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Starting the Lent Term positively

As we reach the end of the first week of the Lent term it has been wonderful to see the boys again.  All seem to be getting back into the swing of things after the shock of the first few days (this is true for teachers as well as the boys!).

A few people have said to me that already Christmas seems an age ago, and I concur.  Life moves on, and the different phases of the year come at you quickly; perhaps this feels especially the case in a school.

I wrote in my start of term letter that the Lent Term is sometimes maligned, especially when compared to the excitement of the Christmas Term, or the fun of the Summer Term and its accompanying good weather (well, sometimes!).  However, I described it as the ‘engine room of the school year’, and I thought I would expand a bit on that here, and perhaps attempt to rehabilitate the Lent Term.

From a learning point of view, the Lent Term is important and is often where the hard yards are done.  Teachers know their boys and their classes well now; they understand which buttons to press, and how to best motivate them. Boys are similarly more comfortable with their teachers and their classmates; new arrivals have settled in, and routines are now well established.  These things give us an opportunity to really make headway.  The older year groups will have exams, and these not only reveal what they know, but also offer opportunities for growth and learning from mistakes.  Our Year 8s will have important mocks (some will even have their final exams), and there are various academic, music, art, sport and all-rounder scholarship assessments this term. So for all these top year boys, this is a very significant term indeed. 

There is much to look forward to outside the classroom too.  We have four new GAP students for the boys to get to know. There are lots of events to look forward to as well: rugby, school trips, Pilgrims’ Got Talent, World Book Day, and the excitement of two drama productions (Year 3 and 5 will present a musical version of Macbeth and the Seniors have already started rehearsals for Oliver!).  For parents, there is much to look forward to as well, including tomorrow's Senior Schools Fair, next week's Lunar New Year Lunch, Wellbeing Live event and chance to meet the next Head, and the PPA Quiz on Friday 24 February, among other things.  It is another action-packed term.

Of course, the new year traditionally sparks new resolutions. I certainly am trying to eat and drink a little less after Christmas excesses!  New Year’s resolutions are, arguably, an attempt to motivate ourselves at a potentially challenging time of the year; Christmas is behind us, and the dark nights and wet, cold weather make maintaining momentum harder for some.  However, the simple act of committing yourself each day to do better is important, and in itself, that brings its own rewards, regardless of whether the final goal is achieved (I doubt I am getting back into that suit I wore in my 20s).   The Dean wrote to Cathedral members last week about how “small acts of faith and hope each day change us because they let the light in”.  I would also say that small acts of positivity every day help let the enjoyment in, and in the Lent term, this is even more important.  Just trying to look at things more positively, will help things be more positive.  Where some find the short days and early sunset a challenge, I find being able to curl up on the sofa with a warm drink at the end of the day is a positive benefit of the season. Making the most of things can be a choice.

So, let’s enter the Lent Term positively, do those hard yards, and try to make the very most of it, but also try not to forget to enjoy it too. 

Alistair Duncan
Interim Head

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