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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Richards' Words Autumn 3

Role modelling and providing opportunities for the boys to experience real life challenges are what I consider two of my most important tasks as Headmaster. Presently I also have a wonderful gift afforded to me so that I can hover and observe our strengths and consider with colleagues how to further enhance our offer.

I will try to tackle some of these strands in a ‘less is more’ approach. I did rather get carried away last week. Well done to those who made it to the end of my words! This approach to education and therefore covering more in depth rather than just filling up a book for the sake of it, is something I am keen to explore. I do though look forward with a chuckle to the first boy who tries to use this line in class to evade his responsibilities to his studies!

Firstly with regards to role modelling. We ask the boys to be honest and acknowledge their mistakes and say sorry. So here goes. I was mortified to learn that I had made a huge gaffe in my words last week. So to the newly christened Mr ‘Barbour’ I am sorry. However, it also allows me to celebrate the Fundraising BBQ that Mr Barber energetically organised and to all my colleagues from both Junior Boys and Junior Girls who helped before, during and afterwards. The event was a huge success with many families attending. The Sports Tours and Outward Bound experiences will benefit tremendously from the financial boost.

Challenges come in many shapes and formats. One of them for me is obviously getting to know everyone’s name and how to spell them. I was lucky enough to break free from my memory tests and the shackles of the desk to referee two matches this week. Both had hugely differing results but showcased the essential values and ethos of a Claires Court boy. The U9As demonstrated plenty of technical skills and game understanding. The challenge for me was to keep up with them. The U11Cs on the other hand realised that if you try hard, work together and remain committed you can make progress. What I really enjoyed though was the camaraderie in the Mezzanine afterwards with both victors and vanquished chatting happily over hot dogs.

Further highlights for me this week were Mr Leuzinger’s assembly on Wednesday. He challenged us to consider, ‘What do pets give to us?’ The boys’ answers were increasingly articulate in all year groups; ‘Love, happiness, responsibility and friendship’ were some of their ideas. We were then all amazed when Odin bounded in with a very frisky tail. Pleasingly he behaved impeccably, performed some tricks and was instantly the most popular mammal onsite. More popular than even Mr Grose.  One of Mr Grose’s passions is sport and the new House staff and House boys were awarded their coloured pins in assembly. I am sure some very friendly competitive events in both sporting, academic and creative areas will soon commence.

I was also invited to attend the Senior Divisions’ Prize Giving. It was wonderful to see the pride in all pupils in recognising their and others’ achievements. It certainly made a connection with our little Reception chaps just starting out on their own journey and that in 2032/3 we could all be raising a glass to their accomplishments. Now that is quite some thought. Dame Christine Ryan’s speech resonated with me for many reasons and not just because of her resilience. I shall shamelessly plagiarise as she spoke so eloquently and summed up a Claires Court education for me.

‘I know many of you have great talents in many areas and you have achieved so much. As well as these memorable achievements though, I hope that you take forward with you … the qualities of character, the friendship, and the enthusiasm that have been nurtured … so that you can do your bit to support others, dealing kindly with those you meet and continuing to build your own confidence, integrity and happiness.’

On that perfect note I look forward to welcoming you to our Harvest Festival, next Wednesday, 26 September, at 11 o’clock in the Sports Hall.  This will be led by the boys thinking about our responsibility towards others. We are supporting two charities Maidenhead Foodshare and the Windsor Homeless project. Further details can be found in the bulletin. Thank you to all those double denim wearers today for supporting Jeans for Genes.

Have a lovely weekend and I look forward to hearing about Year 5’s residential adventure on Monday and announcing the new House Captains.

I suspect I failed with the less is more approach - must do better!

Have a great weekend!

Dean Richards

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