Time to Reflect

Have you noticed how dirty mirrors get? I used to have ambitions to be a mirror cleaner because I could always see myself doing it. The other day, I held a clock up to the mirror; it was time for reflection I thought. I also held up some cheese. ‘Halloumi’, I said.

OK, OK, enough of the terrible mirror jokes. But since reflection is the theme of the week, and audible laughter has been muted for much of the term, I could not resist the opportunity for some good old fashioned humour.

A year on from when the first lockdown turned our worlds inside out, the art of reflection is more important than ever, especially if we want to remain positive and level-headed about the future. We live in an instantaneous world where young people are hooked into making immediate decisions – ‘like’ this on one social media platform, send an emoji to that on another, click and post yet another selfie and so on. This can lead to impulsive actions, miscommunications and over-analysis particularly of oneself. And when life gets tough, which the last year has been at times, it then comes commonplace to focus on the negative.

So what really matters is the ability to self-reflect without over-analysing and this is one of the most important things we, as educators, can instil in young people. We must teach the children how to reason and substantiate their thoughts. We must impart a strong set of values and encourage the children to measure themselves against them, quietly but regularly. We must ensure our pupils recognise their own uniqueness and the purpose and potential that comes with it.

This comes down to the skill of reflection and this is not an easy skill to master. After all, mirrors only reflect the outer appearance and can sometimes be misleading. Think of those in a fairground for instance that distort one’s size and shape! Mirrors can cause people to look for things that they want to see instead of embracing what is there. True reflection goes deeper. There will be days when we won’t like what we see so we need to make adjustments and children need to recognise this – it is all part of our development. So what we must really do is look beyond the outer appearance and focus on the inside – that is proper reflection and no mirror can do that!

Well done to our Year 6 quiz team who came joint 13th out of 50 teams in yesterday’s Quiz Club General Knowledge Quiz which this year was contested online. Our team of Matty, Issy, Jack and Hattie did very well, just getting 3 or 4 of the high scoring questions wrong. Meanwhile, the Year 5 team, comprising Aarush, Lottie, Tom and Jack finished 21st out of 48 competing teams in another tightly contested competition.

Congratulations also to the 1st IV Shooting Squad who finished top in their Under 14 league competition. Scoring 765 out of 800 points, they beat Feltonfleet School from Surrey (740) and Dean Close Junior  from Gloucestershire (718) in a high level competition. Our top scorer was Chloe Williams who shot a 97 and 98 to achieve a total of 195 out of 200. Other team scores included Dan Clark (189), Poppy Campion (190) and Eric Wood (191). Chloe deserves a special mention as she also won a ‘Best Bull’ prize. These are awarded to firers who achieve the best pair of successive shots on one of their targets.

At the end of last night’s online Richardson Recital, Cecilia Field sang ‘Wouldn’t it be Lovely?’ and the whole concert most certainly was! Rich in variety as we went from Harry Potter to Loch Lomond, via Disney, Lionel Bart, some 1970s brass and even Paul Weller, the concert was fast-paced and featured seven different instruments and nearly twenty performers. Clearly the pupils have been working hard to maintain their practice and I would like to thank all the music teachers for maintaining the enthusiasm and keeping the pupils on track. It was lovely to hear live music once again.

It was also lovely to welcome back Miss Sheridan this week after her maternity leave. The smiles on the faces of the pupils upon seeing her was a glorious sight. On the flipside, sadly, we have said goodbye today to two of our gappies, Max and Antoinette. Both have been stalwarts over the last two terms supporting the pupils and staff in every area of the school from the Nursery to Year 8, on the games pitches, in classrooms, in the pool and of course in Colstocks boarding house. A heart-felt thank you to both of them for all they have done and we wish them well as they seek another adventure before going to university in September.

And so we come to the end of term. Although it feels like we have only just returned to school, it is clear that the term as a whole has been intense and the pupils are pretty exhausted from the various tribulations so the break is arriving at the right time. A good holiday now will lead into a positive and industrious summer term in better weather where certain shackles, we hope, will be released. May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and wish you all a very Happy Easter!