Headmaster’s Notes: Seeing the future through a different lens

14th January 22

It has been very special to see the happy faces of both new and returning pupils and staff this week. Already the children have been relishing being back in the Prince’s Mead environment, making the most of all that is on offer to them; classrooms have been awash with exciting academic lessons, rugby and hockey have been played aplenty, swimming and gymnastics lessons have begun, lunches have been enjoyed, and our senior pupils are straight into additional preparation for their senior school examinations and interviews. There is a tangible buzz around the place and it feels like we have been back at Prince’s Mead for far more than three days! I have no doubt that the children will sleep well indeed this weekend.

The start of something new, whether that be a new school, a new lesson or the new year is always an exciting time, offering fresh opportunities, with many chances to try new things, as well as developing and building on already established skills. Nothing encapsulates this better than the James Webb telescope; that engineering marvel that launched on Christmas day, characterising the pioneering spirit of NASA. It represents far more than this too, providing us with the opportunity to look back in time to distant galaxies whilst moving forwards too in search of far-flung galaxies more than a million kilometres from earth.

There is something metaphysical about such astronomic physics. Touching the edge of the universe and the creation of the world we know has been a core religious and scientific quest of all humankind and it will tell us much about our own. This first school week of the New Year, we have been challenging children to reflect on their application to their studies. Using those thousands of engineers, scientists and technicians who have spent significant portions of their careers developing the fascinating technology behind the James Webb telescope as inspiration, I have asked the children what they would want to see in terms of their own achievements in years to come if they were to peer through the lens of that James Webb telescope and, conversely, what skills and knowledge they need to fulfil these dreams. A timely perspective for what I am sure will be a most positive year.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year and a most relaxing weekend.

Mr Peter Thacker