Rossall School News – Lent 2021 Week 5

From the Headmaster

A Sense of Belonging

I spent much of my childhood curled up on a beanbag devouring books. I loved Arthur Ransome’s books because they resonated with my love of sailing and the Suffolk coastline.

Stories such as ‘We didn’t mean to go to sea’ are set in a landscape that I understand well. Dinghy racing on the River Deben or tacking under the Orwell Bridge were both aspects of my childhood that I look back on with great affection. Getting stuck in the mud at Pin Mill and capsizing in choppy waters were all part of the fun. If Ransome’s works provided me with a literary space that felt familiar then nothing speaks to me as vividly as Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes. Aurally, the depiction of the shingle beaches and rough North Sea gives me a sense of total belonging – a sense of being East Anglian. That music will forever draw on my heartstrings and lead me back emotionally, if not physically, to a place I know so well. 

Aldeburgh Beach

If we want our children to read then we must help them find that which best resonates with their souls or inner sense of being. What they read must be relatable. When I was growing up people tended to be very critical of Enid Blyton. It is true, the ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ series are filled with outdated stereotypes but they do at least speak to many children’s desires to be part of a team, part of a gang – to belong. When I was a little older, I turned to Willard Price’s adventure series, featuring teenage zoologists  Hal and Roger Hunt.  I feel a little guilty on this front as these books are so obviously an egregious affront to modern views on wildlife conservation. Hal and Roger travel the world capturing wild animals. Price wrote the series for boys, ‘hoping that when they got old enough to hunt they would leave their guns at home’ 
Shortly before his death, he commented that:

‘My aim in writing the adventure series for young people was to lead them to read by making reading exciting and full of adventure. At the same time, I want to inspire an interest in wild animals and their behaviour. Judging from the letters I have received from boys and girls around the world, I believe I have helped open to them the world of books and natural history.’ 

Surely, that is the point of writing for children. Reading is not just an end in itself, rather, it is a fantastic way of stimulating interest in the world beyond ourselves. Great literature endures because it inspires us to action or leads us to reflect. Of course, reading does act as an educational facilitator in a strictly academic sense but, more importantly, it helps young people to gain a greater sense of themselves and it enables them to explore emotions that they might not have the vocabulary or confidence to express in person. 

It was a real pleasure to watch ‘The Dig’ on Netflix. This wonderful film explores the discovery of Anglo-Saxon treasure. In particular, it dwells on the contribution of Basil Brown, the local Suffolk archaeologist who was initially commissioned by Edith Pretty to excavate the strange looking mounds in the grounds of her estate which was situated on the banks of the River Deben. Growing up in Ipswich in the 1980s, I was aware that Basil Brown was the real hero of the discovery. The better educated archaeologists from Ipswich Museum and The British Museum may have had more letters after their names but autodidact Basil Brown (played by Ranulph Fiennes) boasts that he can identify precisely which Suffolk farm any given handful of dirt comes from. 

The film is not just about the Suffolk landscape and the excitement of spectacular finds which date from a hitherto unknown time in British history – an age with warring kings (sometimes known as the Heptarchy). It is about much more than that, it is about the fleeting nature of human life. Indeed, Edith Pretty, who has a fatal heart condition tells us that ‘Life is very fleeting. I’ve learnt that. It has moments you should seize’. Basil Brown, comforts her by reflecting that ‘From the first human handprint on a cave wall, we’re part of something continuous. So we don’t really die’. 

At times like this, we can draw great comfort from looking to the past for inspiration. The fine craftsmanship of the Sutton Hoo golden belt buckle provides tangible evidence of the age of Beowulf. It brings to life a period of history shrouded in mystery and inauspiciously referred to as the ‘Dark Ages’.


Why does any of this matter? Well as a historian it thrills me but more importantly, reflecting upon the burial finds at Sutton Hoo gives me a sense of belonging within a landscape that I love. It serves to root us in time and reminds us that alongside the permanence of these splendid treasures our existence is fragile and fleeting. The iron rivets of the Anglo-Saxon longboat are preserved in the earth but absolutely no trace is left of those who farmed Suffolk’s landscape in the seventh century. 
It is a call to action, a reminder that our lives do count, not least because, as Basil observes, we are part of something enduring and beyond the chronological brevity of our lives. 

Finally, we lost Captain Tom this week. He rose to prominence at the age of 99 and inspired a nation during the darkest of times. It is really striking that during such uncertain times, this country has been inspired by nonagenarians and centenarians. Those who have lived so much longer than us have a wisdom that tends to be communicated with a directness and simplicity that speaks to us in a way that transcends the barriers that position, education or wealth so often impose. 

There are so many reasons to be positive at the moment – not least because over ten million people have now been vaccinated. 

Keep well!

Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School

Message from the Junior Headmaster

Dear Parents,

This has been a difficult week for a number of reasons. It is fair to say that many of the children are struggling with the continuation of the lockdown. Whilst their effort remains high, we can see the difficulties they face in not physically being in school, playing with their friends, or simply interacting in the classroom in the usual manner. The half-term break will be a welcome one for the children and in my assembly earlier in the week, we spoke of resilience; what it means and how they can become better at it. To their credit, the children continue to apply themselves remarkably well. The teachers remain upbeat, creating a range of activities and challenges that aim to keep spirits high. Alongside their lessons in the different year groups, the children have joined in with talent shows, various challenges, taken part in National Bird Watching Week, and many are enjoying activities associated with Children’s Mental Health Week. Year 4 are even organising and completing the ‘Captain Tom 100 Challenge’; doing one hundred of something different every day.


The passing of Sir Captain Tom Moore this week, was a deeply sad day for the nation. A beacon of hope during our first lockdown, we all latched on to his inspirational life actions, none more so than the children. Sir Tom became the most well known 100 year old in the country and I am positive that the children will grow up remembering him and what it means to set goals and challenges that push you, whatever your age, ability or circumstance. His memory will live on, no doubt in part to the fact that our children all admired his steely determination and will to succeed. We remembered him in our whole school assembly this afternoon and I had no doubt when looking at the sea of children’s faces, that despite his passing, the inspiration and hope that he gave, will forever be in the hearts of our children, and indeed the nation. 

Have a lovely weekend.

Mr Turner
Headmaster of Rossall Junior School

Please click here for this week’s Junior and Nursery Newsletter.
This week’s assembly includes the boys of Pelican House, Sport at Rossall and performances from students Elisha (Year 11) and Rhiannon (Year 4). We hope you enjoy.
On Monday, Netball superstar Pamela Cookey joined us on zoom in the start of our sports speaker series. Pamela spoke in great detail regarding captaining her country, bouncing back from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. All the participants were greatly appreciative of the honest insight into professional sport. 
A huge congratulations to Old Rossallian, Erin Bradbury who has been accepted to
Queen’s University Belfast
to study Medicine. Erin had to wait to sit her Chemistry A-level in October due to COVID-19 and we are thrilled that she now has the grades and is one step closer to her dream job! Well done, Erin!
Thank you once again for all the lovely comments we are receiving. Here are just a couple…
Our next Virtual Open Event will take place on Saturday 6th March 2021 and will be for Senior School and Sixth Form.
We will also be hosting a Virtual Open Event for Nursery, Pre-Prep (Reception – Year 2) and Prep (Year 3 – Year 6) on Saturday 10th April 2021.

To register for either event, please click here.
Our Year 13 IB students have started an Instagram account to raise issues of global warming for their CAS project. If you would be willing to follow them, it would be greatly appreciated.

Congratulations to Dr Paul Cahalin for being the first to answer last week’s puzzle. Well done Dr Paul!

LAST WEEK’S PUZZLEDr Paul and his Unknown Number of Marsupials

Dr Paul is a keen animal lover.

Amongst the many other creatures in his menagerie, he has Wallabies and Koalas.

The product of the number of Wallabies and the number of Koalas is equal to twice their sum.

This product is also equal to six times the difference between the number of Wallabies and Koalas.

Given that Dr Paul has more Wallabies than Koalas, what is the total number of Wallabies and Koalas that Dr Paul has?


Here is the solution to Marsupial Madness Dr Paul and his Unknown Number of Marsupials

So if we let w stand for wallabies and k for Koalas, the information given yields 2 equations (remember wk means w x k)

The product of the number of Wallabies and the number of Koalas is equal to twice their sum becomes wk = 2(w + k)

and this product is also equal to six times the difference between the number of Wallabies and Koalas becomes wk = 6(w – k).

This now becomes a simultaneous equation problem and as both equations feature wk as their subject we can simply equate the right-hand sides of both giving:

2(w + k) =  6(w – k)

With a simple expansion of brackets and a simple rearrangement, this reveals that

w = 2k 

(meaning Dr Paul has twice as many Wallabies than Koalas).
If we take this fresh knowledge and substitute it into wk = 2(w + k) 

2k² = 6k

This rearranges to (after dividing everything by 2)

k² – 3k = 0 and factorises to k(k – 3) = 0

Now the only way the product of k and k – 3 could equal zero is if k = 0 or k = 3.

So Dr Paul has either 0 or 3 Koalas. So he must have 3 Koalas meaning that he must have 6 Wallabies (as we discovered w = 2k a little earlier) and so, in his animal menagerie, he has a total of 9 Marsupials. All I can say is that Dr Paul must have huge annual Eucalyptus bills for the Koalas and even bigger ones for whatever Wallabies eat, probably sandwiches or pot noodles, something like that.

Congratulations to Elias Fink in Year 12 for being the first of 6 correct entries this week. Congratulations also to Dr Paul for being the first to be immortalised in the Puzzle of the Week. Dr Paul was one of the 6 correct entrants this week also (Let’s be honest though, it was pretty simple for him as they were his pets after all so he only needed to count them!)


Elias’s Fruit-based Parallel Universe Dream

Upon hearing the news that he came first in the maths puzzle, Elias immediately starts celebrating by eating lots and lots of fruit. After a bit of sequences revision for his IB Analysis and Approaches course, he goes to bed.

In his dream he sees two parallel Universes unfold before him.

In Universe 1, the number of replies that Mr Sharpe receives each week to the Maths Puzzle forms a linear sequence.

In Universe 2, the number of replies that Mr Sharpe receives each week to the Maths Puzzle forms a geometric sequence

Elias wakes up after seeing the number of puzzle replies received in both universes 10 weeks in.

What is the difference between the number of replies that Mr Sharpe receives for the Puzzle of the week in this tenth week of asking for solutions to be sent to him?

(Hint: For this, you will need to know how many replies I got in the first two weeks of asking for solutions to be emailed)

– Mr Sharpe