From the Headmaster’s Desk 8th November 2019

The second half of the Autumn Term may not always start as energetically as the first week in September, but the triumphant opening of our new Dining Room, Kitchen and Small Hall ensured that Lyonsdown was buzzing with excitement this week. These facilities join our new Library, Laboratory and refreshed classrooms and allow our Nursery and Reception children to enjoy hot lunches with the rest of the school, as well as creating a multi-purpose area that can be used for other activities such as Music and Drama.

Towards the end of this week, Mrs Windsor and I travelled north, to take part in the ISA Autumn Study Conference. Such events are always a great opportunity to keep abreast of new educational developments and share best practice. For those of you who follow @hammondteacher on Twitter, you will have seen the great breadth and depth of these sessions and speakers, but the personal highlight for me was meeting one of my heroes, British athlete Derek Redmond.

You may remember that, last year, I used the story of Redmond’s 1992 Barcelona Olympics 400 metre semi-final to teach the children about the value of perseverance. I am sure many of you have seen that race, either at the time or online (if you haven’t, please take a look and share it with your child). However, what I did not know was what his story was after that infamous race.

With seven operations in 18 months after his hamstring tear, Redmond was told his career was over by his surgeon. However, it was not the end of his athletics career that upset him, but being told he would never compete for his country again. Following his graduation in electrical engineering in the USA, Redmond returned to the UK and joined his local basketball team, Northampton Fire for the 94/95 season. He was subsequently scouted for the Birmingham Bullets, a professional team, for 95/96 season and then selected by England to play in a friendly, to prove his doubters wrong and represent his country once again. Since then, he has combined raising his family with competing semi-professionally in motocross and various martial arts. Barcelona was not the end of Redmond’s sporting career, but the beginning of something bigger. As he said when I spoke to him: “When one door closes, it is not just another door that opens, but a whole room. If you want something badly enough, you can achieve it. Don’t give up on yourself.” This shows how important the learning journey is to us all, and why effort trumps attainment every time.

The Conference also hosts the ISA Annual Art Competition, at which Lyonsdown has a strong track record. Mrs Cowie will update you further as soon as possible, but stay tuned to social media for updates.

Finally, a reminder to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with life at Lyonsdown.

All the best for a relaxing weekend.

Mr Hammond