Headmaster’s Notes – the importance of resilience

3rd May 19

We could not have asked for a more enjoyable start to the Summer Term. As the sun shone on the grounds on Monday morning, the children skipped into school sharing news of their holidays be it of our highly successful Normandy trip, IAPS Chess Championship performances, tales from the ski slopes or simply enjoying that magnificent British sunshine. It has been a joy to hear the corridors buzzing with happy chatter again and see the routine of Prince’s Mead life easily slip back into gear. Rehearsals have begun in earnest for our play performances later this term and Games sessions have been readying the children for their first fixtures next week. A particularly warm welcome to the flurry of new pupils and their families who have joined us across the school this week and it has been a delight to see them settling into our community so well.

Whilst being a happy start to the term, the academic focus of the coming weeks is never far from our minds. Whether the children are preparing further for senior school curriculums post-examinations, or working towards their goals in the Early Years, we are conscious of reminding the children to set no ceilings on their expectations of themselves. From the start we have had this week, I have no doubt they will continue to thrill us all.

A few things this week have prompted me to think about ‘resilience’; a characteristic that we aim to develop in all our children at Prince’s Mead. Perhaps it was watching the London Marathon last weekend and recalling my own experience of running the course a few years ago (21 years, in fact!). It was all the things that seasoned runners tell you it will be: exhausting, exhilarating but also humbling, as I was frequently overtaken by enthusiastic runners twice my age!  Should I choose to embark on the challenge again, perhaps I will seek tips from Prince Mead’s own elite runners: Mrs Sadler, Mrs Reynolds, Mrs Barber, Mrs Griffith and Mrs Redhead. Congratulations to them all (and our parent community for their immense support) in completing the London Marathon this year and raising £27,500 for their chosen charities; an extraordinary achievement all round. Particular congratulations must go to Mrs Sadler for beating my marathon time (all those years’ ago) by two minutes! We often think of resilience as a trait needed for the bigger challenges but daily life often presents us with situations that require us to draw upon those reserves and it will remain a common theme for us all.

On the staffing front we welcome Ms Hayley Wild as a piano teacher who has joined our highly specialised team of peripatetic staff to cater for our ever growing demand for music tuition at Prince’s Mead. With over 75% of pupils learning at least one instrument, the Department goes from strength to strength. I wish all those pupils taking part in the Prep Schools Choir of the Year competition in London next week and I look forward to supporting them. Whilst we will be very sad to bid Mrs Claire Brighton farewell at the end of this half of term, I am delighted to announce that our Transport and Clubs Manager has been appointed Bursar at Hampshire Collegiate School. Claire has played an invaluable role for the last four years and we wish her well in her new role. I am delighted to announce that Mrs Roddy Wirgman has been appointment to succeed Claire. Mr Wirgman made a very positive impression on us during the interview process – having commanded the Bristol University Officer Training Corps armoured troop, he is already somewhat well-acquainted with fleet management, albeit of a different variety!

It has been a busy yet fruitful first week back at Prince’s Mead. I wish you all a very relaxing bank holiday weekend.