From the Headmaster
|Does anything really matter? |
It was a rainy morning in the Spring of 1984. Raindrops slid lazily down the panes of the windows in the prefab classroom of my primary school. The baby thrush which we had adopted some weeks earlier flew around the classroom, cheerfully relieving itself on any available surface (including our books, desks and heads). A smell of chalk, and curdling milk pervaded the air. Why did the milk monitors always leave the little bottles with their foil tops right next to the hot water pipes?
On this particular morning, we were doing maths. We did not have textbooks and there were no interactive televisions, digital projectors or tablets. Instead, we worked through handwritten laminated cards. They were numbered, colour-coded and seemingly endless. I was not one of life’s natural mathematicians and at the age of seven, my frustration with the subject was already self-evident. On that particular morning, I had not made sufficient progress or, seemingly, worked with sufficient enthusiasm. As I went up to Mrs Smith’s desk to collect the latest card, she looked disapprovingly at me and said, ‘Why are you still on card 46? John is already working his way through card 59?’ Indeed, John, the very picture of perfection, was quietly working his way through some complex calculation. For all I know, John is now regius professor of mathematics at Oxford University.
I remember tears of indignation pricking my eyes. I looked at Mrs Smith and shrugged my shoulders before storming off back to my desk and spending the rest of the morning in something of a sulk. I was silently furious and over thirty five years later, the memory of that feeling is really vivid. Nine months previously, my father had died suddenly. I had changed schools, moved a hundred miles away and, well, life had been turned upside down. Nothing much seemed to matter – definitely not maths! I sat at my little desk feeling embarrassed, ashamed and angry to have had my ‘lack of progress’ highlighted in front of my class. Around the same time, concerns were raised about my writing. Like many left-handed people, I did not hold my pen correctly and I routinely reversed letters. In the eighties, there was still something of a stigma attached to having an identifiable learning need. In my school, it meant the threat of being sent to see Mrs Fisher who resided in a rusty old caravan parked in some wasteland behind the school. The school could not have made one feel more awkward if it had actively sought to do so.
This moment of despair and indifference passed and I enjoyed school in most respects. When I was training to teach, I remember a Year 8 boy telling me with an air of defiance that he did not care whether or not he completed the assignment that I was urging him to focus upon. His father was up in court the following morning and he was anxious that he would be sent to prison yet again. Viewed logically, he had a point. His life was falling apart and yet I was urging him to complete a piece of work on the Magna Carta. Jake had more pressing concerns such as the need to console his Mum and look after his baby sister. King John seemed wholly irrelevant.
It is reasonable enough for young people to reflect upon whether or not the expectations articulated by a school community matter. Viewed alongside deforestation, global pandemics and climate change, the length of one’s hair or the use of a mobile phone in or around a school campus do not seem especially important. Similarly, for the seven year old me, grief seemed to make a mockery of the expectations of my teacher. In hindsight though, I think she was right to hold me to account. Perhaps the fabric of a normal childhood is dependent upon parents and teachers working together to ensure that expectations and boundaries are maintained – after all my despondency and nihilism were not contributing to my well being.
High expectations are not antithetical to compassion and understanding. Whilst my teacher might have handled the situation better, a little bit of the adult me is grateful that I was challenged. These days, we would have acted with much greater sensitivity. Her expectation was reasonable but the manner with which it was communicated felt upsetting.
All of our children have experienced disruption during the last fourteen months. Much of this time has been spent entirely free from the expectations of living as part of a school community and this creates a challenge when we return to pick up the threads.
Online learning and working from home are essentially individualistic and rather lonely scenarios. At the weekend, I listened as my brother-in-law told me that his company has now become a ‘working from home’ outfit. Whilst he will not miss the commute, he will definitely miss the social aspect of being part of a community. It is a bit dismal that the kitchen table has now become his place of work. It is great for the company in terms of saving money but perhaps not so good for long term mental health. This atomisation of society is an aspect of the pandemic that I feel we must resist at all costs.
We are better and stronger when we are members of communities not least because we are also valued and loved. We are essentially social beings. Alone, we are prone to endless introspection and freedom often means absence from structure, expectations and responsibilities. Of course, communities are colourful, exciting and problematic but being part of something bigger than ourselves serves to give our lives meaning. Individually, a school’s expectations can appear irksome. Collectively, they serve to provide a rhythm and structure within which privileges are balanced with responsibilities. Most importantly, we are invited to be considerate of others.
The last year has taken a lot and to be part of a community so joyously bursting back into life is tremendously exciting. What is abundantly apparent to me now, is that everything really does matter and that when life is tough or there has been a period of intense change, familiar routines and reasonable expectations help provide a framework that has a value beyond the particular.
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Junior Headmaster
When I was in primary school, there was only one sports team; the football team. Year 5 and Year 6 were given the opportunity to have trials to make the first eleven and if you were unsuccessful, there was never another chance to represent your school. I missed out and never got to experience playing for my primary school. One of the things I am most proud of here, is the plentiful chances afforded the pupils to play in fixtures against other schools whilst representing Rossall. This week, we have watched children from Year 2 to Year 6 playing sports against a number of other schools in fixtures for football, cricket, hockey and netball. Not only that, but we had numerous teams out at all age groups. It is such a pleasure to watch the pride that the children hold in playing for Rossall. Participation is absolutely key but it would be remiss of me not to offer huge congratulations to our Year 3 footballers, who beat off all local opposition to be crowned champions of a large cup competition on Tuesday – their first time playing for School.
The children have enjoyed a wide variety of experiences through this week. Years 4 and 5 were curious as they listened to Dr Lister talk about our solar system and the universe but wowed as they lay back in the planetarium whilst being introduced to the night sky, focusing on how to find the North Star and the Dog Star using the Plough and Orion. They asked some fabulous questions based on some of their own research – why does Uranus spin on its side?; how far is the nearest star and how long would it take to get there?; what are the chances of life on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, given there is water on it? If you want to know the answers to the questions, ask a Year 4 or 5! It is fair to say that Dr Lister was impressed as he was put through his paces. The children are already working on their questions for their next visit in two weeks! Down in Pre-Prep, Reception have been on a bear hunt, Year 1 have been digging on the beach and Year 2 have been writing instruction booklets for looking after your dragon; just a normal week in Pre-Prep!
As the term begins to grow some momentum, the opportunities on offer to the children continue to follow suit. The Year 6 children have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Bikeability through the week. The organisation of this course is difficult given the bike travel into school and I would like to thank the parents for their support – I know that the children are getting a great deal out of learning about road safety, as well as their responsibilities whilst riding. Opportunities such as these offer the chance to learn and acquire new skills that could never be truly embedded in a classroom and I have been impressed by the approach that our oldest Prep pupils have displayed.
Have a great weekend.
Headmaster of Rossall Nursery and Preparatory School
|NURSERY, PRE-PREP & PREP SCHOOL NEWS|
Please click here for this week’s Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School Newsletter.
|May Day Bank Holiday –|
Monday, 3rd May 2021
Just a quick message to confirm that the school will be open as usual on Monday, 3rd May with all lessons and activities taking place.
All pupils should attend as normal.
|A CRACKING START TO THE CRICKET SEASON|
The 1st XI Boys’ Cricket Team took on Kirkham in the National Twenty20 cup fixture on 28th April 2021 at Kirkham & Wesham CC Rossall posted 157-4 off their 20 overs against Kirkham. Harry McAleer scored 53* off 40 balls. In reply, Kirkham were bowled out for 89. Joey Warwick was the pick of the bowlers taking 5-2 off 2.3 overs. Well done, boys! For the full match report, please click here.
|LEONIE PROMOTED TO LANCE CORPORAL|
Yesterday, Mrs Riley, OC of the RAF section of the CCF promoted Leonie Beswick to LCpl. Leonie has been a dedicated member of the CCF and has been pivotal in the development of her peers and rightly deserves a promotion. Well done, Leonie!
|I WANT TO RIDE MY BICYCLE|
Year 6 took part in two days of bike-ability training this week, helping them to learn new skills and build confidence through cycling. The programme was run by Sporting NRG, Bike Ability UK and Wyre & Fylde Schools Partnership.
|GOOD SCHOOLS GUIDE REVIEW|
We were recently visited by the Good Schools Guide who commented that: A warm, happy and inclusive environment energised by a vision and challenge that is clearly helping all pupils to meet their potential. Staff and pupils seem to genuinely love it here and more and more parents are keen for their children to have a Rossall education. There’s not much higher praise you can offer than that.”
You can read the full review here: https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/schools/rossall-school-fleetwood/4BCDF75#tab_review
|ROSE VALENTINE’S CHARITY EVENT|
As a part of the Rose House project, the girls held a Valentine’s Charity Event back in February, where they sold roses, handmade cupcakes, cookies and hand-drawn cards within the Rossall boarding community.
It was a great success and they are delighted to announce that they managed to raise £120 to the Malala Fund, where young girls will be given the opportunity to be educated.
Thank you to the Rose girls and also those who have supported the girls and helped them to make this fantastic opportunity happen!
|CALLING ALL GOLFERS|
ROSSALLIAN GOLF SOCIETY
Autumn Meeting at Ganton Golf Club, North Yorkshire on 28th September 2021
Light lunch from 11.00am, 18 holes Stableford Competition from 12.00 Noon, followed by dinner. £135.00 per player.
Please apply to Arthur Stephenson (Hon Sec Rossall Golf Society).
|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE|
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Max and Ryan Enjoy Corridors
Eco-Warrior Max, as we know, has many interests. One of them is walking up and down corridors with his Eco-Warrior side-kick, Ryan.
One day they decide to mix it up a bit and try and measure the length of a corridor using only the palms of their hands.
The length of Max’s palm is 22cm, correct to the nearest cm.
The length of Ryan’s palm is 18cm, correct to the nearest cm.
Max measures the corridor to be exactly 45 palm lengths.
Ryan measures the corridor to be exactly 54 palm lengths.
Work out the distances between which the actual length of the corridor must lie.
ANSWER: (CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW)
|Congratulations to Jess Watson in Year 13 who supplied the first correct response to last week’s puzzle. There were 8 correct answers last week so the numbers are looking good. Here is the new puzzle.|
As with all of the previous puzzles, this one is based on true events (more or less)
.Jess and the Cloud Squirrel
Jess often daydreams of the year she lived amongst the Red Squirrels of Scotland. She only left after discovering she had an acorn allergy. One day Jess was scampering about the school grounds, thinking of the good old days when she looked up in the sky and saw a cloud, a Squirrel cloud!!
This, as you can imagine, stopped Jess in her tracks. Now Jess knows that a Squirrel is about 20cm tall and at that point, Jess saw a Boeing 747 fly out of the cloud Squirrel’s nose and she was then able to use the fact that as a Boeing 747 is 76m long, she could work out that the cloud Squirrel was roughly 1.5km tall. A true Cloud Squirrel-zilla!
If the Cloud Squirrel was a full 3D squirrel from every orientation Jess could then estimate how many real Red Squirrels could fit inside the cloud Squirrel.
So, how many? (Give your answer to 2 significant figures)
As always the person who supplies me with the first correct answer will become the subject of the next puzzle.
If anyone knows of any particularly fun or interesting maths puzzles then feel free to send them to me and I may well butcher them, I mean use them in a future maths puzzle of the week!
Remember to send your answer to: [email protected]
|To view all of our sports fixtures and results, please visit: https://www.rossallsport.org.uk/|
The password to view the teamsheets is: rossallsport
|In celebration of the launch of our International Piano Academy and forthcoming ‘All-Steinway School’ status, we are hosting our very first International Piano Competition.|
The inaugural event will take place this Spring, providing an excellent performance platform for current students as well as young pianists from schools and colleges from across the world.
This year the competition is being held online, however, in future years the competition final will be held on campus.
The competition will comprise three categories: age 12 and under, age 15 and under and age 17 and under, and the deadline for submission of entries is Friday 28th May 2021.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ENTER THE COMPETITION
|ROSSALL’S INTERNATIONAL PIANO ACADEMY|
We are delighted to announce the launch of Rossall’s International Piano Academy – the first of its kind in the UK!
“The Rossall International Piano Academy is committed to providing a world-class musical education, enabling our pianists to develop the skills, confidence and tenacity required to achieve their fullest musical potential.” Mr Jeremy Quartermain, Headmaster.
Our commitment to providing an outstanding musical education for future generations of pianists has been further enabled by Rossall becoming an All-Steinway School from early Summer, 2021.
Rossall’s very own Film Festival returns for a SECOND YEAR!
The TWO-MINUTE FILM FESTIVAL is open to ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE – all you need to do is create a film that runs for 120 seconds or less!
You can find out everything you need to know (including last year’s entries and ROSSCARS!) from this year’s site:
Closing date for submissions: Sunday 4th July
ROSSCARS Awards Ceremony: Wednesday 7th July
|PREPARATORY INSTRUMENTAL LESSONS|
At Rossall Preparatory School, all pupils have the opportunity to receive one-to-one instrumental tuition.
Whether students wish to learn purely for fun or to achieve ABRSM/Trinity/Rock School qualifications, we have a dedicated team of expert teachers to support and guide them along the way.
Lessons take place before, during and after the school day (subject to availability). Students who take instrumental lessons will have the opportunity to participate in co-curricular clubs and perform in school concerts and external events.
We offer tuition in: Piano, Organ, Singing, Guitar, Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Flute, Bassoon, Oboe, Saxophone, Clarinet, Drums, Violin and Cello.
Lesson packages of 10 one-to-one sessions (30 minutes each) cost £210.
In the Summer Term, we are launching shared 30-minute violin lesson packages for students who are interested in playing the instrument. The loan of a violin, equipment and music is all included in the cost of the package, which is £105 per child for 10 sessions.
Please click here to apply for instrumental lessons.
All fees are subject to periodic increase in accordance with Rossall School’s Terms and Conditions. Please note that a half-term’s notice is required to cancel lessons.
If you have any questions regarding instrumental lessons at Rossall Preparatory School, please contact Mr Adam Dobson on[email protected]uk.