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Dear Parents and Carers,

So here we are, at the end of the Christmas term! It seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye, and yet I am sure I speak on behalf of all staff and students when I say we are looking forward to a few weeks to rest; it has been hard earned.

In writing this final newsletter of the year, I re-visited my initial letter to parents at the end of August, where I wrote about my hope that we would be able to return to running our outstanding extra-curricular programme this term after the horribly disruptive pandemic, and it is fair to say that it has exceeded expectations. The number of students who are active outside the classroom has never been higher, whether it be on the river, the rugby pitch, the stage, or the various academic societies that have also been running. It has been inspiring to see the boys throw themselves back into school life, and I am so grateful to the staff who continue to go above and beyond to provide these opportunities.

In that initial letter, I also suggested that we may be able to get through the year without being further disrupted by coronavirus. This has, thankfully, been the case through most of the year, and cases have remained relatively low throughout the term. However, there is no doubt that the threat of the Omicron variant is one that lies in the future as well as the present, and we will keep our fingers crossed that we are able to return in January to a better picture, both nationally and locally. Should there be any need to communicate with you before the start of next term, I will of course do so.

When I met with Miss Reznikova in the summer, she likened the role of Headship in the pandemic to being on a rollercoaster ride, with highs and lows, twists and turns, and a surprise around every corner. I have certainly felt that this week! On Tuesday, we made the very difficult decision to cancel the Carol Service, which is one of the highlights of the year. I am particularly sorry for those in Year 13 and Year 11, as for many, this would have been their last chance to experience it. All we can do is react and adapt to the situation, and I can assure you that the church will be packed again, and we will sing louder than ever!

After the low of having to make that decision, I was able to go to Maidenhead Rugby Club on Tuesday afternoon to watch our U14 rugby players in the County Cup Final, against Reading Blue Coat, which was a wonderful experience. The boys won 35-5, a comprehensive win, playing expansive and exciting rugby, and to see a team at the start of their school journey playing with such confidence and skill was a real pleasure. As I watched the boys celebrating on the final whistle, it struck me again just how much the students have missed out on these experiences in the last 18 months. It was not about the result, it was about the feeling of togetherness, comradeship, and friendship that the extra-curricular programme, in all it’s forms, can bring. We will continue to provide these opportunities wherever possible.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for making me feel so welcome over the course of the first term; I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the staff, students and parents, and look forward to another busy term after Christmas, but before then, enjoy the break, enjoy your family and friends and stay safe. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Best Wishes,

 

Sean Furness
Headteacher