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Every year a new start

Every year I enjoy walking down to the pitches on the first Tuesday afternoon of the autumn term to see the new Ds in their brand new sports kit tackling the business of learning the ropes of rugby and hockey.

The sports kit is pristine – you can even still see the folds in the shirts. It’s also a great deal of fun for me to see the members of staff involved with coaching these neophyte teams, teaching them, as actively as in a classroom, about the elusive skill of being both an individual and a member of a developing team.

A wise colleague of mine observed that there is one particular thing in a teacher’s job which distinguishes it from many other professions. And no, it’s not just the wonderful summer holidays. It’s that, in September, there is an enormous sense of turning a new page. Academic diaries change colour; new and/or updated policies are uploaded to the school website; all the children move on into a new year of learning; 172 new pupils enter the school. Few fellow professionals have quite the same ‘new shoes’ start to any session. And I think this makes teachers very fortunate.

Starting in a new school, or indeed in a new job, can be daunting. We do our level best to make sure that all who join us in September can quickly involve themselves – and be involved too – in activities so that relationships are forged through shared enterprise. And that goes for the staff too. Each year we welcome a number of new faces to the team. They hit the ground running and learn alongside the pupils the arcane vocabulary of HMC, ECA, Room 17 and other such Bryanston vernacular (though no pupil will ever be allowed in Room 17!).

One of our key new staff is David James who comes to us as our first Deputy Head Academic from his role as Head of IB at Wellington College. As an English teacher he is engaging in the classroom with a fair few Bryanstonians, new and returning, and I am much looking forward to watching him drive developments in the academic area. I’m also very pleased that he is here to help us remain a characteristic more-than-one-step-ahead of all the various changes in the examination sphere and he is, of course, charged in his wide-ranging brief with pushing the school onwards and upwards with individual as well as collective academic ambition and success. He’s already made a promising start.

So much for the nova. The vetera still thrives at Bryanston. Laurent Johnson and Pippa Quarrell each take on the role of Senior Tutor and their responsibility is to ensure all the new staff settle in and that the ever-evolving issue of appraisal (not a topic that gets many of us jumping out of bed in the morning) is further strengthened. Richard Boulton joins us from his role in charge of training for GB rowing as Head of Rowing at Bryanston and will build upon the loving work of Graham Elliot, who took care of the Boat Club for nearly 20 years. My own daughters owed their love of rowing to his work on the river. I know Richard will breathe an external gust into this rewarding corner of the school and I am looking forward to watching him coach aspiring Matthew Pinsents, Katherine Graingers and, more likely, lots of interested and enthusiastic youngsters who are starting in a boat for the first time ever.

There’s a sense of a new start every September and this September is no exception. I wish you all a fantastic beginning to your child’s new school year and hope to see lots of you at matches, concerts, and in the newly rebranded (Nero) Café!

Tagged  Reflection