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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Richards' Words Autumn 6

CCJB pupils continuously bring me moments of joy and wonder. Henry in Year 2 bounded up to me on Monday at break time and bursting with pride blurted out, ‘Team - Together Everyone Achieves More.’ He then proceeded with a beaming smile to give me his neatly written version of this excellent precept. I was silent for a moment as I reflected on this clever spelling mnemonic. Then the penny dropped. It all related to Mr Gillespie’s stunning assembly based on Finding Nemo.

The hall was darkened, the boys went silent, the cine reel whirred and the screen flickered to life with a magical movie moment. Spellbound they watched the clip that showed all the fish caught up in the trawler’s net and the suspense was palpable - were they going to become someone's dinner or escape? I have mused about excellent questioning previously and Mr Gillespie artfully got the boys in all years to think, consider and make connections. The boys actually smashed it, coming up with, ‘teamwork’ immediately. We then proceeded to consider what teams they were in and the usual expected answers popped out but we delved a bit deeper and developed our range of ideas. What made a good team? ‘Not giving up’, ‘working together’, ‘communication’ and ‘being responsible’ were offered. 

The boys mentioned their rugby teams and the values of sportsmanship and the resilience that makes them so successful. It is quite right that this should be high in their minds. The dynamic Games department does an amazing job of providing inclusive opportunity and a fixture list that allows all participants to develop and enjoy themselves. However, I will continue to promote and advocate the fantastic work of colleagues in our equally important curricular pillars of; art, chess, drama, music and public speaking. Just because they are not perhaps as visibly high profile every day, does not mean we should lessen the impact that they have on us all. Our boys are so fortunate that our creative team of Mr Goddard, Mr Hogg, Mr Rowan Mrs Stevenson and Mrs Icke enthuse their charges to produce such imaginative work of a high quality. Well done again especially to the boys’ art group that worked so collaboratively to be rewarded at the recent ISA Competition.

Competition has a healthy spirit here. Our vertical House system sees teams of boys collect rewards for effort, achievement, progress, helpfulness, manners and any other positive imaginable.  Dorney presently leads the way with discs awarded. This week has seen us commence this year’s events with our inaugural House Mathematics. Each boy has represented his House within an academic setting to create a team mean score and our nerve racking final under the spotlight was held in the Hall. Well done to all who faced this particular examination of their skills under pressure. For the record the Golden Calculator Trophy and accompanying coloured disc were won by Cliveden.

Our House events are expanding this year to give the boys chances to shine in other areas, including the academics, as well as in the traditional events. Mrs Henry leads our academic team and they are always to be heard discussing what makes the boys tick, trying to be innovative and to a certain degree provocative. It has been really pleasing to hear Year 6 boys in some mock interview express a preference to have lessons that make them think and are actually hard.

Our pastoral team of Form teachers held the first of our Parents’ Meetings this week and it was a good opportunity for the school to work in partnership with home. The boys had been very reflective in offering their opinions to us prior to these consultations. We are also amazingly blessed to have such an expert and kind medical team supporting us all. Boys, parents and all stakeholders all make much use of Mrs Webster’s and Mrs Duff’s friendly welcome. Their A&E backgrounds allow us all to breathe easier.  Mrs Webster also presented an amazing assembly to us on Wednesday. She raised the potentially dangerous topic of personal hygiene, to a room full of boys, and asked who was responsible for it? I was delighted that William in Year 6 could demonstrate his hand washing prowess rather better than Mr Griffiths! There were a great deal of ooooo’s and ahhh’s from the presentation but the message made us all think and hopefully the entire Junior Boys team can help reduce the spread of bugs and illness as the winter months hurtle toward us.

The following team also often work as elegantly as a swan on the surface but are flat out in reality. The unsung heroes behind us are our administrative and support teams. Mrs Henley, Mrs Cox, Mr Bushell, Mr Turner and Mrs White et al who all work tirelessly with great dignity and patience creating the best environment for us all to shine. Thank yous are often not said enough but on behalf of us all you are dependable, diligent and discreet and so very important to our success.

One other thank you that I must acknowledge. Mrs Nott has been a friendly source of wisdom and I heavily rely upon her. I wish her, all the accompanying colleagues and the Year 6 team that are off to PGL next week, a successful, happy, and productive experience.

To wrap up I must return to Henry. Thank you for your inspiration this week. Your enthusiasm made me consider all the teams and then how and why good teams become successful? I concluded that we all have to play a part at CCJB and must all remember that our professional focus is to support, guide and sensitively challenge your sons to make progress whilst making sure they are enjoying being into everything and are ultimately safe in every area of our exciting school day.

Have a great weekend.

Dean Richards

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