Head’s Blog 22.01.21

25th January 21

Dear Parents,

I am pleased to hear from staff that the remote learning continues to go well.  We have once again settled into a routine and the boys are responding well.  Staff are giving a large number of gold notes with lots of praise for the boys’ efforts   I am very pleased that they are continuing to approach it so proactively and I am very grateful to the staff for working so hard to engage them.  My advice, perhaps even I would go so far as my plea, this weekend is that everyone, staff and pupils, get away from the screen.  I know it is cold but the weather has brightened today and I hope you will all take the opportunity to get out of your work rooms tomorrow before the rain and sleet return.

That said, I know that a lot of boys have been getting out to take part in the Thames Challenge and we had our winner with two days to spare.  Congratulations to Walbrook who completed the 346km. Well done to all who took part – I hope you will get involved in the next challenge and are also making use of the videos that the PE and Games Department are posting online.  This afternoon the boys will be in their Tribs for their online assembly, a perfect opportunity to celebrate this success, and also for the boys from different year groups to come together, something that has been very hard in our bubbled existence of late.

This week has been about choices: the Year 9 are making their choices for their GCSES in the coming weeks and Year 12 are starting to whittle down their options for higher education over the course of this year. For both year groups, it is an exciting point in their education: for those in Year 9 it is the first time they will make choices which allow them to define how their education will look for the next few years; for the Sixth Form they are making a decision on an area of specialisation (hopefully it is the thing that really fires them), a style of university to go to and also where they are going to be living for at least three years of their life.  In both cases there will be difficult decisions to be made and there will need to be self-reflection about the subjects or universities that are right for them. The School is always here to make sure your sons, and you, feel confident about the decisions they are making.

With best wishes, Seth

Head’s Blog 15.01.21

18th January 21

Dear Parents,

I have been pleased to hear from staff that the boys are settled into the routine of online learning and that they are working well in all year groups. It is great to hear from pupils about their enthusiasm for their learning and how much they are appreciating the teachers’ dedication to keeping their engagement in lessons. Mr Astbury-Palmer’s random name generator keeps all of his mathematicians poised to contribute to his online lessons. Ms Page is using a great online whiteboard app which allows her pupils to write or draw their answers to show their contribution and then show all their answers to each other simultaneously on the screen.

The assemblies this term have moved away from YouTube to Teams.  I know that some of you were tuning in each week but using Teams makes it easier to include other members of the community in the assembly.  Last week Alex, a Senior Prefect, shared the shout outs and there was also an announcement by Harrison, the Prefect that leads Walbrook, announcing the inter-Trib ‘Lockdown Cookbook’ competition.  Recipes should be submitted with a photograph.  To qualify the dish must be a one pot dish, take no more than sixty minutes to prepare and cook and the recipe should be accompanied by an explanation as to why that dish, or the ingredients, are significant to you.  The fourteen best will be included in a special ‘Lockdown Cookbook’ edition of the Barometer.

I am also pleased to let you know that two of our pianists, Edward and Alexei, have both made it to the finals of the Independent Schools Association’s Young Musician of the Year.  They now have a couple of weeks to submit a second video of them performing a piece of their choosing.  They have done very well to make it to the final 8 in their age groups and I wish them luck.  Thank you also to Mr Repa who has supported all the boys who entered this year.

Finally, Mr Montgomery has been into School this week and recorded three workouts for the boys.  Mr Sullivan will be in next week to lead a live session as well as recording some more routines.  I hope the boys will enjoy doing them.

With best wishes, Seth

Head’s Blog 08.01.21

11th January 21

Dear Parents,

To be starting a term in lockdown again brings with it mixed feelings.  I, and all the staff, were keen to be back in School, supporting the boys and offering as close to a pre-pandemic education as we were able and yet I recognise the need to bring the virus back under control and therefore the need for us to stay at home as much as possible.  In the first lockdown, the virus was something that did not have a large impact on the life of my extended family or our friends but the rise of the recent variants has seriously affected people we know and, I know from some of you, that you have also seen the impact over the last few weeks.  I hope, therefore, that the remote learning, the pastoral support and the Trib and co-curricular activities will give your sons a routine, focus and sense of normality for the duration of this lockdown and let us hope that we can return after half term.

We received a very nice letter from the West London Mission.  They are hugely grateful for the 130 or so boxes that we delivered to them at the end of term.  They distributed the boxes at three of their centres that support those with alcoholism, ex-offenders and former servicemen and women, all of whom have suffered from or are at risk of homelessness.  The gifts were clearly a pick-me-up for the recipients at a very difficult time and there were some lovely messages of thanks.  I am so pleased that we are able to continue our partnership with this very worthy charity.  It is at this time of year that charities such as WLM are under the most pressure, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic.  I greatly enjoyed visiting the charity towards the end of last term for the formal presentation of the money we donated some time ago.  They were looking forward to a return to normality and were keen to involve some of the older boys with their efforts.  That may now be some way off but I hope boys will take the opportunity to help when it comes along.

The other good news that I have been following are the university offers that the boys in Year 13 have been receiving.  They have experienced so much disruption to their time in the Sixth Form that I am delighted they are doing so well in their applications.  We have our first applicants for medicine this year and two of them have already been invited to interviews, as well as our first veterinary science applicant who awaits the result of his interview.  The offers that have come in so far include some of the best universities – Durham, KCL, UCL, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Manchester among others – and for a range of courses: Business, Biological Science, Computer Science, History, Geography, International Relations, Mathematics and Psychology.  There will I hope be news on our US applicants shortly and I will share it with you.  I am pleased that, even though they may not have A Level exams, they have still have a target to work towards.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend after a week of such change.  We are continuing to monitor all that is going on and will keep you up to date as the situation evolves.

With best wishes, Seth


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