Head's News 24/03/2017

Head's Newsletter Whole School

The final weeks of the spring term are always frenetic and this year has been no exception. We have all been hugely busy and engaged with plays, productions and shows of one sort or another. There have been museum visits and ABRSM music exams and we have received results of our first entrants in the LAMDA Speech and Drama exams. As you will know only too well, we have rounded off the week with dressing up for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day and this has added to the general activity…. I am delighted to report that the school has raised a grand total of £1,670.40p. The weekend will be welcome rest before the final few days of term.

Eton Fives at the Westway 

Having played fives at Marlborough last weekend, it was a pleasure for me to join our Year 6 pupils on the courts at the Westway on Tuesday.  Some pupils seem to be picking up the rudiments of the game very well and I was particularly impressed by Mrs Correia who is beginning to look very handy.

Yr 2 Production – Great Fire of London

A near flawless dress rehearsal had us worrying that Yr 2 had possible peaked too soon. But no, this was not the case. The two main performances were simply sensational and I do not remember seeing better work from a Yr 2 troupe in all my time. The singing was lusty, but controlled and it was evident that every single child had put in the effort to learn all of the lines from all of the songs. Year 2 were confident performers who knew their cues and movements very well. Entrances and exits were spot on and the quality of some of the cameo roles was exceptional with the children playing for laughs and putting on some hilarious accents. (Quite where the Geordie thing has come from is still a mystery, but I shall let you know when I find out!). The costumes were another great feature of this production so “thank you” to everyone involved in fashioning these as well as the elements of the set and the props. Finally I feel duty bound to mention the wigs in this production – they gave Mr Pepys, the Duke of York and King Charles the authentic look required to take us back to 1666. Congratulations to Miss Feeney and all the cast and crew for a cracking show!

Yr 7 & 8 Entertainment

Mrs Wrottesley has been working with pupils in Drama to give them a taste of British comedy. Pupils loved some of the great old classic sketches that they had been learning about.  From Monty Python to the Two Ronnies we were treated to a delightful re-working of some of the finest of the genre.  This was a big team effort from a wide range of staff. Thank you to Mrs Correia, Ms Dibley, Mr Horan, Mr Wrottesley, Mrs Mason, Mr Cossey, Ms Miller, Miss Kulyk, Mr Hopwood, Miss Jack, Mr Constance, Mrs Small, Mr Brackley and no doubt others I have forgotten… for their input in the creation of the set items and properties, some of which took a lot of locating – the hose, the hoes and the Os not to mention the four candles, which were easier to locate than the fork handles. You get the picture. Thank you also to Miss Lambe for organising a delicious glass of wine before the performance and congratulations to the pupils for a very entertaining evening of British comedy.

Drum Concert

On Wednesday it was my great pleasure to attend the Drum Concert at Portland Place. Mr Debruslais’ drum pupils gave an exciting presentation of their various talents from Djembe pieces to individual kit work. The Djembe pieces often revealed other talents and I was thrilled to see Irish Dance and Human Beatbox thrown into the equation. Max’s final piece “I am your Father” (you’ll know the one if you were there!), could be an instant club classic hit and would fit very well on my ‘Best of Ibiza’ playlist! The range of talent on display and the unique skills of our pupils lifted the spirits.

Year 6 visit to the National Gallery

Mr Parra very kindly arranged for our Yr 6 pupils to attend a workshop looking at Myths and Legends in art. A private invitation to examine symbolism and meaning, in some depth, while concentrating on just three works of art. Ms Sharpe and Mr Conroy joined the pupils and they report that our pupils were rapt and immersed throughout the talk. I am delighted to see this level of enrichment in our curriculum. This kind of visit is not a single piece of an exam syllabus but an opportunity for developing breadth; a chance to enhance thinking and to promote the intellectual curiosity of our children. Well done to children for their commitment and thank you to staff for leading the trip.

Speech and Drama Results

Late on Thursday we received results and certificates from Abercorn’s first set of LAMDA Speech and Drama exams. Mrs Wrottesley had worked very intensively with our initial cohort and the children had applied themselves terrifically, so it was a shock to see that the results contained no Passes….

Aha! No Passes because every pupil had gained either a Merit or a Distinction! This is a sincerely impressive feat, so I must congratulate everyone and thank our parents for supporting their children through this exciting development at Abercorn. The confidence gained from such an enterprise transfers into all areas of life and this is why I am such a supporter of the Speech and Drama programme. Well done to all the children and Mrs Wrottesley in particular!

Monday was International Day of Happiness. I was struck by a very simple observation made by Richard Littledale on Radio 4 which was a very uncomplicated message to reflect upon:

“Too often the pursuit of happiness can be a selfish thing, occasionally trampling on the needs of others in order to gain its own goal.  After all – if I can only be happy by playing my loud music, what is to become of my neighbour who finds happiness in the silence?”

This reminded me how inspiring it is to work in a school. In a school community our happiness is, more often than not, a shared one, owing to the collective nature of our endeavours. At Abercorn we aim to recognise the unique talents of our pupils, but equally, we seek to discover how to use our talents for the benefit of others in the school community. There is little doubt in my mind that the best happiness is truth the happiness that we can share with those around us.

With all wishes for a peaceful weekend.

Benedict Dunhill
Headmaster

 



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