A wise friend said to me last week that, ‘Behaviour is communication’ and, of course, she is right.

How we speak to each other, how we meet people and how we hold and conduct ourselves or communicate how we feel inside and what we really value. This was thrown into sharp relief last Thursday as I watched our splendid  U15 and U16 teams play their rugby finals. They were simply magnificent against larger schools and gave heart and soul. I was also proud of our Physical Education staff: Mr Jeffreys, Mr Rodgers and their leader Mr Wassell. Not only have they taught the boys to play a beautiful style of running rugby, but they have also communicated how a real man behaves modest in victory and generous in defeat.

This long term nears its end and one can see the boys are tired and ready for Christmas. I remind them weekly about tolerance towards others and working at their friendships. Education is a messy art. It is not just about exam results, but about learning about oneself and what sort of person one wants to be. The real successes this year have been the .b Mindfulness programme that Year 7, Year 9  and Year 11 have been taught and how they are using it to good effect. As Anthony Seldon said in his talk last month, ‘St James is where other schools are trying to get.’

With good teachers a national shortage we are blessed by some wonderful talent. Some of our new teachers were ear-marked and tracked over time, like Mr Deb and Mr Protheroe, to join us. Some like Mr Jackson, Mr Militello and Mr Fraser were gifts from the gods. Either way they have joined a formidable team. They have their first staff football match on Friday of which I am refereeing.

I am intending next term to offer some articles on effective parenting. I qualify this by saying that being a parent is a much more challenging job than being a Headmaster and I do not claim to be an expert. What I am sure, after nearly thirty years in education, is that we need good parents for our children - if we do not provide them with strong values and good manners we are poisoning the future.

St James remains a beacon of authentic hope in these uncertain times - none of us should take it for granted.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Our conclusion, then, is that political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. Hence they who contribute most to such a society have a greater share in it than those who have the same or a great freedom or nobility of birth but are inferior to them in political virtue; or than those who exceed them in wealth but are surpassed by them in virtue”.

Aristotle