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Catch the Momentum

As I left the house this morning, for the first time this academic year I reached for my winter coat.

This is something I try to hold off for as long as I can (like turning on the heating - a hot topic in the Duncan household this week - and no, it is not on yet!); it is only a short walk from my house near the Black Boy pub to school and I rarely need a coat during the day.

So reaching for my coat is, for me, a big turning point. There is no doubt now that a change of seasons is in the air, but it signifies much more than that. 

Firstly, the change in weather affects us all. I know that some find this progression into winter difficult and suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but I welcome the onset of crisp mornings and dark nights. I love the winter. Being outside, battling the elements, returning at the end of the day to a cosy house, changing into some comfortable warm gear and resting up on the sofa is my personal idea of heaven. And of course, there is the prospect of the Christmas season to look forward to: meeting up with families and friends and the promise of mulled wine. (The PPA drinks party is on 25 November - is that too early for mulled wine? Not in my book!)

Secondly, this is a pretty important time of year for teachers and boys. I have spoken previously about how in schools everyone lives this strange life where the year very definitely starts in September. By the end of September, the turning of the weather signals the move into the ‘meat’ of the longest and most important term. The newness has worn off, but we are not yet into the build-up associated with Christmas. I was comparing notes with some other teachers recently, and we agreed that the start of the academic year sometimes feels like trying to get a big boulder rolling – it takes huge effort to start it moving, but once it is going it requires far less effort to sustain its momentum. This term, once the rhythm settles in you feel like you can really make some serious progress.

I hope all of our new Reception boys are finding their feet now, and that any boy new to the school is beginning to feel a bit more comfortable. And for all the boys, I hope each is now finding his rhythm and enjoying the feeling of school life at full bore. For all of us, having got the boulder rolling, now is the time to push on. It is also important to remind ourselves of the good intentions we had at the start of the academic year (I confess I am beginning to struggle to ignore the biscuits in the staff room at break!) and to make the most of the opportunities on offer. In fact, renewing or even revising our goals is an excellent thing to do at this time of term – perhaps you had wanted to play in the 1st team, but by now have realised that it will be the 2nds for you; well, now is the time to dedicate yourself fully and be the best team player that you can be. Or perhaps your goal was to improve your handwriting (I certainly need that) or widen your friendship circle or try a new activity; now that we are getting stuck into the term, how is that going? 

This term is exciting and offers many opportunities. Don't ease up; catch the momentum and try to get the very most from each day.

Alistair Duncan
Interim Head

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