It’s good to be back.

I walked back into the energy of St James after half term and it felt like a home coming. It’s testament to the community how well they coped in my absence, in particular my Deputy Head, David Beezadhur, who did a wonderful job keeping the school on the right track and also leading the school through an inspection, the report of which we are still waiting for. He was well supported by the Senior Leadership Team and our excellent staff.

Last week I greatly enjoyed the Year 7 social evening and it was lovely to hear the positive experience the pupils are having. They have settled in well. We have also launched the Year 9 Personal Endeavour Project and the Personal Learning Journal is now on Fire-Fly. The sessions Mrs Brazier took with me in the Philosophy Lessons tapped into the creativity and talent of our pupils. These pupils have until March to create their project, and have the possibility of winning a £500 cash prize. The journals are an aid to reflection and also a way to develop transferable skills.

At St James the linear journey of classroom learning and exam success is balanced with the development of those more eternal values that build character and create alignment and good health. I heard some wonderful music at the lunch time concert organised by Mr Coburn and also relished seeing our first fifteen rugby team play beautifully to defeat Burnham Grammar on Wednesday, they have a match a week now until the end of term.

Whatever the situation in the outside world, St James remains an oasis of calm and inspired learning that makes the soul sing.