Education: Where the big picture hits the little things.

When we learned that one of our nursery children had contracted coronavirus, we knew that, for some, their Christmas was to be delayed this year. Nowhere within Claires Court is the story and celebration of Our Lord’s birthday more keenly observed than in Beehive, Busybees and Honeycomb, and the disappointment could not have been more palpably felt than by the children, parents and nursery leaders when Public Health England confirmed last week that our Nursery was required to close early for the Christmas break.

Our divisions have produced much Christmas cheer it must be said, and I share with you our new Year 7 girls’ Christmas song to open this year-ending bulletin up with their thoughtful ‘Grown Up Christmas List’. It is the very careful detailing of each girl’s singing that proves it’s the little things that make the big picture perfect.

It’s those little things, at the end of a year like no other, that we now realise make our school remarkable but only come about through sheer hard work and determination. As Principals we ask our curriculum leaders to provide for stimulating and ambitious plans for your children’s learning, and they do! But even we had no idea that they would have to be able to deliver those plans remotely, at the drop of a ‘virus’ infection, so to speak. Yet together we have, and we’ve been able to learn and adapt quickly when we’ve had to go virtual again, whether as individuals or in school sections as the occasion or Public Health England demanded!

Our core aim throughout this term has been to keep our children and staff safe. We’ve washed our hands to ‘#Happybirthdayx2’ on countless occasions, wiped and double wiped every surface in the gaps between activities, opened the doors and windows wider, and where possible moved the whole lot outside as well, to stay healthy in the fresh air. Our school nurses have been amazing, beyond praise every day for their concern and consideration of others, and report that ‘pandemic notwithstanding’ we have the healthiest school ever. Open windows, social distancing and clean hands clearly have much to commend themselves as safe ways of working, and as term ends, Senior Girls nurse Johanna Axtell leaves us for a lead nurse position at TASIS England. We also say farewell to Mrs Veni Sekar, our 1:1 Maths Teacher at Senior Girls and to Nikki Robinson, our Marketing Officer – we wish them all well in their new roles elsewhere in 2021.

Looking back over the term, in September our school community welcomed 162 new boys and girls, each adding their own individual personality and enthusiasms to the #weareclairescourt mix. In October our staff community welcomed Mrs Hollie Joslyn’s new baby son, Dougie. During the term we also saluted two members of staff on completion of 25 years’ employment at Claires Court: Louise Thomas, Deputy Head Academic at Senior Girls, and Lorraine Downing, Cook at Junior Boys. Both of those wonderful colleagues know how to ‘serve it up’, albeit in different ways, and long may they continue ‘nourishing’ both mind and body.

Next term sees further arrivals in the academic faculty, and at Junior Boys Jessica Wilding joins as Reception Teacher (Maternity Cover) for Chantal Hankin, Kate Fossett as B2 Class Teacher and Adrienne Watters as B4 Class Teacher/B5 Maths. At Senior Boys, we welcome Helen Gowers to the English department (B7/8) and Jamie Odell to our teacher training programme after his sterling term of volunteering with us.

A pandemic might have buffeted us hugely through the term but it has not deflected us from our objective to win the planning appeal for our new campus at the Junior Boys Ridgeway site. Over the eight days of hearing, buoyed by hundreds of messages of support from our parents and community, our team laid out clear and compelling arguments in favour of the development of the land we own at Cannon Lane where our vision is to create a single, purpose-built modern campus bringing together all our pupils and staff. In this we are supported by recent court judgements that require schools to give greater significance to the social development of their community, arising from the provisions of the Equality Act 2010. We expect to learn the Inspector’s decision early in the New Year and will keep you posted.

If 2020 has proven anything to us at Claires Court, it is that we seem always well placed to make the best of things, whatever the climate. If I may slightly misquote Rudyard Kipling “If you can meet success and failure and treat them both as impostors, then you are well balanced, my child.” By way of example, we continued to give the festive season proper ‘airtime’, and we kicked off with a tremendous set of creative entries celebrating 12 days of Christmas, which brought a smile to our faces. To this day, Kipling is famous for his many stories, including Jungle Book and his poem ‘If’. He wrote the very first radio broadcast for King George V across the British Empire, and I feel sure he would have approved of our social media posts too – click here to see the entries.

This bulletin started with Year 7 girls, so let’s close with Year 7 boys showing us what ‘A day in the life of a Senior Boy’ looks like; a great example of how the fun of youth comes smiling through…

Have a great Christmas wherever you find yourselves and here’s to a hope-filled and successful new year in 2021.







About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
This entry was posted in Possibly related posts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.