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There is change in the air here at Bryanston. At the end of term, a cohort of our pupils and some long-serving members of staff will be leaving for pastures new. Many of the pupils will have spent two, three, four or five years at this most amazing of places to live and work.
In many ways change can be unsettling. We ask ourselves ‘What is it going to be like?’ or ‘Will it be the same?’ At times of change we might look to the future with a sense of uncertainty or anxiety.
But there is no need to worry. Schools are experts at change. Every year at least one fifth of our cohort leave and another vast number, thanks to our amazing Registrar, Anne Megdiche, prepare to join us. Our academic curriculum at Bryanston is constantly changing; it is dynamic, and it is adapted and improved on each year. More often than not, exam boards themselves make significant changes to their syllabus. Our co-curriculum is similarly adaptable, with new opportunities being presented as requested, desired and/or according to staff expertise and interests. It is in the DNA of schools that they must and should adapt and change. Any organisation not willing to change is not fit for purpose.
Of course, there are things that do not change: things that will still be familiar to those leaving now as when they come back on their 10th, 20th or even 70th anniversary reunions. The main school building and the vastness of our grounds will remain the same. At a recent OB event, the significant building programme that has been undertaken over the past decade was noted but there was also a recognition that the positive ethos of the School remains unchanged.
The idea of change is embedded in our school motto: et nova et vetera. It reminds each of us that we should retain all the good about the old, and embrace the future with welcome arms.
Having et nova et vetera at the heart of our school community ensures that we prepare our most valuable asset, our young people, to be able to embrace change and be resilient when faced with it. This will equip them for life beyond these school grounds.
For me, the example of Jesus Christ is the ultimate role model when it comes to embracing change. He constantly challenged those around him to examine and re-evaluate the reasons behind the values and traditions of his time. As I write, the Church has just celebrated Whitsun, or Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus’ disciples. From that moment they stopped becoming disciples or followers, and became apostles, teachers of the Good News of Jesus and the love of God. They helped change, transform and enrich (for the most part) the lives of countless people. Without embracing the Holy Spirit, the message of Jesus would probably not have spread so far and so quickly.
Whatever you may or may not believe spiritually, I am sure you appreciate the importance of being willing and able to face change, adapt and, where possible, make the most of any new opportunities that may arise.
After 11 very happy years at Bryanston, it is time for the Haviland family to embrace a significant change. We have been asked a number of times if any of us are anxious or nervous about leaving: it would be foolish to say we weren’t. However, we are also looking forward to a new challenge in a different context. To be Chaplain to a community like Bryanston has been very special. To be able to be alongside people at significant times in their lives is a huge privilege that I have never taken for granted. Building relationships has been key and moving on from these will be a massive wrench: I have got to know well many amazing people. In the school church, in these last 11 years, over 500 members of our community have been confirmed, 105 have been baptised, about 50 couples have been married or had their marriage blessed, and there have been a number of significant funerals or memorial services. For each one of these, I have had the chance to get to know each person or family really well. As important has been the valuable time spent being around for others in our community – to smile, chat and encourage where I can. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.
Life as Chaplain is thoroughly enjoyable, but also demanding. I could not have carried out the role without the support and encouragement of the Bryanston community, led by Sarah Thomas. This has allowed me the professional time and space to carry out my duties. Just as important has been the love and care I have received from my wife, Jo, and my three boys, George, James and Charlie. Thank you.
Like all in our community who are leaving at the end of this term, the Havilands leave with many happy memories acquired here at Bryanston. These will stay with us in our new life beyond the school gates and we will cherish them. The vibrant Bryanston alumni community, which all leavers are invited to join, will allow us to continue to be connected with the wider Bryanston family.
So, let us embrace the change that is coming with hope, wherever it will take us. Rest assured that Bryanston is in good hands. The Revd Jo Davis will be taking the baton from me as Chaplain in September. I commend her to you. With those who are staying and those who are arriving, the School will continue to go from strength to strength. And may God continue to bless this community with His love, joy and peace.
Et nova et vetera!
The Reverend Canon Andrew M J Haviland
The Chaplain, Bryanston School