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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Richards' Words Autumn 9

Inspiration can come from any source and grab you at the most unexpected of times. At Junior Boys we constantly endeavour to create exciting hooks in lessons to fire imaginations, stimulate inquisitive minds and allow creativity to flourish. Sometimes though, as the boys might recognise, it just is not there, the juices are not flowing and the page remains empty. Then the real struggle begins as academic resilience is developed and the teachers’ craft is tested. I was in that position this week. My page remained blank (at last some of you cry!) as I focused on the looming deadline rather than the prompts all around me.

My inspiration came from Mrs Webster, as we discussed the day, she recognised the signals and knew that I was wandering off task. So many of us rely upon our wonderful School Nurses as a sounding board, a wise counsel and indeed even for the odd bump and bruise. Their very presence gives us all a lift and the knowledge that everyone’s wellbeing is at the core of our offer is just so reassuring.

‘Anti-bullying’ was the simple spur needed to jolt me into action. Eureka!  I then felt a bit foolish as it was staring me in the face all along. This week, being Kindness Week, we have magnified our awareness. In Mrs Davies’ assembly on Wednesday we were taken on an inspiring literary journey that subtly and expertly guided us back to choosing ‘kind’ at every opportunity. I also adore her Mother, who although not present, was shown on the slides as well!  Pupils have had further reminders in class and were even encouraged to wear odd socks today to demonstrate that they agree that it is the key ingredient in a Claires Court human being.

Anti-bullying, Safeguarding, Well Being (physical and emotional) social skills, golden rules, good old fashioned manners, winning and losing, PSHE, best-self, pupil voice and residentials are all part of a wider overarching umbrella of Pastoral Care. Bullying is also such an emotive word. Often bandied about erroneously and all too swiftly on occasion. I am greatly reassured that we have robust systems in place and review them regularly. I am also pleased that we have a low threshold in this area.

My observations and judgements have been garnered from what I see and hear every day. I also set colleagues some prep of their own in September and asked them to consider what they thought made Junior Boys unique or what was the USP? I was not surprised by the overwhelming response - ‘how well we know the pupils’ and ‘how this helps us to support their classroom learning, their development and encouraging their interests’. It also allows us to guide with care and sensitivity when things go wrong. It would be naive to believe that every ship has a smooth passage and the waters do not become troublesome at some stage on their voyage. I also wish to reassure you that my topic today is not based on any concerns. It is just better not to be complacent.

Our most recent Compliance Inspection Report, in January 2018 concurred with that of the last full inspection in 2014 that, "The quality of relationships between staff and pupils, and amongst the pupils themselves, is excellent." They also said "Pupils appreciate the cultural and social diversity of the school and firm friendships are established between pupils of different ages." From my observations I see no reason to doubt this. Indeed our guests always comment on the intangible feeling of happy, kind hearted and good spirited boys after their tours. I am therefore delighted to announce that Mrs Stay will be leading a number of colleagues and parents who have accepted the opportunity to dig a little deeper and to consider our pastoral care from a number of angles to see if we can further enhance it to the benefit of us all. I look forward to seeing their work and being able to report on and publish their recommendations towards the end of the summer term.

Why odd socks today? Well it is a darn great hook, it is part of a national anti-bullying awareness campaign. Mr Gillespie has them on most days anyway and I found the following psychology article written by Jenny Marchal the most coincidental of links  "People Who Wear Crazy Socks Are More Brilliant, Creative and Successful".

5V’s assembly this morning had much creativity, it was hugely successful and the only ‘crazy’ part was in the role play of an English lesson.  Hopefully the teacher was not inspired by us! They certainly made us all think and demonstrated a wide range of skills and curricular talents. Well done Mrs Vine and her boys.

Further reassurance, if any was needed, regarding happiness, excitement and worry (carefree) boys arrived when a boisterous babbling bunch of Year 2 boys burst through my door during break. Once I had got them to take a breath they explained that their Lego constructions had all been inspired by December 25 - Good luck with that one as it is only mid November!

Reception actually did believe Christmas had come early on Thursday when Mr and Mrs Howard came to talk to the boys about Mattel Inc. The boys were absolutely thrilled and I was equally mortified that a meeting overran and I could not relive my childhood once more. Most generously, many toys were left as a gift and we are most grateful. This kind heartedness thought has inspired the boys in turn to start thinking about others less fortunate than themselves.

Similarly uplifting examples of our boys’ qualities were witnessed at the chess, karate and rugby tour events last weekend. Co-operation, warmly welcoming others into their team, great behaviour all round, and a competitively appropriate sportsmanship were all on display. However, the stand out moment for me this week was the thank you gift received by Samuel in Year 6 from the charity Rosie's Rainbow for his generous donation of his birthday money. Now that is truly inspiring.

Have a lovely weekend.

Dean Richards

 

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