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Janette’s End of Year Newsletter 2022

On Sunday I went to St Mary Abbots in Kensington High Street to listen to Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah. The Church was full with every age group and range of mobility - some in pushchairs others in  wheelchairs, some stumbling in the dark on uneven flag stones. The music was played by the Purcell Players accompanied by theexcellent church choir - how beautiful the human voice sounded within the  echoing vaults of the church.

At the end of the evening there was a welcome hot mince pie and mulled wine – and this was an opportunity for the
congregation to socialise. There was a hushed mood, some people still wearing masks and avoiding eye contact - had we lost the desire to welcome strangers and share greetings?

Suddenly as the doors of the church opened and a swirl of snow entered,  immediately as if a light had been switched on, the mood lifted  and ‘everyone rose up laughing and chatting' a shared memory of childhood: the joy and beauty of snowflakes through the yellow lamp light.


Next day at school the soft powdery snow was gathered, allowing every tension and disagreement to disappear as the students worked together to build snowmen, snow animals and  piles of snow ammunition. No, don't stop them - encourage the excitement and  laughter, this is what memories are made of and this is our role to help young people make positive memories of their school days – given that many have arrived with a sad story about their experience of school.

The question that we are all pondering is, how  has two years in isolation impacted children? Not just academically ,but even more importantly the social lessons that can't be learnt alone - this must be part of  all schools curriculum. Yes, STEM is pivotal to our Nation’s success but let’s also celebrate the ARTS – let’s play - learn about other’s points of view through drama, let’s develop the creative mind with music, painting, let’s have STEAM!


The end of term finished, for those that were able, with a visit to the pantomime - slightly risqué - but where on earth can you go to shout at an adult and to scream as loudly as possible? And also a calming-down trip to Hyde Park to play cricket in the snow. For those young people unable to leave their beds - volleyball over the bedside  curtains - caused a ripple of laughter with all staff  joining.

Our staff’s creativity has enabled young people to . . .   bake with chefs from the Culinary School . . . or develop any game to be played in the most fragile medical situation with staff from Capital Cricket. Our team deserve so much applause. They make such a difference - thank you! And a special drum roll to our Governors who keep us on the right track and support us all.

Best wishes
Janette Steel