Head’s Weekly Letter – 11th January

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Dear Parents,

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas break and a peaceful new year with your family and friends. Elizabeth and I were delighted to welcome our family to Durham to spend time together which involved many long journeys to gather everyone from London and Cornwall. The season of Christmas is still with us until Candlemas on 2nd February and it is good to revel in this very special time throughout the month of January.  Candlemas is the traditional end of the Christmas season. Whether our Christmas tree will survive with a majority of its needles until this date, is already a matter of debate in our house!

At our beginning of term service we were able to reflect upon the visit of the Wise Men to the stable in Bethlehem and especially upon their symbolic gifts and what they might encourage in us. Christina Rossetti’s poem has the answer: What can I give him? Give him my heart.’ We have returned to school this week full of resolutions for the future and it was good to hear this morning from children in Gold and 2nd Form about good intentions for example ‘better concentration in class’, ‘keeping kit and belongings tidy and safe’ and ‘learning to play the guitar’. Let us hope that these have been achieved by the end of the year!

Good luck to the 6th Form
Many children in the 6th Form are preparing for scholarship and entrance examinations at present as well as working towards their mock CE exams just before half term. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them every success in these endeavours. Their reward will be a residential trip to Askrigg Outward Bound Centre at the start of half term.

Matches this week
Both the boys and the girls have already been in action in matches with the boys U13 Footballers battling hard against NSB to eventually lose 5-3. The girls fared better against the Hermitage and Polam Hall with a convincing win for the U13 Netball team of 22-2 amongst the results.

New Staff
This term we welcome Mrs Wicks to the teaching staff. She will be teaching Maths and English in 1st and 2nd Form alongside the Form Teachers. Mr Lee and Mrs Crinson take up their joint role of Director of Music. Mr Lee is Director of Music – Academic and Choral and Mrs Crinson is Director of Music – Instrumental and Choral.  Our new gap students are Miss Clarke from South Africa and Mr Millican from Australia who will be with us until the end of the Michaelmas term.

Choristers
The choristers were singing in the Cathedral until the end of Christmas Day and their contribution to the worship and liturgy of the Cathedral was outstanding in the period after the end of term. They gave a magnificent performance of Handel’s Messiah to a packed Cathedral, including several solos. They learnt a tremendous amount of new music for the services in the Christmas period. Three choristers sang the theme song from The Snowman with orchestra in three live screenings in the Cathedral of this iconic film.  Next Sunday, 20th January, the boys will sing at the Epiphany Procession at 3.30pm. Well done to them all and my profound thanks to the dedicated house staff who looked after them during the chorister period.

Middle School Open Afternoon for Gold and Silver
Next Wednesday, 16th January, parents of children in Silver and Gold are invited to come into Middle School to meet the staff, hear about the transition from Pre-Prep and have an opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.

E-Safety Presentation to Parents of 4th, 5th and 6th Form
On Thursday, 17th January, we will present information with regard to keeping your children safe online. The digital world is moving very quickly and parents need to stay one step ahead of their children if we are to understand all the issues that could arise. This supports the work that is ongoing in school with the children.

Thank you from Durham Foodbank
You will remember the Cathedral Advent Appeal ‘24 gifts in 24 days’. The Chorister School collected 208.38kg of food which we are told was sufficient to provide 280 meals. This is a magnificent total and I would like to add my thanks to everyone who contributed to this appeal.

In these dark January days I hope that you will find some light relief this weekend with your children.

With very best wishes
Ian Wicks
Headmaster

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