From the Headmaster
In the UK alone, the wellbeing industry is worth a whopping £23 billion a year. Self-help books often top the best-sellers list and celebrities as diverse as Stephen Fry, Prince Harry and Joey Essex have all helped to raise the profile of mental health issues. However, the intensely self-revealing approach adopted by documentaries such as BBC3’s ‘My Grief and Me’ can make for deeply uncomfortable viewing. As the tears roll and we feel the intense pain of the celebrity in the counsellor’s chair, it can feel voyeuristic and exploitative. On the other hand, we do need to encourage young people to become more emotionally articulate and there is an undoubted sincerity and courage to those who are prepared to be vulnerable and face their demons in public.
The good news is that we are talking about mental health like never before. The bad news is that, despite this, the nation’s mental health appears to be deteriorating. Recent media reports have highlighted the increase in incidents of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. The challenges of the pandemic have had a profound impact upon mental health but the difficulties experienced by so many young people are often linked to hardship, abuse, bullying, assault and domestic violence. Even in the absence of such factors, young lives are often complex and the pernicious influence of social media and peer pressure often leads to depression, anxiety and the development of eating disorders. As parents, we naturally want to protect our children from those influences which will potentially undermine their confidence and sense of self worth but the greatest form of protection is education not control. As a school leader and father of three daughters, I do worry about the immense pressure placed upon young people.
Recently, I listened to an episode of the Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4 during which Michael Burke wryly observed that, despite the elaborate promises of self-help books and positive psychology gurus, more pills are popped than ever before. Frustratingly, happiness often appears elusive when it is actively pursued as an end in itself. Since classical times, philosophers such as Epicurus and Jeremy Bentham have tried to identify the secret to a happy life. Neuroscientists at University College, London have even gone as far as reducing happiness to an equation. In case you are wondering, it is:
The Himmalayan kingdom of Bhutan measures gross domestic happiness in much the same way as other countries attempt to measure domestic product. Finland is apparently the happiest country in the world despite its long summer nights and dark winter days. So what can we learn about the pursuit of happiness? Certainly those who claim to hold the keys to our future happiness might just be out to make a fast buck at our expense.
First and foremost, happiness is an emotion or a pleasurable feeling that results from a sense of fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need prioritises the importance of our psychological needs. Relationships and friendships are important in this regard as most of us really do need to feel loved and valued. Validation of our hard work and the achievement of goals serves to boost our self-esteem. We thrive on the appreciation expressed by those around us because it gives meaning to our actions. Psychologists often refer to the positive impact of achieving ‘flow’. Being totally immersed in an activity to the extent that we are entirely focused provides a much needed relief from external worries and the negative impact of self-doubt.
One of the guests on last week’s Moral Maze advanced the view that being content is increasingly perceived as a distinguishing privilege which sets one apart in a manner which might be viewed negatively by others. Personally, I doubt that this is the case but it is not always possible to discern the positive impact of endless self-flagellating introspection. It is common to hear a public figure talk enthusiastically about ‘working’ on themselves and no celebrity story is complete without a backstory that contains a redemptive element. What in previous generations would have existed in the shadows is now considered excellent fodder for tabloid journalists. The headline might scream ‘my drugs hell’, but we know that the message will be one of recovery and hope. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this. In moderation it is inspiring but in excess, it becomes a worn trope that may have unforeseen consequences for those who perceive a sense of glamour, excitement and fascination with such destructive narratives.
There is nothing we want more than for our children to be happy but we must also allow them to experience a full range of emotions authentically. Life is beautiful and there are so many moments of joy that we should embrace and cherish. However, life is also challenging and punctuated by loss, sadness and anxiety. We should be teaching children to embrace all of these emotions rather than promoting the entirely unreasonable notion that every waking moment should be filled with bliss. Our children should know that it is fine to be sad at times and that anxiety is a fundamental aspect of the human condition. Being alive, being an empathetic, compassionate and sentient being means there is an inevitability that we are going to experience a broad range of emotions ranging from deep pain to incredible joy.
I do think that we should be helping young people to self-regulate and embrace these emotions rather than encouraging them to believe that unbridled happiness is the only healthy state of being. The US Constitution does refer to the pursuit of happiness but in the eighteenth century the very word happiness had a different connotation and referred specifically to ‘prosperity and wellbeing’.It dealt more with a material state of affairs than an ethereal emotion or feeling. The pursuit of happiness was fundamental to capitalist ideology.
A uniformly happy life would make for a dull autobiography. An emotionally intense life that contains success, failures and the sense of loss that is the price that we pay for love is much more interesting. In any case, is it not the case that all great works of art emanate from a sense of internal discord, longing or struggle? Our lives are enriched by those who have a story to tell and those who commit to accomplishing great things.
If we truly want to live life in all of its vivid technicolour glory then let’s stop punishing ourselves with self-help books, endless diets and such like. Let’s model for our children what it is to truly live in the moment – free from the punishing expectations and pressure placed on us by social media, peer pressure, and all the other factors that can serve to diminish us.
Let’s laugh, smile, embrace the moment and, when our children are feeling worried or sad, let’s not immediately catastrophize it or lead them to believe that it is an unsolvable problem. Positive mental health flows from an acceptance of the human condition rather than an absorption with unrealistic or unattainable ideals which, if ever realised, would probably not make us at all happy. Finally, I am reminded of my friend at school who wrote a short story about heaven. He imagined that he had gone to heaven and was sitting on a cloud drinking wine, laughing and enjoying himself. After a little while he grew bored and voiced his frustration with the chap sitting next to him. ‘Ah no, Tom’ replied the chap, ‘This is not heaven, this is hell!’.
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School
Message from the Junior Headmaster
The pupils have returned refreshed and ready for an exceptionally busy half term. It is clear they enjoyed their break but are absolutely relishing the new topics and opportunities that the term is already affording them.
From the cricket and rounders fixtures on Wednesday, to our tennis fixtures yesterday, and the chance to view a partial solar eclipse alongside Dr Lister, the term has started at an incredible pace. It is scary to think that there are only 20 school days left of this academic year. We have a great deal to cram into such a relatively short space of time.
In assembly this week, we listened to ‘You are my Sunshine’, a song that is sung by many parents to their children. We looked at why this is the case, concluding that the sun is so central to the solar system, as the children are to their parents’ lives. The warmth from the sun and the light that it emits are just the same for the children when they smile or show love. Equally, when the clouds cover the sun just as our mood may sometimes change, it can change the way we present ourselves. I am pleased that we have so many children around School who are clearly in such a positive frame of mind, given their beaming smiles.
Shining brightly, we would all like to offer our congratulations to both Jude and Isaac who have signed for Fleetwood Town FC Academy over recent weeks. I am positive that they will both go on to be successful given the dedication and commitment they have displayed so far!
Have a relaxing 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.
|YEAR 8 FIELD TRIP TO MALHAM COVE|
On the Wednesday before we broke up, the Year 8 Geographers visited Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. With nice sunny weather and clear blue skies, everyone had to climb around 400 irregular steps in total to reach the summit.
From down below, it seemed an impossible feat, however, with a bit of encouragement, the students were all able to reach the top. They encountered the limestone pavements, and Josh and Charlton, found the deepest grykes (gaps) reaching as deep as approximately four feet down.
Closer to the end of the excursion, the students went to the Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss where they saw a waterfall and wild garlic.
Several animals were seen, including dogs, sheep, and cows – not to forget the horses who seemed to enjoy the stunning view.
This four-hour walk around Malham Cove was not only an amazing excuse to look at one of the settings for the scenes in ‘Deathly Hallows Part 1’ (Harry Potter), but also a great way for everyone to explore the landscape and reflect on the way limestone affects the environment over time!
Report by Toluwani A
|INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION|
We are delighted to announce the finalists of our first ever International Piano Competition.
We would like to take the time to thank each and every student who entered the competition. The standard of piano playing was simply outstanding. Our Director of Music, Mr Dobson will be providing feedback to all entrants in due course.
To read more about the finalists, please visit: https://www.rossall.org.uk/international-piano-competition-finalists-announced/
|TENNIS TRIUMPH FOR YEAR 4|
Rossall entered two teams into the Mini Tennis tournament that was held at Moorland Tennis Club this afternoon.
Each child played six singles matches in total against schools from all over Fleetwood, Thornton-Cleveleys and Poulton- le- Fylde. The points were accumulated throughout the tournament, so every point counted.
Rossall Red team were delighted when they were announced as the overall winners! The progress every child made throughout the tournament was nothing short of outstanding. As always, the Rossall children competed with dignity, determination and respect.
A big thank you to our Wyre School Games Organiser (Lee Cadwallader) for organising yet another seamless event. Also, a massive thank you to the umpires from Hodgson School for officiating with such maturity and confidence.
|SEB IS THE COUNTY CHAMPION!|
A huge congratulations to Year 12 student, Seb Cave (MC House) on becoming the Warwickshire Golf Amateur County Champion with scores of 72 and 68. Well done, Seb!
|ISAAC SET FOR FTFC U12|
Well done to Isaac who has been retained at the Fleetwood Town Football Academy and will progress into the Youth Phase of the program with the U12s next season.
|Q&A WITH THE HEADMASTER|
Our Headmaster, Mr Jeremy Quartermain was joined by our Director of Sport, Mr Jack Cropper for his live Q&A entitled, ‘Rossall – A Centre of Sporting Excellence in the North West’, today. If you didn’t manage to watch it, you can do so here:
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|MR SHARPE’S MATHS CHALLENGE|
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Kai’s Line Marker Rampage
Battle of the Kai/Ky’s!
Always dreaming of being the number one Ky/Kai, Mr Hutchinson saw Kai Wagner’s line marker masterpiece as a challenge!
So the next day after much research and revision of line marker technique, Mr H took to the field and marked out the following.
The large square below consists of 4 congruent rectangles surrounding a central square, area 44 square Ky-lometers (a different unit of measure to a Kai-lometer).
The question is this: What is the area of one of the rectangles?
ANSWER: (CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW)
|The shift of power moves slightly back to Kai Wagner this week with the correct answer. So we will stick to the theme of Line Marker Madness and this puzzle is best understood if you watch the video solution for the previous question to understand why the Kai/Ky’s are annoyed with me!|
The Best Field Art Yet?
Freshly vexed by Mr Sharpe’s omission of all the facts in the previous puzzle, Ky and Kai confront him by the field. Rather than admit to any error he makes a run for the nearest getaway vehicle, which happens to be the line marker used previously. Hotly pursued by Ky on his bike and Ky on a pogo stick (his preferred mode of transport) Mr Sharpe decides to appease them with a fresh piece of mathematical field art.
Once he stops creating he sees that he has piqued the interest of his pursuers and poses them the following question.
1) If the overlap (marked x) between the two congruent rectangles is one eighth the area of the total shape then what fraction of one rectangle is the overlap?
He notices that they don’t seem entirely satisfied with this and so he offers this extra bonus question.
2) If the overlap (marked x) between the two congruent rectangles is any fraction of the area of the total shape then what fraction of one rectangle is the overlap?
(Hint: Let the first fraction be “a”, where 0 < a < 1. The answer will be in terms of “a”).
(If you attempt this more general question don’t forget to check your answer works by substituting one eighth for “a” and checking you get your answer to the first part.
As always the puzzle prize of being the focus of the next puzzle is open to all (except the maths staff, mentioning no names…Mr Shaw (who sent me the solution one week with the message “Make me famous”)).
– Is there another Kai/Ky out there who will enter the fray?
– Will one of the previous winners reemerge to put these upstarts in their place?
– Will I ever stop doing puzzles based on line markers?
– Will this part of the newsletter ever end?
Yes, it will. See you next week.
As always the first correct response will become the subject of the next puzzle.
Remember to send your answer to: [email protected]
|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).
|To view all of our sports fixtures and results, please visit: https://www.rossallsport.org.uk/|
The password to view the teamsheets is: rossallsport
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