happy children. These things do not happen without a great deal of hard work and rehearsing over several weeks; they do not happen without a great deal of commitment and dedication; and they do not happen without a tremendous amount of team work from staff and pupils alike. Every year there are the moments of doubt: are we asking too much of the children? Can the Top Year be expected to revise for their mocks on top of this? Is there a better time in the school calendar to put the major production? Will it be all right on the night? Every year the doubts and last minute anxieties seem to be more than answered.

I return to the belief that Abberley children are more than capable of all they achieve. We ask a lot of them, but they more than rise to these challenges. I am often told by senior schools that they love having Abberley pupils join them because they are ‘doers’, that they arrive at their next school not only able to take advantage of the wide gamut of opportunity on offer, but expecting to be involved in the whole range. I know other teenagers who quickly fall into lassitude and avoidance of challenges, that simply is not in the blood of our pupils, not least because they have grown used to fitting a huge amount into every day and week. Just as the old adage goes: if you want something done give it to a busy person, I am proud of the culture at Abberley where our pupils expect to be busy and productive.

A case in point: I have just received the good news about Instrumental Music Exam results. These also took place in the final two weeks of term. As ever we had a 100% pass rate and many merits and the odd distinction too, across Grades 1 -5.

If one aims high in life, it is amazing what one can achieve. That is an important message to instil in our children early on. I do not want them held back by doubts and fears. Failure is not a sign of weakness but more an indication of brave intent. I often think about the positive impact of peer pressure as I look at the audiences of shows and concerts and see the younger ones watching and loving the performance. I bet many of them are thinking – “That will be me one day.” And so they should.

Will Lockett, Headmaster

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