After a Summer relaxing on the rain and wind kissed sands of the English Riviera,whilst others sheltered from 400 + in the Med, it was back to work with a bang in September and the usual rush to get the school ready for the start of term. 3 days in and, without wishing to tempt fate, it has all gone relatively smoothly so far and our 30 new boys have all settled in very well. This is in no small part due to the excellent buddy system operated by Mr Monk, but also the welcoming and helpful approach of our boys – without exception they have gone out of their way to make the newcomers feel at home and to show them the ropes.
Two new teachers have joined the staff room, both from the rainbow nation – David Patrick taking over as the Head of Music, although Oliver Paterson will still assist in various areas, and Miss Demelza Vianello replacing Mrs Woodall. Both have a great deal of experience and I am delighted to welcome them to Woodcote.
After the raft of changes and improvements last summer, not quite as much has been done this time round. However, Red Lane has been completely redecorated, B classroom is the beneficiary of new lighting, furniture and a simply fantastic historical mural painted by our Art teacher Kate Lumsden, and the staff flat at the top the school has been done up with a new bathroom installed. The back stairs have been redecorated and are part of an ongoing programme to eradicate any trace of brown paint in the school – it should all have gone by next Summer!
The football season has already started, with a 6-a-side tournament at Bishopsgate on Saturday. We finished 5th out of 10 schools which was more than respectable and, save for late equalizers in two of our games, we would have reached the semi-finals – we wuz robbed! The HM, following the example of the equally ageing Arsene Wenger, has again persuaded the Chairman to extend his contract and will be wheeled out for yet another season at the helm. Parents, expecting to see him in the increasingly favoured touchline look of shorts and logoed top, will be disappointed/relieved to hear that shirt and tie will continue to be the order of the day – Messrs Guardiola, Conte and Mourinho et al still support this look, although Herr Klopp rather lets the side down!
There is much to look forward to this term including concerts, recitation competitions, a variety of Sunday outings and, following on from the hugely successful senior and junior plays last year, the third major production in the new theatre. My spies tell me that is a musical based on the Titanic, but not the Caprio and Winslett version. There is plenty of acting and musical talent at the top of the school, so I am sure that it will be another hit.
Finally, Mr Mark’s memorial service on the 19th is rapidly approaching and it has been quite extraordinary how many people have contacted us to say that they wish to attend. From a family perspective, it is both gratifying and humbling to realise in how much regard he was held and we are immensely grateful for so much support.