When I was a boy, I loved school as much as I do now, which I am sure you will agree is necessary for a Headmaster. However, I have never liked spending all day indoors. It is vital that we give our children opportunities to play outside and both structured sessions and break time play important roles in ensuring pupils stay healthy, develop key social skills and remain focused in lessons.
The importance of playtime was discussed on BBC Breakfast last week and, although it was an oversight to not include any teachers on the panel, I am sure the experts who were on the sofa would agree with our approach at Lyonsdown. Come rain or shine, our pupils don a raincoat or sun hat and out they go. It is wonderful to see so many children taking advantage of our new playground equipment. Football seems to be the hot activity: I saw a super 1-1 draw in an Upper School girls’ match on Wednesday, all played in front of a background of netball, tag and any number of imaginative adventure games (apparently there is gold to be found in our playground).
Throughout the year, we also run a number of special sports and outdoor activities. This week saw Nursery take part in their first Sports “Day,” the first of three such events that Miss Doyle leads, whilst Year 6 experienced the glorious weather of the Isle of Wight on their residential trip. As I said in my assembly, when the Senior Girls are away, it is an opportunity to look into the future and “step up” as one girl told me, to think about next year and show everyone that you are ready. For Year 5 in particular, it is a chance to experience the significant responsibility they will enjoy come September.
On Friday, we welcomed our new Nursery and Reception children to Lyonsdown for the first time, which is always exciting for new joiners, their parents and the School. Our first Nursery class of all-girls’ pupils will leave Lyonsdown in 2027, which seems far away. However, if one considers that after half-term we will be hosting an alumni event for the Year 6 girls who left in 2014 and have just sat their GCSE exams, it is clear that time really does fly in a School. All the more reason for teachers to help pupils enjoy every school day, in lessons or at play.
This week, I also announced our staffing changes for September 2019. Although it is always sad to say goodbye to long-standing members of staff, it is also wonderful to welcome new teachers to the Lyonsdown family, with their expertise and new ideas. The beginning of a new academic year also provides an excellent opportunity for staff to move between year groups. This is best practice in many schools, and will enable us to further develop and enhance our curriculum and the excellent education we offer. On Thursday 27th June, I will be hosting a coffee afternoon from 3:30pm in the library for parents who would like to meet both new and existing members of staff. Further details of this event will be sent to you in due course, but if you have not received the staffing email, please let the Office know.
The final half term of the year looks set to be action packed – do check the School calendar for events, but also keep an eye on our Facebook page. You can visit it and follow us here. Our peerless speaker for our End of Year Celebration will be announced shortly after half term.
All the best for the bank holiday weekend and half term.