Let the Organ Thunder!

Some of our fantastic pupils preparing to welcome the many visitors who spent Saturday morning with us

This has been yet another thrilling week at Rossall. Open Day was a tremendous success and I am delighted to report that we had a record number of visitors this year. The clouds parted and the Square was bathed in glorious early autumnal sunshine. The palpable sense of excitement which pervaded all areas of the School is indicative of the current ambition and dynamism within the School. Many of our visitors commented on just how impressed they were by the attentiveness and confidence of their guides. I was particularly pleased to hear the reflections of Evita Lopez (Year 13), Henry Singleton (Year 5) and Gordon Ballantyne (Year 6) who all spoke with eloquence, clarity and confidence. The Chapel was packed and few were left in any doubt as to why our outstanding pupils enjoy Rossall so much.

On Monday, our CCF Contingent was visited by Wing Commander Martin Larwood-Hughes who is overall head of the CCF (RAF). It was an honour to host him at Rossall School and I know that he was impressed by the dedication of our volunteers and the sheer diversity of opportunities available to our pupils. The CCF provides an invaluable dimension to School life, one which supports the development of those skills and attributes likely to serve us well in later life. Above all it is fun and we are intensely proud that our contingent is the oldest combined cadet force in the country, being founded in February 1860. It is one of only four school CCF Contingents to be awarded the Queen’s Colours.

Successful schools are dependent upon strong and open partnerships between home and school. I was delighted to welcome parents to the Parents’ Forum on Tuesday evening. This provided an excellent opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics and we discussed topical issues ranging from teaching and learning to site security issues and adolescent mental health. I found the session immensely constructive and hugely enjoyable. The fact that it lasted for over an hour and a half is reflective of the fact that we had the opportunity to have the sort of in depth discussions which can be so difficult to manage during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whilst we love to welcome parents to these forum events, please remember that you can come and see us at any time should something be troubling you or if you would simply like a chat about any aspect of school life. We will vary the day and time of future meetings to ensure that as many people as possible are in a position to attend.

Finally, I cannot begin to describe the excitement of hearing the Chapel organ working once again. It has stood silent since 2001. It is a fine organ and was built in 1923 by Harrison and Harrison, the doyen of organbuilders – they are responsible for the organs in Durham Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. It is only due to the generosity of some of our Old Rossallians that we have been able to carry out these initial repairs and a full or even partial restoration is some way off. However, there is something incredibly uplifting about hearing the sound of this magnificent instrument fill the Chapel. To be able to do so, ahead of the hundredth anniversary of the ending of the First World War is incredibly poignant and particularly apposite. It is as if the voice of a lost generation is once more being heard, after far too long a silence.

We are enjoying something of an Indian summer here at school and we are making the most of these last few days of sunshine before the forecasted storms approach.

Wishing you all a peaceful and enjoyable weekend.

Assistant Director of Music, Joe Watson playing our mighty Harrison and Harrison Organ