From the Second Master
To be a Pilgrim, Summer Term Episode 1
The Summer Term is such an exciting time for schools. Alistair Duncan, our Second Master, explains why.
As I said to both the staff (at INSET) and the boys (in Wednesday’s start of term assembly), I believe it to be the best of the three. Yes, the long days help; yes, the (hopefully) better weather helps too; that we play, in my opinion, the best sport this term is crucial (though I know others disagree on that last point!). There are big events to look forward to as well. For example: the PPA sponsored walk, Battle of the Bands, Athletics Finals, Summer concerts and a Prize Giving on the final day of the Term, plus the prospect of the summer holidays makes it even sweeter. I know that the whole community is excited about the PPA events especially, and PPA Chair Anna Kennedy will write with more details on these very soon.
But I believe it’s about more than just the weather and the events. It is a term that comes during the blooming of spring and just after Easter, and the concept of renewal is tangible. This term's challenges (such as internal exams, senior school exams, and school reports to strive towards) also offer the possibility for achievement, and the chance to grow in skills and character. In Wednesday’s assembly, I challenged the boys to find something that they want to learn to do, or learn to do better, because challenges give you an opportunity for success.
It is true for teachers too. The Autumn Term is alive with new routines and possibilities, the Spring Term brings New Year’s resolutions, but strangely, I have often found that it is the Summer Term INSET that feels the most productive. Perhaps it is because we are already into the rhythm of the school year, and, allied with that renewal in the air, lies the opportunity to really get your teeth into something. This year it was no different. You will be aware that the school is on a significant journey in ‘Digital Learning’. The current phase is to equip all teachers with Surface Pros, and to ensure every classroom in the school has an interactive TV; you may spot staff proudly walking round the school with a stylish black case tucked under their arm. Now any teacher can enter any room and immediately ‘cast to the screen’ (well that’s what the experts tell me it’s called), which gives us a great deal more flexibility in how we teach. Of course, learning to use new technology can lead to sweaty palms for some (mine were certainly not dry), but the day’s training was hugely productive and there is a real buzz amongst the staff.
Returning to the boys, I would especially like to wish our Year 8s good luck with their important exams; these have already been completed for one boy, our scholars and Winchester Entrance boys start in just a few days, and the CE boys are the week after half-term. Good luck to you all; I am sure that you will make us all proud.
I will finish with some words from our assembly on Wednesday: “the chance to stroll confidently into a new term, especially a Summer Term, is a thrill to be enjoyed, and an opportunity not to be missed.“
The Summer Term is the best of the three.