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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Richards' Words Autumn 2

The Head’s words allow me to reach out to a wide range of interested parties about the school week, reflect upon achievements, recognise endeavours or even discuss educationally ‘hot topics’.

This week in assembly we have continued to develop our theme of responsibility and it has been inspiring to hear the vocabulary being used by many boys across the age ranges and in different circumstances. One particular instance was in an additional story time session. Three intrepid Year 6 boys rose to the challenge and read stories, with me, to a demanding audience of Year 1 and 2 pupils. The younger boys enjoyed the range of voices and were fully engaged in exploring the language and reasoning opportunities that the text presented.

In the games department, colleagues have asked pupils to focus on playing for the team and supporting each other whilst rehearsing their skills in a determined fashion. A few rain dances and chants have also occurred behind the PE Office. Hopefully, the ground will soften soon!

On Wednesday, Mrs Stay pitched a powerful thought-provoking presentation to introduce the 2018/19 Pupils’ Voice. Boys have been given the chance to stand for election in Years 3 to 6. Younger years have been asked to tell their class teachers that they are interested in the role. Once elected, the boys will be expected to represent their peers with consideration and dignity. They will certainly experience responsibility in their position. Similarly, the boys who were unsuccessful in the final count should be pleased with their individual efforts. They still have a key role to play, encouraging and bringing their ideas to the table. It is important that we allow our boys to experience real life democracy in action, in a safe environment that develops their understanding of our community and the positive role that they can play in it in the future. We also wondered if our local Member of Parliament started her political career whilst in school? Now I imagine she really does know what responsibility feels like.

Winning an election at school often depends upon effective communication but fortunately is not sullied by social media or other platforms. Our assemblies also allow us all to consider and practice the necessary skills required to communicate with each other in a kind and effective manner. Listening carefully, not shouting and making eye contact were very popular suggestions. Interestingly, not using mobiles phones at the same time were also suggested. The last idea made me reflect that the younger boys want complete adult attention whilst my sixteen year old would rather be the one communicating to his parents, whilst engrossed in his screen! Food for thought perhaps for us all.

I was fortunate enough this week to experience a number of lovely moments of kind unspoken communication from the boys. I found a spiderman toy on my desk on Monday and a note wishing me good luck in my first week. A number of boys in the lower years have ambushed me with an unexpected hug, making me feel that I have been readily accepted. Even the cool chaps in Year 6 have taken time out to converse. I was also generously invited to celebrate the Jewish New Year festival of Rosh Hashanah with Year 2. The honey, bread and apple provided by Daniel went down a treat.  Whilst Jude’s personal and beautifully written note has pride of place on my noticeboard.

The link of communication leads me seamlessly to remind us of the following pathways. Please may I ask that you contact your son’s Form Teacher in the first instance with general information, achievements and successes outside of school to present in assembly or questions. They work very diligently and proactively. Please use the following email address or telephone number 01628 327400 to contact colleagues to arrange a meeting. Other pastoral or academic observations should be directed to Mrs Stay, Assistant Head Pastoral  and Mrs Henry, Assistant Head Academic respectively through the same address. Mr Leuzinger, Mrs Nott and I are also readily available to help encourage every boy’s potential.  Often, a quick polite word at the gate, at a match, on the playground at drop off and collection will alert us to a wide range of factors that can help us provide the best support possible. Similarly, from experience with my daughter’s cohort of friends, their WhatsApp group messages often excite and inflame situations. The age of fake news and misunderstanding probably deflates all concerned, and is often misinformed. If you have a question please do just make a call or drop us a line. Despite the proliferation of misinformation in the wider world I can be certain of the integrity of our Pupil Voice elections and pupils’ passion and commitment to working, playing and growing up in a friendly environment. I also know it is all our responsibilities to model these skills for them.

I look forward to seeing many of you all this evening at the Sports Department Fundraiser. The Claires Court team have certainly pulled together under Mr Barbour’s enthusiastic direction. The BBQ chefs are taking their responsibilities very seriously indeed!

Dean Richards

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