The Beacon School Leaderboard 09/05

Thoughts from the Head

Published by St James Senior Boys' School on Monday 16th of January 2023

It was fun over the break to reflect on last year and I have used a few categories to give my thought structure.

My favourite film of last year was ‘Belfast’ directed by Kenneth Branagh, a poignant piece of work. The most extraordinary book I read was, ‘Riddley Walker’ by Russel Hoban, a post apocalypse novel written in a cod-Kent demotic, challenging at first as it has a grammar all its own, but incredibly rewarding: a novel that stays with you. My non-fiction delight was David Seabrook’s, ‘All the Devils are Here’, also set in Kent and unclassifiable. From reading it I learnt about gangsters, madness, Lord Haw Haw and the final days of Charles Hawtree (Officer Piddle from the Carry On films).I read, in total, 42 books last year - my aim is always one a week, so I need to up my game this year. Everyone knows I love comics and particularly Marvel, but this year I really enjoyed the DC offering, ‘NightWing’ written beautifully by Tom Taylor with stunning art by Bruno Redonda. My favourite TV series was 1899 on Netflix which has led me to also enjoy ‘Dark’ by the same team, which was recommended by Dr Roberts. Don’t be put off by the sub titles. My favourite podcast is ‘Backlisted’ which is about old books that have fallen out of favour and perhaps deserve a re-evaluation.

There were many significant moments in 2022, but the most was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has completely shifted the power dynamic and relationships in Europe. It has also changed our attitude to oil and power and many other things. It may be many years before we really understand the implications of this event. I am delighted to say that we have four students from Ukraine at our school, all super young men who are contributing so much to school life.

We also lost our dear Queen, which seemed like an epoch-ending event with mythical resonance. I am a great supporter of King Charles and very proud that we are part of his ‘Harmony’ project.

In terms of Sport, I enjoyed the World Cup, but the most exciting thing for me has been the emergence of the English Test Team under Ben Stokes. What a leader he is - and next summer we have the Ashes!

On a personal level the most scary event was Mr Wassell’s sudden illness and brush with the grim reaper; the happiest event has been his recovery and return to us. One feels powerless in such situations, but I did find prayer a great help and I repeated Psalm 23 several times a day last summer with Ben in mind.

My hope is for greater stability in 2023 and a realisation that we are all in this together and need to work together for the betterment of all. I feel very blessed to have such a fantastic group of colleagues to lead and work with at school. They deeply care for the pupils in their classes and are prepared to put service before self, such a significant strand of the St James ethos.

I look forward to the year ahead and I am grateful for your trust and support.
Thoughts from the Head - Photo 1
Windlesham House rectangular 18 Oct 2023
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