May I offer my profuse and sincere apologies for the tardiness of this latest Headmaster’s ‘Blog. Along with various Governance Committees, I have been busily preparing for the annual Strategy Day and full Governors’ meeting which took place on Thursday. It was a great success and there are some really exciting plans afoot - more on those anon. I am, however, delighted to be back at my desk and able to focus once again on the day-to-day life of the school.
As always, the last few weeks have been action-packed: In sport, the U13 and U11 hockey teams have both qualified for the IAPS hockey finals, with the U11s travelling to Repton on 13th March and the U13s heading to Millfield the following Monday. The U12s also won the ESMS tournament. The girls, not to be outdone, have also had major success at netball – 4 Belhaven girls have been chosen to represent the Dandylions against the WOSPS at Kilgraston on 8th March and the U11s finished runners-up at the Ardvreck netball tournament. There has also been plenty of success at cross-country in the run up (sorry) to the IAPS Scottish Prep Schools cross-country here on Sunday. At the recent Compass School’s meeting at Preston Hall, the U12 boys won easily with the U10 girls finishing 2nd (just).
There has been plenty of to’ing and fro’ing either side of half term: I enjoyed wonderful visits to Ampleforth (my first), Fettes (again a first for me) and Marlborough (definitely not for the first time). We have also entertained Michael Osborne (erstwhile Headmaster) Gary Phillips (Oundle Registrar), and Geoff Thurman (Ampleforth) along with a hockey coach from Sedbergh and two children’s authors to our Book Fair.
Circus skills (feather balancing) and a visiting donkey during the Mansfield Music Cup
In terms of events at the school, we have had the Reels party (certainly another first for me) but great fun and some very impressive reeling by both parents and children; we had an afternoon of Circus Skills, to teach juggling, Diabolo, feather balancing, balloon sculpture, acrobatics and so on; Valentine’s Day came to Belhaven – that was a new experience; the Forms 1 & 2 took over Nando’s at Fort Kinnaird; we were entertained to nearly two hours of Patrol Music at the Mansfield Music Cup (won by the Owls.) We are just coming to the end of ‘Six Nations’ week where we have had a national dish each lunchtime including Coq au Vin, Lamb Cawl, Tortelloni, Haggis (obviously) and hot salmon on soda bread. We finish today with Steak (and ale?) pie followed by Eton Mess. This week the children have been to the Edinburgh Music festival where both the school choir and the chamber choir performed. We have also had heats 2 and 3 of Mastermind, in readiness for the grand final on 21st March.
During half term and this week, several more of our scholars have headed out to their prospective schools to sit their scholarships. We are still waiting on results from Uppingham and Fettes but I am delighted to report that they have already picked up two academic scholarships to Rugby, another to Loretto and an Art scholarship to Glenalmond, to go with the Sports and All-Rounder scholarships that have already been won. The rest of the Form 1s are sitting their mock Common Entrance results as I write....
Fun at John Muir Country park
We have had 5 children doing boarding 'taster' sessions this week and are now completely full, both in the Boys’ and the Girls’ houses for next term. In fact, we have so many children in the school for the Summer that we are going to have to create a fourth Dining Room!
Another Mastermind contestant faces the QM and the St. Valentine's Day postal service visits Belhaven
Next week, we have the final two days of Mock CE (I think it’s a great idea to do it over the weekend and give them a day off in the middle), Tuesday is French Day so probably more Coq au Vin, or perhaps Les Escargots? I also have Richard Moloney the new Headmaster of Uppingham coming to visit Belhaven for the first time. On Wednesday we have the Dandylions v. WOSPS netball, Hockey v Cargilfield and I am taking the Girls’ cricket team to an indoor festival at Loretto. Mrs. Knight’s Quail are also arriving then so hopefully there will soon be Belhaven Quails’ Eggs and duck eggs available. On Thursday the Debating team are off to Cargilfield to pit their wits against the brains of five other schools and there is also the hotly contested football match against West Barns Primary. Finally on Friday we have Forms 2, 4, 5 and 6 Parent Teacher meetings and, not to be left out, the Form 3 Concert, which promises to be an eye-opener. Busy, busy....
That is all.