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From the Headmaster

It is a real pleasure to write my first piece for The Pilgrims’ Way and if I have yet to get a chance to meet you in person, I do hope that I can do soon.

The boys have come back on tremendously good form. I have been heartened by their openness and honesty: ‘How was your first day?’ has usually been met with an outpouring of excitement and positive adjectives; but there have also been the hesitations and revelation of start-of-term nerves from some too. Both are equally valid, of course, and what I and parents can be assured of is that, however the feelings lie, staff have been thoroughly tuned in and supporting alongside as may have been required. I have seen it happening around every corner.

Ahead of the boys’ return there was inevitably much preparation behind the scenes for the staff team. During our INSET, we held a workshop session to which every member of teaching, admin and operational staff was invited, spending an excellent couple of hours coming together in reflection and consideration of the School’s qualities, community, vision and values. Meanwhile, Miss Higham and Mr Lloyd, our new Head of Digital Learning, have returned from a three-day conference with thought leaders on A.I. in education, and we will be taking both the opportunity and the care to consider how this critical area is responded to.

My first assembly of term was a very special moment for me personally, and it was enormous fun to share with the Prep boys my first and last ever set of assessments from when I was a boy at Pilgrims’, and my first ever letter home, written on my second Sunday at the School. The boys also now know my own expectations of them as a supportive, caring, ambitious and opportunity-taking community. Despite it being the first moments of term, the rousing singing of the School hymn was truly moving. The ancient hammer-beam roof of The Pilgrims’ Hall fortunately just about stayed on its corbels.

In a wonderful contrast, I had the chance this morning to drop in on our Year 1 class and role play for them a rather mystified and distraught Headmaster in need of their help and that of ‘Supertato’ in solving some mysteries! What a joy.

Can I extend a very warm invitation to all parents to take the chance to go and experience a service with our wonderful Cs or Qs: they are succour for the soul in the midst of our busy lives! And you can enjoy inspirational music making in the process. The Cs sing Evensong on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1730 i the Cathedral; the Qs sing Evensong on a Tuesday and Eucharist on a Thursday, also at 1730 in the College Chapel.

May I wish you an outdoor weekend, with a slice of dipping your feet in the river, and I look forward to seeing those of you coming to the internal Football Festival tomorrow.

Tim Butcher

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