I can’t believe that it was a month ago that I last posted – I will try to update you on all that has been going on since my last ramble.
Perhaps, most importantly, we have appointed a new Housemistress and a Director of Studies, both of whom will take up their posts in September. Talking to friends who run prep schools down south, they can expect up to 50 or 60 applications for these positions in their schools; whilst we did not have quite that many, the calibre of both the long and short-listed of candidates was outstanding. From those who were invited to visit Belhaven for interview, all wanted to work here (who wouldn’t?) and we were left with some very difficult decisions to make. We could not be more delighted with the choices we have made and very much look forward to welcoming them both to Belhaven in September.
The stream of scholarship candidates heading off for their awards has continued in earnest and, since my last missive, we have picked up further awards from Fettes, Oundle, Strathallan and Glenalmond, bringing the total number of scholarships this year to 11 so far. Those not doing academic scholarships have been sitting mock Common Entrance, the results of which are all looking very positive indeed for some outstanding grades in June; the work ethic among all the Form 1 children remains incredibly strong. They also sat the SATIPS General Knowledge challenge but sadly didn’t trouble the leader board – more work needed there, I feel!
Sport at Belhaven continued to go from strength to strength – although the Boys 1st XI hockey team lost a match for the only time this season (against Cargilfield), vengeance came quickly in the shape of the Strathallan 7s tournament which they won, beating Cargilfield 4-3 in the final. Not to be outdone, the Girls 1st netball team was competing in the Ardvreck Netball Tournament on the same day, winning the final against Cargilfield and, by bizarre coincidence, 4-3. Two very close finals, played in exactly the right spirit – that is prep school sport at its very best. Speaking of which, 4 boys were selected to play for the Dandylions hockey team against the Fettes U15A side (captained by an Old Belhavian). Although conditions were tough (freezing, driving rain in Edinburgh), it was a magnificent match and the score finished 2-2; honours even.
In other sport, and no less importantly, we hosted the S.I.S.I.C.C.C (Scottish Independent Schools Invitational Cross-Country Challenge) in the John Muir country park. There were 360 runners from 13 different schools – the largest number of competitors ever – followed by our version of the ‘Feeding of the 5000’ – match tea for 500, in the Sports Hall. It was a super event.
There has been a huge amount of interest in Girls’ cricket too, both at Belhaven and beyond, and we are keen that the girls should play more. To this end, we arranged an indoor fixture against Loretto but having just put the stage up in the Sports Hall, discovered that we then had nowhere to play. We shall rearrange for next week, hopefully.
Talking of staging and plays, next Saturday sees the one and only performance of the senior play - ‘Grease’. As it was one of the very first films I ever went to see at the cinema, I can’t wait. Over the last few weeks there has been an influx of white T shirts, black jeans, leather jackets and brylcreem for the boys; pink scarves, poodle (?) skirts and bomber jackets for the girls. It’s going to be epic ...
In other news, we took all the boarders to the Dunbar Leisure Pool last Saturday, where they had sole use of the swimming baths, slides, wave machine etc. The younger boarders are off to the Fingers and Thumbs Pottery Café on Sunday (to make ashtrays, or whatever one makes for Mothering Sunday these days) and there are further trips next week to ‘Joseph’, ‘Cabaret’ and Bamburgh Castle, whilst the senior boys head south to Millfield to take part in the IAPS National hockey finals.
This Friday, the Form 6 children gave a fabulous assembly (which they had written themselves) about what goes on in the Staff Room, with each of them playing a member of staff. It seemed to mostly consist of me walking into the staff room at break time, spilling my coffee everywhere, breaking the photocopier, encouraging the staff to dance and then expelling some poor child or other (or member of staff) for being a menace. It was hysterical but I wonder if it is not time to introduce a Staff Revue at the end of term, to give the staff the opportunity to get their own back?!
(Pictured: The new Headmaster!)
The final few days of term will see the 6 Nations winners’ lunch – at the moment looking very much like Glamorgan sausage and laverbread; Mothers v Daughters netball (always a lurid and vicious affair) and Father v Sons hockey; the aforementioned school play; a lunchtime performance by the school orchestra; Patrol hockey & netball; the Mastermind Final and Easter Fun and Games, including the now traditional Easter Egg hunt: “The Easter Bunny’s Leaking Pannier” – what more could you possibly want?
That is all.
Henry Knight, 19/03/2019