From the Headmaster
|Christmas in November?
I have always been a firm believer that Christmas should not not begin too soon. In past years, I have tended to moan about over-commercialisation and rampant consumerism. Black Friday, crowded shopping malls and gluttonous mountains of food have always made me feel a little uneasy – well perhaps not the mountains of food! The attendant whirl of shopping makes me break out in a cold sweat. I am dreadful at choosing presents for people and I am convinced that family members have become ever more adept at masking their bemusement or disappointment. Still, I love Christmas carols and the wonderful feeling of community that the festive season encourages. The sense of excitement on Christmas Eve as the girls place sherry and mince pies out by the fireplace for Father Christmas makes it all worthwhile.
This year, government scientists have mulled over the fate of Christmas a bit like detectives at a crime scene. Consideration of the ‘R’ rate, clinical vulnerability and regional variations on transmission rates, have led many to conclude that this is not a Christmas to draw aged relatives close together for a festive blowout and yet after a year where so many people have felt isolated and despondent, further restrictions in this regard seem particularly cruel. The prospect of being apart from loved ones at the very time of year when we are encouraged to spend time together seems like a cruel reminder of all that we have been through these past nine months. So when Alicia, Caitlin and Teigan asked if they could put up the Christmas Tree last weekend, I resisted the temptation to ask them to wait. Christmas is a season of hope and joy. Perhaps, more than ever, we need to harness that spirit of hope and we definitely need to take every opportunity to welcome joy into our lives. So the tree is up ridiculously early this year and the letters to Father Christmas have already been posted. In School, Christmas is approaching and we have the online Carol service to look forward to, as well as the drama department’s first ever feature film of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. All children will have a Christmas Lunch and the Twelve Days of Christmas will be making an appearance which will provide a great opportunity for the usual friendly inter-house rivalry to proceed unabated.
Of course, this is a time of real hope for a vaccine is on its way. We might face a difficult few months but the end is now in sight. I am not one of those who found ‘lockdown’ to be a really enriching experience or a time to recalibrate. I have no interest in working from home, attending Zoom parties or baking bread. I love the chaos, excitement and challenge of normal life. I love the social interaction that comes with being part of a wonderful community. You will not find me sitting around moaning about globalisation for I love travelling and throwing myself into new experiences and adventures. Lockdown is dull, restrictions are pernicious and whilst I accept that we need to do as we are told in order to save lives and protect the NHS, it is a bitter pill to swallow for the vast majority of us who thrive on social contact.
We will make this a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons and we are certainly not putting it on hold here at School. The frustration of not being able to enjoy Christmas in a traditional sense is balanced by the knowledge that we are now in a position to live life with a real sense of hope. Never have I felt more excited about the year ahead. So much of what we took for granted, such as the opportunity to visit parents, attend football matches, concerts or go on holiday has gone. What we have been left with is a rather monochrome existence and if I were to make a New Year’s prediction then it would be this. Offices are not going to close, town centres are not going to die and airline companies will bounce back quicker than expected. Ultimately, we will choose life with all of its frustrations, challenges and contradictions. However, we do need to do so in a way which is more sustainable and, if this year has taught us anything, then we do need to be more attendant to our emotional and psychological health, for if we get that wrong then there is no vaccine powerful enough to enable us to emerge from this situation into the glorious sunlight that we all deserve.
Illustration by Thumbel Sitt (Year 12). This is one of the many fantastic entries for the 2020 Christmas Card Competition that will be announced next week.
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Deputy Head (Academic)
It has been an absolute pleasure to interview our Year 12 scholarship applicants this week.
Whether internal or external, the candidates have impressed us hugely with their maturity and ambition for themselves and for society at large, as well as their desire and ability to wrestle with questions to which there is no one right answer.
This cohort of pupils in particular have faced some unique challenges imposed upon them by the uncertainty of the times that we live in. Unlike all previous generations they live with the understanding that everything is subject to change, sometimes at unbelievably short notice. The events of the last 9 months have certainly left their mark, but the young people emerging out of it can teach others who have come before them a thing or two about resilience, humility and generosity of spirit. Furthermore, the young people I had the pleasure of interviewing demonstrated over and over again a superior level of self awareness, the need and importance of self care and a keen understanding of the preciousness of life and the importance of love, family and friendship.
Someone once said to me that working in education was investing in an “industry of hope”. I always think of that at this time of year when I am afforded space and time to see that embodiment of hope in young people who are driven to make a difference. It is curious however that they believe, still, that it is not their generation’s turn yet. There seems to be a mythical, undefined, and yet just out of reach, moment when they will be invited to step forward. I remember a similar sense of anticipation in myself at that age. And yet, I now know that, if you leave it too long, each generation’s time passes in the blink of an eye. Without really noticing it, and in a hurry to grow up, we often miss the window of “action” as we go from thinking someone else knows more than us and will take care of things to perceiving that someone else has more time and purpose than us.
Ultimately, making the world a better place is a lifelong investment, but we must work to empower our children to feel that they have a contribution to make and a voice worthy of hearing from the moment that desire blooms in them. Waiting for someone in perceived authority to sanction or determine the worthiness of one’s potential contribution could well be to (quite literally) miss the chance of a lifetime.
Deputy Head (Teaching and Learning)
Message from the Junior Headmaster
Our assembly focus this week was to discuss people who help us. It was really interesting to listen to the main individuals who the children perceive as being there to support them – top answers included parents (I am sure you will be pleased to hear), friends and teachers. However they were also very aware of the role of those who are there when we need them when we are in trouble – we discussed the NHS, the police, the fire service, as well as air and sea rescue. Developing an understanding and appreciation of the world around us and the roles of the people within it, is incredibly important.
During a week where pupils have been taking part in assessments in Maths and English, I am positive many of them will have enjoyed the flip side of the curriculum as they enjoyed a variety of pursuits beyond the confines of the classroom. Astronomy sessions have been in full flow, with some children lying back in the planetarium looking up at a night sky whilst being talked through the constellations by our fantastic resident astronomer, Dr Lister. Year 5 enjoyed a long overdue trip to the woods to light a fire and toast marshmallows all in the aid of creating ‘s’mores’, and Rossall kitchen has once again been busy with children cooking and baking. Our Rossall Rotation lessons are truly in full flow!
Years 3 to 6 have been taking part in house matches for hockey and football with a real competitive edge being displayed by the children. However, it was the sense of fair play running alongside the will to win that impressed the teachers the most; well done to all children involved.
The countdown to Christmas is now well underway, as we kicked off the festivities in style with our grand Christmas Tree light switch on. Carols were sung, hot chocolate consumed and baubles hung. The lead up to Christmas really is a very special time of year in Junior School and Nursery and I know that the children are already counting down the days…after all, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Have a lovely weekend.
Headmaster of Rossall Junior School
|ASSEMBLY – MONDAY 23RD NOVEMBER 2020
In this week’s assembly, the children of Anchor give us a tour of their chicken farm, Ellie Williams recites her Poetry Please winning entry, and Mrs Lee shares some Rossall Adventures. We hope you enjoy.
|FLEETWOOD MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
We would like to wish a huge congratulations to Yasmine Ajiteru for coming Third in the Fleetwood Music and Arts Festival in her singing category. Well done, Yasmine!
|JUNIOR LAMDA RECITAL
Please click here to view the Junior Lamda Performance.
|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE
LAST WEEK’S ANSWER
Did you manage to solve Mr Sharpe’s puzzle? Here is the answer to last week’s puzzle:
When solving a puzzle like this, you have to think of the worst-case scenario, since we want to guarantee that Dave gets two matching pairs of socks if he randomly “grabs” socks from his infinite sock drawer.
We have to assume that the first three “grabs” give him three different colours; say white, black and pink. Now he is guaranteed to get one matching pair on the next (4th) “grab”, for argument’s sake, we will say he gets pink. Now the worst thing that could happen next (looking at worst-case scenario) would mean that he “grabs” another pink sock on his 5th attempt. So he now has “white, black, pink, pink, pink”. So it doesn’t matter what happens next as “grabbing” any colour sock will give him a 2nd matching pair of socks, and so the answer is 6. He needs to randomly grab 6 socks in order to guarantee that he gets two matching pairs. If you think about it this is only two “grabs” more than the best case scenario which would be four “grabs”.
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Awkward Audrey’s Illogically Priced Suit Shop
Awkward Audrey’s shop doesn’t make buying a suit easy.
For example, to buy a three-piece suit which consists of a jacket, a pair of trousers and a waistcoat, Audrey displays the following information.
Two jackets and three pairs of trousers cost £380.
A pair of trousers cost the same as two waistcoats.
How much does a three-piece suit cost?
|WHAT’S ON THIS WEEKEND
See what’s on this weekend at Rossall School.