Since announcing my intention to explore the possibility of establishing a small farm within the grounds of the School, I have been inundated with offers of help and guidance from staff, pupils and parents. Whilst I am determined to have a small herd of alpacas, I know that at least some of our boys and girls are trying to persuade me of the merits of rearing micro pigs!
Who knew that so many people connected with Rossall have such extensive experience of rearing alpacas? Similarly, I was surprised to learn that our new Director of the International Baccalaureate has completed a lambing course and feels confident that she could pull a lamb. My wife, who comes from a farming background is a little more cautious and keen to impress upon me the challenges associated with such an endeavour. However, as we begin to plan for this project (which we want to be led by the pupils), we would welcome any words of advice or offers of practical support.
Initially, this will be a very modest enterprise but I hope that Rossall Farm will develop over forthcoming years and thus provide an outdoor classroom within which boys and girls of all ages can learn about ecology, animal husbandry, sustainable energy and environmental concerns. An increasing number of Schools are developing smallholdings because the educational benefits of such projects transcends the classroom yet supports the formal curriculum. Young people benefit from the responsibility of caring for animals and there are numerous studies to attest to the hugely beneficial impact that keeping animals provides; especially in terms of supporting mental health and emotional wellbeing. This small-scale enterprise will enable us to make greater use of our fields. It is a project that will develop organically but, ultimately, it must be one which is actively led by our boys and girls. I am delighted that our members of Council are supportive of this initiative and I hope that it will begin to take shape next Spring. More details will follow!
It was a real pleasure to host the Fleetwood Music and Arts Festival this weekend and I am delighted that so many of our boys and girls participated so successfully.
Rossall Pupils clutching their prizes after a highly successful evening
The evening performance was a fabulous celebration of talent and I am tremendously proud of all those who participated. I am delighted that we have such a strong link with this wonderful initiative and this is just one regard in which we successfully work in partnership with the local community.
This week, we have been meeting with our current Fifth Formers in order to discuss their plans for the future. We have our Sixth Form Open Afternoon next Friday and I know that this will be an exciting event. Our Fifth Formers are a wonderful group of young people and it was an absolute privilege and joy to listen to them talk about their hopes and aspirations for the future. It is reassuring to know that they feel so positively about the School and are relishing the opportunity to join our Sixth Form in September 2019. They are engaging, eloquent and an outstanding credit to their parents. They are super company and what can be more inspiring than taking time out of a busy week to listen to them reflect upon their hopes and dreams for the future?
I am delighted that plans have now been drawn up for our new Sixth Form Study Centre and although we already offer an extensive list of Sixth Form qualifications, the addition of A Level Politics and the BTEC in Sports and Exercise Science are both developments which will serve to provide increasing choice for our students. As we move towards the Christmas season, I hope to have the opportunity to welcome as many of you as possible to School at this special time. In particular, it would be lovely to see you at the Family Carol Service at 5:00 pm on Sunday 9th December.
As the wind buffets the Hall and winter finally approaches, there is a real sense of optimism and excitement in the air. It is almost difficult for us to imagine a life before Rossall and that is undoubtedly due to the friendliness, warmth and strength of this very special community. Life on the Fylde coast is unbeatable!