From the Headmaster
|In praise of the ordinary!
Currently, my life is punctuated by long drives to Essex. Typically the round trip necessitates nine and a half hours of driving. The M6, A14, M11, A120, must collectively constitute one of the least interesting routes on Planet Earth. Occasionally, I go via the M62 and A1 just to mix things up a little and so that I can delight my childlike fascination with the farm marooned on the moors between the west and east bound carriageways. I am not a natural driver and I do not have an unblemished record in terms of concentration. My boredom threshold is low and my ability to daydream spectacularly high. By contrast, my uncle loves driving and I tend to think that this is because he has a tranquil countenance that radiates patience. It is easy to imagine him maintaining a Zen-like state of calm in the overtaking lane of the M25.
As a child, I tended to inwardly groan if my Mum had BBC Radio 4 on in the car. I never really understood her desire to listen to ‘The Archers’ and ‘Women’s Hour’ or ‘Money Box’. Now, I see things very differently. On very long drives, I worry that I will fall asleep if I listen to music and this has led to me developing a real appreciation of the spoken word on radio.
This Sunday, I found myself driving through a blizzard somewhere between Corby and Kettering as ‘Desert Island Discs’ kicked in. The marooned guest was the astronaut Tim Peake. His music choices were a little predictable (though, inexplicably, we were not treated to Bowie’s Starman). What really struck me was the virtue that Tim discerned in having what he considered to be an ‘ordinary childhood’. He was almost apologetic when describing a childhood that sounded stable and uneventful but conceded that such childhoods are pretty good in the great scheme of things. His words really resonated with me because right now, I think we all crave for our children to have an ordinary childhood. Above all else, what we really want is for our children to return to school and just enjoy being children. We all want to embrace everything which is ordinary, reassuring and stable.
Tim Peake, also reflected upon the seminal role that his Chichester School CCF had played in his journey to become an astronaut. Membership of the RAF contingent provided him with his first opportunity to fly. Reflecting upon his journey from schoolboy cadet to spacewalking astronaut, Tim commented that:
“The important thing – and it’s great to have dreams, and it’s great to be able to set your sights on them – is to never give up, to constantly work towards it, but also to enjoy the journey that takes you there. That’s probably the most important advice I would give because then it doesn’t matter. Even if statistically it’s very unlikely you’re going to make it, if you’re enjoying the journey there, then you will have a fantastic time and other opportunities might come up. If you do end up achieving your dream, then absolutely fantastic. If you don’t end up achieving it, you’ll end up doing something equally as good.”
What brilliant, wise and inspiring advice. Later on, I listened to Clemency Burton-Hill being interviewed on ‘Woman’s Hour’. She is the young broadcaster who suffered a devastating brain hemorrhage last year. This was her very first radio interview – a brave and beautiful return to the airwaves. In faltering tones and pausing carefully between each phrase, Clemency described how she had ‘chosen life’ when waking from a 17 day coma. Her refusal to give into such a devastating injury was just as inspiring as Tim Peake’s reflections upon the need to follow dreams.
Earlier in the day , ‘Broadcasting House’ carried an interview with a man who had returned home to his family after nearly 200 days in hospital recovering from COVID. It was difficult not to be overcome with emotion as his sons described the joy that they felt just to know that he was once again back with them. Life is so precious and despite all the problems that this family faced, the simple act of being back together against all the odds serves as a great example of hope.
In this world of constantly streaming videos and on demand television apps, the power of the spoken word has the power to inspire and move with a directness that goes straight to our emotional core. Radio 4 has become my constant companion during these interminably long journeys. At a time, when it is so easy to feel gloomy, Sunday’s programming provided moments of real inspiration and hope. I did not feel alone on what is such a long journey.
The announcement that the reopening of schools will be delayed by at least two weeks disappoints us profoundly. There are children in this country, and indeed countries around the world, who have missed out on almost a year of education. We do our best with online lessons but nothing replaces face-to-face teaching in the classroom. We do not question the necessity of the public health measures themselves but we are very proud of our record in terms of keeping all within our community safe. At a time when others are pondering the use of masks or how to rollout lateral flow testing, we are struggling to understand why such measures are only now being considered.
There are many reasons for us to feel hopeful and joyful at the moment. By the time you read this newsletter over seven and a half million people in the UK will have received the vaccine in the UK. The speed of the rollout means it is realistic for us to expect a loosening of lockdown in March. Our children have responded to this crisis with incredible resilience and their sense of what it means to be a member of this community has never faltered. If anything, it has only grown stronger.
Our boarders continue to enjoy a full and active programme of activities within the confines of what is permissible within a COVID safe environment and there are many moments of real joy here at School. Cooking in the Rossall Kitchen on Saturday morning was a highlight as was the wonderful piano masterclass given by Adam Dobson. Oscar Knight, Emily Yang and Lan Lan Le Chieu all performed superbly well and we are incredibly fortunate to have so many accomplished pianists within our midst.
Sitting in the Education Committee meeting on Thursday morning, it struck me that the energy and dynamism that underpins the plans of those committed to leading the school forward and ensuring an outstanding quality of education is utterly impressive. Over the next few weeks and months, we will be making some exciting announcements about the developments which are going to take place before September 2021. We think that families choose us for many reasons, but perhaps at the heart of it lies the knowledge that we will never stop striving to enhance the education provision that we provide for our children.
Finally, a huge thank you to all of our teachers and support staff who continue to work so hard during this period. Your appreciation of all that they do means the world to us and is a source of great sustenance. Wherever you are in the world stay safe and know that in our hearts you remain close to us.
Have a lovely weekend!
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Junior Headmaster
We were hugely disappointed by the news this week, that schools would only begin a phased return from 8th March. Whilst we fully understand and support the reasoning behind this announcement, as we all know, there is no better place than physically being at Rossall to enable the children to grow, learn and develop. That said, we continue to offer the very best in remote learning and I have once again been impressed by the level of effort that the children continue to display. It is not only the pupils who have been delivering… our very own Mr Condon (aka Albert Einstein), produced a fabulous Science Masterclass Challenge that has got the whole of the Rossall community donning their lab coats and safety spectacles! He certainly rose to my Junior School challenge of putting a smile on somebody’s face!
Earlier this week, I thoroughly enjoyed our interactive whole school assembly, where I spoke with the children about the choices they make each day. Whether it be as simple as cereal or toast for breakfast, or more complex decisions such as what would they do if they found a £10 note on the floor, they enjoyed voting on what they would choose. It is so important that the children realise that sometimes they will make the wrong decision, but that that is a huge part of how we all learn. I stressed the importance of the multitude of people around them who can help them make informed choices – friends, family, and teachers are all there to offer a guiding hand. They were even reminded to make the right choice of tidying their rooms – I wonder how many stuck with their original decision?
Have a lovely weekend.
Headmaster of Rossall Junior School
|JUNIOR & NURSERY NEWS
Please click here for this week’s Junior and Nursery Newsletter.
|ROSSALL ROCKET CHALLENGE
Mr Cond–sorry, we mean Albert Einstein, has challenged our pupils to build their own Rossall Rocket! In this two minute tutorial, Albert demonstrates just how easy they are to create. Send your videos/photos of your attempts to [email protected]
|HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY
In this lecture, delivered as part of the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 and to Year 10 pupils as part of their Human Universe course, Mr Clarke – Head of History – explores why it is vital that we remember the Holocaust and the subsequent genocides that have taken place across the world since 1945.
Reflecting on some of the reasons for historical anti-Semitism, the lecture concludes with an examination of how it came to be that a seemingly civilised nation, in the thrall of the fascist dictatorship of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party, set about stripping German Jews of their rights and citizenship before turning to mechanised factories of death in an attempt to wipe out European Jewry.
|ASSEMBLY – MONDAY 25TH JANUARY
In this week’s assembly, Ms Porovic commends the remote learners of the week, Mr Prest discusses the importance of relationships, the Rossall Chapel Choir perform a beautiful piece, and Mary Melsheimer closes the assembly with a performance on the flute.
|EX-ENGLAND NETBALL CAPTAIN
TO HOST VIRTUAL TALK AT ROSSALL
We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Ex-England Netball Captain, England Netball Hall of Fame and former Team Bath and Surrey Storm player, Pamela Cookey to Rossall virtually on Monday 1st February at 3.30pm.
During her career, Pamela won the Super League title seven times with Team Bath and Surrey Storm, a gold medal at the Netball World Series and a bronze medal at the 2004 Common Wealth Games. As well as this, Pamela won 114 international caps over 11 years.
Pamela will be talking about playing netball professionally, her amazing career and answering any questions you may have.
If you would like to join the Zoom, please email Mr Cropper: [email protected] to register your interest.
|GUESS THE FILM
Lockdown blues getting you down? Well, snap out of it! We’re going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. Watch this short clip and see if you can guess the famous film Year 10 pupil, Leonie is acting out. Go ahead, make our day and email your answers to Mr Newell: [email protected] – good luck and May the Force be with you. (Bonus points if you can name every movie we have quoted.)
|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE
Congratulations to Dr Paul Cahalin for being the first to answer last week’s puzzle. Well done Dr Paul!
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLELast week’s Puzzle (an adaption of a famous puzzle) – A Rope around the Earth
Dave had a dream that he tied a rope around the equator of the Earth. The rope then rose 1m above the ground at every point. Dave then got tangled up in the rope and woke up. Dave shouldn’t eat cheese before bedtime.
If the earth is modelled as a perfect sphere with its equator being 40,000 km long, how much longer would the rope have to be to rise 1m above the equator at all points?
This uses the following circle formulae:
By putting a rope around the equator we are basically looking at a circle with a circumference of 40,000km.
This means that the radius of this circle will be
Now, remember that we are dealing in km at the moment.
We then need to add on the extra metre as the new circle has a radius 1m larger than the original. 1m = 0.001km.
So our new radius is
We now need to work out the circumference of this new circle by multiplying this new radius by 2𝜋.
This gives a new circumference of 40,000.00628km which is just an extra 6.28 metres (it is exactly 2𝜋 metres extra). So amazingly the rope only needs to be 6.28m longer so that it is 1 metre above the ground at all points!
THIS WEEK’S PUZZLE:
Here is this week’s puzzle.
Dr 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?
This puzzle is dedicated to Dr Paul, as well as the students who are going to sit the Intermediate Maths Challenge next week, as this is an adaption of one of the questions from a previous challenge.
Remember, the first person to email me ([email protected]) the correct solution will be immortalised in next week’s puzzle. Thanks to all those dozens of people who emailed last week (when I say dozens I mean 2 (not 2 dozen). Come on Rossalians!)
– Mr Sharpe