This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.                          ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our School Inspection (March 25-28, 2014) is over and our cup is indeed full. Confident that we are regarded highly by the independent inspection service that accredits our standing within the Independent Schools Association and Independent Schools Council, we await our written report.  There can of course be surprises, but I am as certain as any that we can now move forward into the future, secure in the knowledge that we have done our best.

I come to work each day, because I run a school that looks after children, and actually has a specific focus for that brief, to educate them, in the round, and in the detail, including as best we can every facet.  That’s my passion, for I have over the years recognised the very real difference we make to children’s lives, and I want to make that a repeatable experience for not just one but for cohorts, hundreds and thousands. And I believe we are doing just that, in remarkable and utterly different ways for individuals, groups, young and old alike.

Part of my work is to pick a time and place for things. Many years ago, I chose to develop for the Secondary and Sixth Form years an Easter Commemoration Service. The point of the event was to announce for one and all, that we would remember our best who had passed away the previous year or so. The purpose of our annual service is to bring to mind those with whom we have lived and worked and to reflect on a society based on the values we hold dear.

One of the items that has stayed a fixture is the Queen’s Message to the Commonwealth, because I feel there is a strong resonance between the aims and ambitions of our school and those of the Commonwealth of Nations. A total of sixteen core beliefs are drawn up in the charter, namely, democracy, human rights, international peace and security, tolerance, respect and understanding, freedom of expression, separation of powers, rule of law, good governance, sustainable development, protecting the environment, access to health, education, food and shelter, gender equality, importance of young people in the Commonwealth, recognition of the needs of the small states, recognition of the needs of the vulnerable states, and lastly, the role of civil society. (Thanks Wikipedia).

You can find a carousel show of this year’s presentation/service here – and some fabulous music from the Service by link below:

I’d like to think the singing of the anthems, Love is All around and Rule the World were as amazing, but I suggest they might be more robust and sheer enthusiastic in their performance than expert. And probably time we added a couple more such anthems to our repertoire.

Rebecca Fuller spoke of her time with and knowledge of Lucy Bywater, whose untimely death aged 29 occurred in the Autumn. ‘Becks’ leaves our school this Easter, to lead Girls PE at Holme Grange Prep School in Wokingham. Her presence at the close of our term, talking with passion and emotion about a wonderful fellow student and friend now passed, brought a lump to all of our throats, and cemented in my own mind the certainty that Schools should indeed commemorate their own.

I closed the Service with a quiet reflection on the wonders of the Irish, their joy and humanity, and made specific reference to an old Irish blessing* to conclude.

So we break for our Easter hols, in which 2 weeks of rest, recuperation, revision and reckoning, before we ratchet up for the Summer term – known as the 5Rs.

*May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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