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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Richards' Words Autumn 1

Wow, what a fantastic and incredibly busy start we have all had at Junior Boys. I am pleased to report that the boys have tackled all tasks with plenty of energy in both the classroom and out on the field. The lead up to the start of the new school year has allowed me to empathise particularly with the new joiners, who are all in unfamiliar surroundings and trying to develop new relationships with peers and adults alike. My recent emotions have certainly fluctuated, ranging from awe and excitement to a gnawing nervous anxiety. I have however been overwhelmed by the friendly welcome I have received from all the boys, parents and my new colleagues. Thank you. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the next little while. In an effort to do so we are hosting two early coffee mornings on Monday and Tuesday next week and a less formal tour fundraising social after school on Friday.

The holidays in the Richards household saw us tackle an adventurous week in the surf of sunny St Davids, Wales and a quieter fortnight in Lanzarote. Congratulations to all of you who sent evidence of their own extreme reading opportunities in response to my postcard. We also experienced my son nervously open his GCSE results and then immerse himself into the rite of passage that Reading Festival has become. Fortunately, he survived the latter and was pleased with the former.  I do hope that you all managed to enjoy some quality time with family and friends.

In our recent INSET days, colleagues considered ideas that will allow us to develop our delivery in all areas of our offer. We are determined to continue to help the boys make progress by requiring them to think, allowing them time to do so and by being set thought provoking material and questions. I have told the boys that I will be delighted if they go home and say, ‘School was hard today’, because that means that they are learning. I also explored with them the idea of challenging themselves and being positive in everything that they do.  We also reflected upon what makes Junior Boys such a wonderful place to be and my colleagues all highlighted the pastoral approach and consideration given to every individual. The qualities of kindness, respect and relying upon each other were abundantly clear to me on my previous visits and I am extremely keen to keep and reinforce these values. I also want the sound of excited investigation and exploration, alongside chatter and laughter to resonate throughout the site.

In our assemblies this half term senior colleagues will be exploring the theme of ‘responsibility’ with the boys. After half term we will be extending the programme further and form classes will be hosting Friday assemblies and inviting their parents to attend to see their presentations and developing public speaking skills. Please do encourage these themes by engaging with your children and in partnership we can expand their vocabulary, reasoning and understanding.

As mentioned earlier, colleagues have been encouraged to look back into the past and think about the future. The Roman God Janus would have been impressed with our efforts! Their political system was different to ours but we will soon be guiding the boys through a number of democratic processes that our society is based upon to elect class representatives and House officials. I look forward to announcing the imminent election results and providing opportunities for all to contribute responsibly.

However, it is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you of a staffing change that will occur at the end of the Autumn Term. Many congratulations go to Mr Daniel Gillespie, Assistant Head and SENco, who will be taking up the role of Headteacher Designate at Beech Lodge School in January 2019. Mr Gillespie has worked at both Senior Boys and Junior Boys as well as being a former pupil, and his energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed from the organisation. I have known Mr Gillespie for only a short while but I have witnessed his dedication to the boys, loyalty to the school and have appreciated his wise counsel at first hand. I am sure you will join with me in wishing Mr Gillespie every success as he moves to Beech Lodge. I look forward to continuing to develop our professional and personal relationship in the coming years.

Please be rest assured that we have already begun the process to find the best possible replacement for Mr Gillespie and I will share this news with you as soon as practically possible.

I must also put on record my thanks to Mr Spanswick for being so supportive and encouraging of me but most importantly for establishing such a vibrant atmosphere. Big shoes to fill indeed but I am prepared to rise to the challenge.

Have a great weekend.

Dean Richards

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