Be Ingenious

Be-Ingenious-1As we arrive at another well-earned weekend ‘out’, I look back and continue to be amazed by the amount that is crammed into a 12 day ‘stretch’.
The Seniors had a fascinating lecture on working for the BBC, given by Tara Reeve, a Downe House Housemistress who, like so many of us, had a life before teaching! There were workshops given by the NSPCC on Tuesday and the whole school dressed as their favourite film character, raising money for the NSPCC. This was a judged competition and the winners were: Tiger Lily from Peter Pan and Hank the Octopus from Finding Dory.

I attended the IAPS District 11 meeting where the Scottish Prep School Heads discussed the new Age Grade Variations being introduced into school rugby from this year (more on that at a later date) and also teachers’ pensions – it looks as though I will be working well into my 70s!

On Wednesday the girls went to Kilgraston and won the Rounders competition there – gongs for all but no trophy as last year’s winners (who shall remain nameless) forgot to bring it. The boys had some very successful cricket against Loretto.

On Thursday we sent a team to the Strathallan Prep School Clay Pigeon championships, with one boy finishing third overall and in the evening the Belhaven Hill Turf Club had their inaugural outing to Musselburgh races – there is a separate report on this elsewhere.

The Form 2s went off to Hadrian’s Wall on Friday and on Saturday there was a hugely successful Inside / Out morning attended by 20 prospective children and their parents. The school was bathed in beautiful, warm sunshine and the whole event was able to take place outside. In the evening, the PTFA organized a magnificent Race Night and raised a huge amount of money both for a local charity and for a new theatre stage for Belhaven. I am hugely grateful to them all.

Sadly, I was away on Sunday but apparently the sermon given by the first of our academic scholars was quite superb. It was commented on by all who attended (it was a capacity crowd) and many congratulated him afterwards – he was even given a round of applause; something that has never happened to me in 9 years of preaching! A copy of his sermon was very kindly left on my desk – I shall squirrel it away and use it (as my own) in a few years’ time!

This week there have been matches against Riley House, ESMS, St. Mary’s and Cargilfield and we have also competed in a Swimming Gala at Merchiston. Whilst we are on the subject of swimming, we are now getting far more use out of the outdoor pool than ever before; this is due to two initiatives brought in by the Sports Department. The first is the PESTS (Pretty Early Swimming Training Sessions) who meet at 07:15 on a Tuesday and Thursday for swimming before breakfast. The second is that we now have a coach from Dunbar who comes on a Tuesday evening and sees all the boarders from Form 5 up to Form 2 after tea and after prep. These initiatives are immensely popular and a huge success so far.

Today there is a musical performance by all children in Forms 2-6 before the weekend ‘out’ begins and over the weekend both our U13 and U11 sides will be competing at the Glenalmond 6s.

When we return, Common Entrance gets under way with Mental Maths on Monday, followed by French Listening on Tuesday and French Speaking on Thursday and Friday; we are moving inexorably to the business end of the term.

Finally, I’d like to share this with you. One of the Form 1s was most dismayed to receive in the post from his brother a copy of The Scots Dialect Dictionary…..
However, this intellectual melancholy was lifted as he opened the book to discover that it was simply a way of smuggling contraband into the school.
10 points for ingenuity.
That is all.

Henry Knight, 14/05/2018