I am writing this having just returned from an enjoyable and uplifting evening at a local pub. Those of you who know me will realise that this is an unlikely place for me to be spending a weekday evening during term time, but I can assure you it was well worth while. Dame B’s staff were invited to attend an evening during which some of our ex-pupils, now at the Senior School, were taking part in an evening of entertainment featuring their rock bands. We were delighted, but not surprised, at the level of talent on show and the obvious enjoyment that both the students themselves and their appreciative audience (admittedly made up almost entirely of adoring parents, relatives and staff) derived from it.
Wellbeing is an important buzzword of the moment, and it was clear that these students’ wellbeing was bolstered and fed by the pleasure of creating, performing and sharing their music. Our commitment to the importance of our students’ wellbeing is reflected in the recent appointment of our Head of Wellbeing across the foundation Ferre Laevers. Emotional well being and involvement scales are a good starting point for the consideration of children’s mental health and subsequent engagement with learning. He states that “Well-being focuses on the extent to which pupils feel at ease, act spontaneously, show vitality and self-confidence. It is a crucial component of emotional intelligence and good mental health.” This sits comfortably alongside our own ethos and reflects our belief that effective learning will only take place when pupils are emotionally comfortable and confident.
Our youngest pupils happily welcomed their grandparents to share in their learning last Friday, with both age groups expressing pride and delight in what was being done and achieved. On the same day every single one of our Prep pupils took to the stage at Saffron Hall for our third annual concert. From Year 3’s Gamelan performance, through Jazz Band and Rock Band to the choral finale, the children’s delight in performing was clear. The contribution that artistic discovery and performance make to wellbeing are beyond dispute, and it is vital to the wellbeing of all our pupils that each one find an avenue to express and enjoy artistic creativity.
This is equally true of sport and physical wellbeing, and the range of extra curricular opportunities we offer reflects this too, drawing on the passions and enthusiasms of staff to inspire the children and give them the opportunities to try out new skills in a safe and relaxed environment.
At the start of next term we are invited to join the first Walk to School event being promoted by Saffron Walden against Climate Change (SWACC). The focus of this initiative is on not only our own wellbeing but also on that of our environment and, ultimately, of our planet. We want our pupils to realise that each one of them can make a small but significant difference.
The wellbeing of two of our staff has been significantly enhanced over the last couple of weeks with the arrival of the latest additions to the Dame B’s community. Many congratulations to Tom Hannaway and his wife on the arrival of Max Peter, and to Sam Godfrey and his wife who welcomed their daughter Florence Gracie into the world last Friday. We know that they will both make fantastic dads!
With my best wishes to you all for a relaxing break,
Deputy Head of Dame Bradbury’s