From the Headmaster's Desk

“What do you read, my lord?”

“Words, words, words.”

When Polonius is mocked by Hamlet in Shakespeare’s eponymous play, Hamlet suggests that words are worthless, no more than one’s thoughts and nothing that will lead to action. If there were one piece of evidence to prove that the Prince is mad, pretending to be mad, or becomes mad by pretending to be mad (it’s a complex play)… this is it. Words are so much more than mere noise.

Conversation, and the art of it, is one of the main reasons that Lyonsdown pupils all lunch together, and why eating the same food oils the wheels of conversation. For example, the children who sit next to me are usually persuaded to eat a new food stuff; perhaps beetroot – usually met with initial reservation until the taste is appreciated, before a topic is chosen for conversation. This week, books were our focus and I was reminded that it is hard to keep up with the number of new children’s titles that are published: The Wizards of Once is an emerging favourite for older girls. You may know that, in terms of sales, the popularity of children’s fiction is now greater than adult fiction. This is partially fuelled by the popularity of series such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games for kids of all ages, but a great number of Lyonsdown boys and girls almost literally eat books – I am confident that there is a very local spike in the sales of Murder Most Unladylike in EN5.

Reading for pleasure is a wonderful past time: Lyonsdown children know they should be reading every day. But reading is also a simple way to expand one’s vocabulary and improve one’s spelling, punctuation and comprehension. In a single thirty-second conversation over lunch, I observed Year 4 discussing the meaning of and then contextualising “internal” in relation to body heat… all because of a book, because of a conversation.

Words, in the form of music and song, also played a huge role in this week’s musical extravaganza, the Upper School Spring Music Concert. A mixture of modern and contemporary, classical and popular, the event was a tremendous success – bravo to the pupils involved, their teachers, and especially Mrs Roberts. Always a highlight of the Spring Term, the girls really outdid themselves. A full report will be in next week’s addition.

All the best for the weekend. I hope you can relax with a book at some point.

C. Hammond