I hope you feel that your children have hit the ground running academically this week. ‘Wintering well’ is critical in an athletic training program as it is in education. The next six weeks are developmental on the knowledge built in the first half of term and set up habits, and knowledge foundations for the year. Academic rigour is important to me, supported by teaching each child as an individual, recognising their needs.
I have loved being back in the classroom, teaching about Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust to Year 8 and the industrial revolution to Year 7, both have important social and cultural discussion points. It was brilliant to hear a Year 7 pupil this week recounting the work of John Snow on Cholera, and the implications for Public Health.
Today has been a little different as it always is at Holmwood. Out of my windows and from my garden gate I have observed a great deal of fun being had, as well as heard about some excellent meetings with the form teachers/tutors. Reception very kindly appeared at my gate to deliver, socially distanced, some birthday cake.
I received a fascinating email today from a pupil who was at Holmwood in the 1950s. He gave a wonderful overview of his learning, filled with amusing anecdotes. The ironies of his Geography learning were striking given COP 26 and Fishing crises. ‘We drew endless maps, learnt the names of the counties and the county towns, other countries and their capitals, and the fact that Great Britain was an island made of coal surrounded by a sea full of fish.’ He did reference today’s events: ‘Firework Day was very special – we played games in the gym all the afternoon (competitively – in pairs – an older boy and a younger boy – and if you won you moved on to the next game but if you lost you had to stay on the game until you won. I came 3rd in my first year with a boy called Bowtell but never won anything again. Then there was tea with parents and a giant firework party with a huge bonfire.’
Tradition, community and culture matter. There is definitely a time and place for values to move forward, and for us to reflect on the school culture, not least to make it as inclusive as possible, and supportive of all. Today’s events are about the school as a community, about the school being one body, and being part of 100 years of history. I hope the pupils have enjoyed the events. Memories and relationships developed in a structured way help to make our school community what it is. What do I remember of great traditions from prep school? Building fires and roasting sausages (slightly raw) for bonfire night, carols and charades around the piano at Christmas, time in the cricket nets… The Holmwood School birthday trumps anything I had in those years – but I still recall them fondly as did the gentleman who wrote to me.
Please click here to view a short photo review of the last half term. We aim to publish these each half term going forwards.
Have a very good weekend.