If I were able, I would rearrange the Gregorian Calendar to ensure that New Year’s Eve fell on the 31st August. For children, teachers and parents alike, September marks new beginnings. Whether your child is four, eleven or eighteen, a new school year represents challenges to be relished and goals to be achieved.
Cast your minds back to the start of a new academic year. Fresh, blank, squeaky clean exercise books ready to be filled with knowledge. Remember the care that you took when underlining the first date; writing that first line; setting out that first equation. New text books arrive, fresh from the publishers. How many of you recall the waft of anticipation gleaned from flicking speedily through the pages?
My quest remains to find a way to capture and market the intangible zest for learning that the start of the Autumn Term brings, yet it is our responsibility as teachers to sustain the fervour and gusto that all children exude at this time of year; a goal for us to achieve.
A benchmark as to how successfully we engage and enthuse all the children in our care, is the readiness with which they walk through our gates. Children, without exception, in Years 1 to 5, have been clock watching on the pavement for 8.15, like a fair ride to open. For 40% of our new Reception class, however, to run in to school on day 3, forgetting to say goodbye to their parents, was a crowning moment for myself and a testament to our environment.
There are exciting times ahead. Years 1 and 2 will be undertaking a project about Space. Children in Years 3, 4 and 5 will be finding out about life during World War 2 and have taken on the responsibility to become museum curators. We have Science Week to look forward to, a whole-school Cross Country event and Fantasy Football afternoon, Year 1 and 2’s visit to The Clapham Picture House to see Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave as well as Remembrance Assembly and the annual Poetry Café; events which have become somewhat hallmarks of the school.
Whilst the start of a school year is a new beginning for us all, for some parents, there is lurking trepidation, particularly those parents whose children have just joined the school.
I know you're rather busy
First day back, there's just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mine
I'm sure you have things covered
And have done this, lots before
But my boy is very little
He hasn't long turned four
In his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s ready
Do you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?
And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?
You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know
Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see
It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm
So, when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumple
Into tears of loss and pride
I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away,
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today
At Wandsworth Prep, we place children at the heart of all that we do. We will look after them, find out about their interests and talents, ignite in them a genuine passion and desire for learning and, at the same time, ensure each and every one of them reaches their potential.
I look forward to sharing the journey ahead with you all.
Bridget Saul - Headteacher