From the Headmaster
|Creating the School you would have wished to attend!
ABBA’s revival and the immense soul of Rossall School
The idea for this blog arose from a debate about the National Anthem. Last Saturday evening, as the sun faded over the Irish Sea, Joey argued the case for ‘Jerusalem’. I have to admit that I have always been a little perplexed by those references to ‘dark Satanic Mills’ and ‘arrows of burning desire’. Indeed, Blake’s words would not count for so much without Parry’s stirringly majestic tune. I lobbied hard for ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ before Gemma took us all by surprise by interjecting with the immortal line, ‘perhaps something by Westlife’. Given the Irish dimension, Fiona thought that this was a terrifically good idea and before we knew it, ‘Flying without Wings’ was being touted as the perfect anthem to raise the nation’s spirits in these troubled times. It is difficult not to relish the spectacle of this song being wheeled out at state functions. There is almost no context within which it would not be amusing.
I would not pretend to know a huge amount about boy bands though the thought of being paid to sing or lip-sync songs did not seem entirely unattractive. Alas, I never made it beyond the stage of being a backing singer for a well-known legend of the Irish Country music scene but that is a story for another day. That earned me little more than the approval of my mother-in-law!
I lived in quite a rough part of Dublin in the years immediately following the signing of the Good Friday Peace Agreement. Bizarrely, Continuity IRA slogans would vie for space with messages of adoration for Boyzone and Westlife. The walls were adorned with graffiti that ranged from paramilitary terrorism to teenage heartthrobs. I tried to ignore the ‘Brits Out’ comment daubed in white paint under the railway arch at the end of our street, but there was no hiding from the mania that seemed to have gripped the city’s cultural sensibilities. Perhaps this was the closest thing to Beetlemania imaginable for someone born in the late seventies.
Shane, Mark, Kian and Nicky were up for the craic and living the dream. They made millions of euros pedalling endlessly schmaltzy ballads. Their fans were loyal and dismayed when poor old Shane had to declare bankruptcy after speculating on the property boom that fed the Celtic Tiger economy.
The vast majority of Westlife’s songs were written by a team of professional songwriters based in a sound studio in Scandinavia. Prosaic but effective, these songs served a purpose much akin to fast food. It pushes buttons rather than lighting fires. In all honesty, the Westlife lads were not the most energetic of performers – there was certainly no breakdancing or anything at all exuberant. Almost always static, they would occasionally rise from their stools in unison and take four steps forward and then four steps back and that was as good as it got. This additional excitement would usually herald a change of key. It was a winning if somewhat anodyne formula and they were likeable enough. In keeping with so many bands of the 90s, such as Steps and S Club 7, they owed much of their success to class acts like the Bee Gees and ABBA. Of course, one should not underestimate the cynical opportunism of their commercial directors who more often than not exploited their hapless and naive charges. Westlife and Boyzone were the natural successors to the showbands of the sixties and seventies who had toured the Irish countryside performing covers of Johnny Cash and the like.
In reality, most of these nineties bands lacked any sense of ‘self’. They were over-commercialised and over-produced to the point of blandness. As the bands fell out of favour, their members were reduced to making appearances on reality television series such as Coach Trip or Celebrity Big Brother. I seem to remember that poor Abz from Five tried to run a farm in rural Wales whilst the boys from Blue took over a bar in Malaga. Such ignominy would never have befallen Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Bjorn or Benny. They were the real deal and their songs have endured. I imagine that they have spent much of the last forty years living on densely forested Swedish islands, in an IKEA wonderland of fresh colours and sharp angles.
Many years ago, I was the accompanist for a recital in Dublin that consisted almost entirely of German lieder and early twentieth-century art songs. It was a rather earnest affair, or it would have been had the soloist not insisted upon including a selection of ABBA songs. We majored on ‘The Winner Takes it All’ and the enduring perfection of the song, with its vaulting melancholic melody ensured that it easily held its own beautifully alongside songs by Schumann and Vaughan-Williams. My friend (the soloist) has since gone on to sing for the Pope in the Choir of the Sistine Chapel (the first Englishman to do so since the time of the Reformation) whilst my musical career quickly faded away to nothing.
The exquisite simplicity and formal beauty of so many of ABBA’s songs are testimony to the quality of songwriting that exudes creative genius and technical brilliance. Yes, I am quite the fan! That special alchemy that existed when ABBA took to the stage is due to the fact that we knew that they were authentically themselves. The pathos and drama of their marital breakups bleeds into their later ballads. Nostalgic lyricism gives voice to a sadness that was real, relatable and tangible. They resisted the temptation to lose themselves in self-indulgent navel-gazing or musical gimmickry. There is an exquisite economy to their writing.
Deconstruct any ABBA song from an analytical perspective and it is easy to understand the role played by each constituent part. Classical ABBA tropes might look like painting by numbers but there is so much more to their songs than this. The harmonic language is straightforward and the melodies are so simple that it is difficult to comprehend how they could possibly sound so original. Their recent comeback album suggests that the essence of their musical soul remains remarkably undiminished through more than forty years apart.
Jude Rogers, writing in the Guardian, portentously reflects upon the ‘oceans of meaning’ contained in these new songs which so often ‘crackle with the uncomfortable edges of their biography’. Their ability to transform saccharine ballads and disco bangers into profound statements sets them apart and explains their enduring popularity. They are back in the game and back on form – undiminished by age but enriched by experience..
As a School, we have been through tremendously challenging times and yet we have the best academic results in a generation and the student roll is higher than at any time in the School’s a hundred and seventy six-year history.
The excitement we feel as we return for what promises to be an action-packed year is difficult to put into words. I think that there is a sense of relief and gratitude. We have all had those moments when we really cannot believe that our lives are beginning to return to normal. For me, standing outside the pavilion on Friday afternoon with our incoming Year 7 families felt incredibly joyful. This is because there were times when we feared losing what had always seemed so commonplace and so fundamental to our humanity. Nevertheless, our desire to be together as a community only ever intensified during the difficult months of lockdown. There is no doubt that these last eighteen months have changed us all. Much like Agnetha’s voice, I feel a little more ‘lived-in’ but the experience of leading this community through what amounted to a very real crisis has taught me so much more about love and human nature. There have been moments of sadness but also of great tenderness, humour and compassion. The successes that we have enjoyed seem all the sweeter for the incredibly difficult context within which they were achieved.
Schools often measure their success in statistics or impressive headlines. People often ask me how on earth we have become so successful and I struggle to answer convincingly. Much like an ABBA song, I could deconstruct the various elements and highlight the role that each element plays in our ultimate success but that would tell you very little – it would be a bit like taking a cat apart to see how it works. The truth is that everything we do is done with absolute sincerity and real conviction. The ambition that drives us forward arises from a belief in the value of education and our moral responsibility to provide the very best start possible in life for all of our children. Matt Turner said to me the other day that for him it is about constantly striving to create the School of his dreams, the School that he wishes that he had attended. Everyone should want to invest in a community-driven by individuals who possess such a clear sense of purpose.
When you believe in what you do with every fibre of your being then it creates a sense of forward momentum that is as unstoppable as it is authentic. I am inspired by our children, our parents and our wonderful staff – they exemplify the spirit of this place so perfectly. Much like the spirit of ABBA, the essence of Rossall will always endure. No slick marketeer will ever do justice to the true nature of our being. Rossallians understand that only too well and I hope that those of you who are new to this community will feel the welcoming warmth of this most friendly of places.
Have a wonderful weekend and as we contemplate the beginning of this new year, I leave the last word to Benny Andersson:
It is inconceivable to be where we are…no imagination could dream that up!
That is precisely how I feel right now…Floreat Rossallia!
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Junior Headmaster
Welcome back to School and an especially warm welcome to all of the new families who now form part of our vibrant community.
I think that Monday of this week was possibly one of my favourite days to date at Rossall. The sense of excitement and anticipation was palpable, as we embarked on an academic year that feels as though we have just emerged from a lengthy hibernation. Alas, we know that is not the case, with pupils, parents and staff having worked so hard over the last 18 months. Whilst we know we are not out of the woods and that our ‘normal’ is not quite so yet, there has been a shift in the overall feel of how we tackle the obstacles that we face. In the middle of it all are our wonderful children who, despite everything they have endured, have returned so happy and excited about all of the positive elements of their lives, with School playing such a central role.
Throughout the course of this week, we have come together as a Prep School in ways that we have so sorely missed. It was such a delight to speak to the Prep School as one in assemblies, without the need for technology. The importance of handing out certificates in person and seeing smiling and happy faces can never be underestimated. Our new pupils have settled in wonderfully well and a special mention must go to the Reception children, who despite my offer to not attend assemblies in their first week, have been at everyone and have already learnt how to sit and listen; quite incredible!
Please have a look at some of the amazing activities that the children have been enjoying in our further news and photographs section. Whilst on photographs, comb your hair and straighten that tie for Monday, as our annual individual and siblings pictures are back!
The story of this year is yet to unfold and I am positive that it will throw us some hurdles to overcome. However, from watching and listening to the staff, children and parents, I know that we will meet the challenges we face together as one community.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Headmaster of Rossall Nursery and Preparatory School
|NURSERY, PRE-PREP & PREP SCHOOL NEWS
Please click here for this week’s Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School Newsletter.
|ANOTHER FANTASTIC YEAR OF RESULTS FOR ROSSALL
In August, we celebrated another fantastic year of results.
In the A-level examinations, over 2/3s of all grades awarded were either an A* or A, and over 60% of all students now plan to attend either a Russell Group university or a Top 20 university.
In the IB Diploma, students achieved an average of 35 points which places this year’s cohort amongst the highest performing cohorts within the UK. Furthermore, almost a quarter of students achieved 40 points or above, the equivalent of achieving A*AA at A-level.
Rossall Year 11 students also achieved excellent GCSE exam results. Over 55% of all entries awarded this summer were a grade 7 or above, with an astounding fifth of all grades achieving the coveted grade 9. Art, Latin as well as our enrichment subjects Ancient Greek, Business Studies and Mandarin all celebrated 100% of their grades being 7 – 9. Furthermore, almost all subjects, including the core English, Maths and Science, had over half of their entries at grade 7 or above.
Well done to all our students who worked so hard.
|A LETTER FROM HER MAJESTY, THE QUEEN
You may remember that one of our talented Art students created a print of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
Our Head of Art, Laura Heap sent a copy of the print, along with a letter to The Queen and we were absolutely delighted to receive the following response:
“The Queen wishes to write and thank you for your kind message of sympathy on the death of Her Majesty’s beloved husband, The Duke of Edinburgh and for enclosing a splendid print, based on a photography by Patrick Lichfield, created by one of your students, Thumbel Sit Chin.
The Queen was touched by your kind words and pleased to be reminded of visiting Rossall School in 1994 as part of the School’s 150th-anniversary celebrations.
Her Majesty sends her good wishes to everyone at Rossall School and I am to thank you, very much, for your thoughtfulness in writing at this time.”
Well done again to Thumbel Sit for her fantastic piece of art.
|FASTEST CAS PROJECT ON ROSSALL RECORD
IB student, Kai Wagner, in the course of the last two weeks, has completed the fastest ever CAS project since we started delivering the IB Diploma.
He designed and put together a display board for the MFL corridor, dealing with aspects of German history that are relevant to this moment in time as we are coming up to the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and reunification. Well done, Kai!
|ANCHOR HOUSE NEWSLETTER
Please click here to read the latest edition of the Anchor House Newsletter!
The Prep School and Senior School Calendars are available to view online:
The digital copies of the calendars will be updated on a weekly basis to reflect any changes.
Next week’s menu is now available to view online.
|This summer has seen our uniform sales increase to unprecedented levels and we apologise if you have been left waiting for any items. Please let us know about your experience with SchoolBlazer and any uniform delays here.
|SCHOLARSHIPS FOR 2022 ENTRY
We are now welcoming scholarship applications for Year 7, 9 and 12 entry for September 2022.
Apply now, visit: https://www.rossall.org.uk/admissions/scholarships/
You can also book your place for our Whole School Open Day on Saturday 2nd October at 10am, and find out why more and more families are choosing Rossall School: https://www.rossall.org.uk/news/open-days/
|REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR OUR
WHOLE SCHOOL OPEN DAY
Saturday 2nd October 2021
10.00am – 2.00pm
Featuring a piano masterclass with Martin Roscoe
Visit: www.rossall.org.uk to book your place
Reasons to choose Rossall School:
– From Nursery to Sixth Form, Rossall educates boys and girls aged 0-18
– Number 1 Golf Academy for Senior Students in England
– Elite Football Programme for boys and girls in partnership with Fleetwood Town FC
– New International Piano Academy (Rossall will become an All-Steinway School in September)
– Offering IB, A Levels and BTEC at Sixth Form
– Average IB Point Score 35
– Over 60% of all 2021 A Level grades awarded A*/A
– Brand new Nursery and Pre-Prep facility
– £4 million Sport Centre
– 160-acre campus
Book now and see for yourself why more and more families are choosing Rossall.
|THE UK’S NUMBER 1 GOLF ACADEMY
Did you know, our Golf Academy is currently ranked Number 1 in the UK for Senior Students by the Independent Schools Golf Association (ISGA)?
Situated on the ‘English Golf Coast’ and with over fifteen golf courses within sixty miles, including three Open Championship host courses, students have access to world-class golfing locations and facilities.
Students from Years 3 to 13 can join the Golf Academy, whether they are new to the sport, enjoy golf socially, or have the desire to compete at the highest level possible.
If you are interested in the Golf Academy, please email our Director of Golf, Mr Stuart Hemmings at: [email protected]
|Our first Signature Concert will take place on Friday 1st October at 7.00pm and features one of the UK’s most respected pianists, Martin Roscoe.
To register your interest for the concert, please click here.
Tickets will be available to purchase next week and we will email instructions to all interested parties.
CAREERS EDUCATION ADVICE & GUIDANCE
“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today”
– Tim Fargo—Author and Entrepreneur
Welcome to careers at Rossall.
We have ambitious plans for our pupils at Rossall and aim to ensure they have access to a highly effective careers program that supports them in making informed, realistic and intelligent decisions about the next stage of their education, training or employment with training. Rossall is working to achieve and maintain the eight Gatsby benchmarks which define the framework for best practice in careers and are a key part of the Government’s careers strategy. Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing our careers program to you in more detail and sharing ways you can be involved.
We strive to make the best use of our contacts with universities, professionals, Old Rossallian alumni network and parents and guardians to deliver a thriving, supportive and beneficial program for our students. If you are an old Rossallian, parent or guardian, or support Rossall in a different capacity and would like to be involved in our careers program, we would love to hear from you. The first of these opportunities are our Careers Afternoon Tea events which will run twice a term and are an opportunity for our current students to meet you and hear about your career experiences, careers trajectories, present job roles and any possible internship, placement and graduate job opportunities. If you would be interested in supporting us at these events or in other ways please complete the google form to be found by following this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd2DjO-xTA8ezWngR8ZLzeEBcMaUKlofaYCg9IawHFDlEyZ1w/viewform?usp=sf_link
The following careers events will be taking place this term:Tuesday 21st September – Reece Seminar Room – 5.30 – 6.30pm Parents Information Evening – the importance of Careers Education, Information and Guidance
Wednesday 22nd September 2.30 – 4.30pm – Careers Guidance Sessions – Student guidance sessions start for Years 11 and 13
Wednesday 6th October – Careers Afternoon Tea – 2.30 – 4.30pm Reece Seminar Room
Wednesday 17th November – Careers Afternoon Tea – 2.30 – 4.30pm Reece Seminar Room
Job of the week – Physiotherapist
September 8th is World PT Day. This day was founded by The World Confederation for Physical Therapy to honour and emphasise the hard work of the physiotherapists, and their vital role in restoring the health of their patients. This year there is a special focus on long COVID and recovery from Coronavirus. Follow the links below to explore the role of a PT
Did you know?
The table below shows how different occupations in advanced economies and developing economies will be affected up to 2030. Some occupations will experience a decline, some will experience stability and some will experience growth. Those occupations experiencing decline tend to be occupations that are more routine and therefore more vulnerable to automation. Occupations will also experience changes for other reasons. For example, care providers will experience growth due to ageing populations.
Useful websites for career exploration and inspiration
Find out what it’s like to work for the BBC, and explore jobs in the media and creative industries in general: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/careers
For information about careers in the NHS:
Explore your options and watch videos of women working in the racing industry: www.careersinracing.com/
7 skills employers of the future will be looking for: https://bit.ly/3vMeS9j
If you have any questions or would like to be involved in our careers program please email [email protected].
|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE
LAST TERM’S PUZZLE
An Infinite number of circles and no Lines but some bad colour choices
Each circle has a radius half that of the next bigger circle and there is a horizontal line of symmetry.
Each circle touches any other circle at exactly one point.
What fraction of the large green circle remains visible?
(And just because it is the last puzzle of the school year, here is a bonus question as I know some of you will find this one a little easy)
How far apart are the centres of the blue circles from the centre of the grey circles which they do not touch? (see image below)
ANSWER: (CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW)
|Congratulations to Max Watson who was the first correct solution to the last puzzle. Max left us in July and will soon be winging his way to University to study something or other. Probably Abba or Lego (it’s actually Computer Science). This week’s puzzle is a fairly simple one
Max and Ryan and some Money
One day Max was comparing how much money he had in his pocket with his friend Ryan. Together they discovered that if Max gave Ryan £5, then Ryan would have 3 times as much as Max, but if Ryan gave Max £5, then Max would have the same amount as Ryan.
How much did they have altogether?
As ever, the first correct answer with workings out will become the subject of the next puzzle. If you fancy it then please feel free to send me a video solution and you could get your video in the newsletter!
Remember to send your answer to: [email protected]
|INSTRUMENTAL LESSON TASTER SESSION
On Monday 20th September, we will be holding an Instrumental Lesson Taster Session from 4.30 to 5.30pm in Museum Theatre. This is a fantastic opportunity for any pupils interested in learning a musical instrument to come along, meet the tutors and find out more about the range of lessons that we offer. There will be practical demonstrations and our expert tutors will be able to answer any questions pupils have about the instrumental lesson provision here at Rossall School.
The Taster Session is open to pupils in Senior School and Sixth Form. Taster Sessions for Preparatory pupils will take place during lesson times over the course of the week.
|CALLING ALL GOLFERS
ROSSALLIAN GOLF SOCIETY
Autumn Meeting at Ganton Golf Club, North Yorkshire on 28th September 2021
Light lunch from 11.00am, 18 holes Stableford Competition from 12.00 Noon, followed by dinner. £135.00 per player.
Please apply to Arthur Stephenson (Hon Sec Rossall Golf Society).
|To view all of our sports fixtures and results, please visit: https://www.rossallsport.org.uk/
The password to view the teamsheets is: rossallsport