Head’s Blog

Football v Canterbury Academy

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A great performance yesterday from our Middle Fifth footballers. The team drew a highly competitive and exciting match 2-2 with Canterbury Academy in a local league game. Mr Millard tells me that the players showed tremendous focus, energy and determination against very talented opposition. It has been a great season so far for our football and hockey teams with more exciting fixtures to come after half-term!

UN Peace Service

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A number of pupils from St Edmund’s participated in the UN Peace Service on 6th October at Canterbury Cathedral. Olivia Harris-Harding (M5) played the theme from Schindler’s List accompanied by Will Inscoe (L6). Jonty Harris-Harding (Y7) played the Last Post and Beatrix La’Da (M5) read a short piece. Dr Rowcroft also sang a solo. I am pleased that our staff, pupils and their families were able to play a central role in this important event.

EKST Debating Workshop

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Last week, Dr Caiazza took eight pupils to The King’s School for an East Kent Schools Together  debating workshop.  Five other local schools also participated. The basic techniques of debating were discussed and the pupils got the opportunity to test their skills against each other.

The St Ed’s team greatly enjoyed the experience and will now participate in an EKST Debating tournament on 8th November. Well done to: Joseph Burton, Nathaniel Florence-Wratten, Daniel Hibbin,  Matilda Trueblood, Eloise Newman-Brown, Alex McGovern, Isobel Wanstall

 

Intimate Letters

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Well done to everyone involved in Friday night’s brilliant joint music and drama showcase “Intimate Letters” in the Theatre. The evening started with a Clarinet Quintet by Mozart played beautifully by Mr Swatman (Clarinet), Olivia Harris-Harding and Sophia Grundmann (Violins), Alasdair Habuki-Bedford (Viola) and Elliot Habuki-Bedford (Cello). This was followed by Zwei Gesange, Op.91 by Brahms, sung superbly by Dr Rowcroft who was accompanied by Mr Payne on Piano. The second half of the event was based on the work and love letters of the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. The piece was narrated by two Drama Scholars, Alexander Castle and Esme O’Connor, who played the roles of Janáček and his unrequited love Kamila. Working with our narrators, the Tippet Quartet played Janáček’s String Quartet No.2, JW VII/13.

It was a complex and powerful piece of art, delivered with real emotional force.

Tippett Quartet & Intimate Letters

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Today we started in Chapel with a brilliant performance by the Tippett Quartet of Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No.2, Op.13. It started with the slow ‘Largo’ followed by the more energetic ‘Allegro’ and was a stunning performance, appreciated by all.  Tonight, the Quartet are performing a unique collaboration with our Drama Department – an original piece called “Intimate Letters”. It will take place in the Theatre at 7.30pm.

HMC

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I have spent the last three days in Manchester at the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.

It was invaluable to catch up with other Heads (including the new Master of Marlborough College!) and share information and “intel”. Of course, there are considerable challenges facing the independent sector at the moment. However, the quality of discussion and innovative thinking was extremely impressive and I have returned with lots of new ideas and connections. My thanks go to Mrs Shearer who has done an admirable job running the school in my absence.

Buddy Lunch

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St Edmund’s is a richly diverse community – it is one of our great strengths as a school. We work hard to ensure our overseas pupils are fully integrated and also that our UK pupils benefit by making friends with those from other countries. To encourage this process, the school has set up a system that “buddies” new overseas boarders with British pupils. The programme was launched last Friday with a successful introductory lunch in the Drawing Room.

St Ed’s by Air

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You all know Mark Sell as an inspirational Director of Drama. You may not be aware that he is also a qualified pilot. Last weekend, Mark took one of our pupils Yohanen Lachenel for a training flight over Kent. As you can see, they even did a fly-by of St Edmund’s.   Mark tells me that Yohanen is a natural pilot and that he handled the aircraft with great confidence.

Why We Sleep

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My thanks to those parents who attended last night’s Middle Fifth Curriculum Evening. Mr Comfort talked powerfully about chronobiology and effective sleeping habits. I followed this up in Head’s Line this morning by referring the pupils to Matthew Walker’s fascinating book “Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams”. It is worth a read if you the chance. Walker suggests that the digital age and pressures of modern life have created a sleep deprivation crisis. For example, he cites a World Health Organisation report which suggests 2/3 of adults in developed countries are sleep deprived. I urged our pupils to take responsibility for their own wellbeing by prioritising a good night’s sleep. This is a theme we will return to through the school’s PSHEE programme this year.

 

Trip to the University of Cambridge

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This week, a group of gifted and talented pupils from St Edmund’s enjoyed a residential experience at the Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. This beautiful, historic college educated (among others) Oliver Cromwell,  Carol Vorderman and Alan Bennett and has produced a number of Nobel Prize winners. The aim was to give our pupils experience of undergraduate life and for them to learn a little about what to expect from studying at degree level at an elite university. In addition to seeing presentations from university staff and taking a tour of the college with current undergraduates, the pupils got to spend some time exploring the historic city centre. Dr Sotillo who organised the trip tells me that the pupils made the most of the opportunity and had a very rewarding two days. I am very grateful to Mrs Heavens and Mr Bodle who also accompanied the pupils.