Happy New Year!
I have come back to school this term feeling oddly buoyant and positive despite the unending negative messaging from the media in the last week. Perhaps I have become immune to the constant predictions of impending doom or perhaps it is because these are the times when having the skills to be resilient is essential.
This week I attended a conference where I was fortunate to hear from a lady called Natasha Devon. Natasha is a writer & activist who tours schools and colleges throughout the UK, delivering talks as well as conducting research on mental health, body image, gender and social equality. The reason behind my specific interest is the Foundation's focus on developing pupils’ mental fitness rather than focussing on mental health; an approach that doesn't wait for the horse to bolt before closing the stable door. The key skills to resilience that she discussed centred on being known and a true sense of belonging. I am under no illusion that the resilience skills I may have acquired were certainly accidental and it highlights the power of an approach where skills for resilience are an integral, regular and planned part of education.
Our first step in supporting our pupils to develop the ability to be resilient is get to know them and get to know them well. Tea with the Gs this week for all new pupils and parents is certainly a positive step in welcoming our new starters, and I thank the buddies and the buddy families for their important contribution to establishing those new to our community. Mrs Matthews will be sending out information about the consultation evenings for this term in due course. However, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s form teacher or any member of the SLT at any point if you have any questions or want to share anything you feel that we should know that will help us to know your child better. This year please note that in response to parental feedback we will be holding a parent consultation evening for parents of pupils in Year 6.
Pupils in the Pre-Prep started the new term with the launch day for their new theme ‘Into the Unknown’. This is always a delight for teaching staff as they interact with every child in Reception, Year One and Two and get to know them all better. The pupils also get the chance to build relationships with children in other year groups and the day is just as valuable for this as it is for inspiring pupils’ learning. Activities ranged from raft building and reflecting on what people in the past thought would happen as sailors sailed off out of sight, to solving problems when getting through a maze and encountering obstacles in the form of mathematical questions via a QR code! Our pupils always offer fabulous ideas and questions they want to find answers for and this half term holds a store of exciting skills, knowledge and understanding to be discovered.
Last term Mr Hewlett wrote to you requesting that parents attend the important Digital Parenting event in Cambridge on Tuesday 22 January. I appreciate that the logistics of family life makes this type of event challenging but I would add my plea that for this occasion you make arrangements to be able to attend. The digital world is one of great possibility for the positive development of our children, but therein also lies the opportunity for hurt if we do not educate our children and ourselves to an extent where we can support critical consumption.
The calendar for the term is quickly filling up with events and opportunities, please do keep an eye on them and of course on sports fixtures through MiSocs.
Head of Dame Bradbury's and Vice Principal, 3-11