We view each pupil at St James in their essential self as a pure and perfect being.

I remember watching my children being born; the moment they emerged into the world was one of such spiritual clarity and wonder. Their perfection was clearly apparent and, as a parent, I wanted everything to be perfect for them, a lovely cot, clean blankets and the most nourishing food. The blossoming of a baby’s sensual engagement with the world is deeply profound; the first smile, the first step and the first word.

Mr Wassell brought his little boy into the staff room last week and the being of the little chap lit up the room on an over-cast February day; this is the affect young children have.

I have been fortunate enough to work with younger children in prep schools and then make that unusual graduation to senior schools. This brings a wealth of experience of how children learn from three years old to nineteen. I know how crucial the early years are and I know how important both love and discipline are to the child’s development.

Over the years of teaching, studying, reading and reflecting I have sought to understand the causal level of human potential: what we might call the spiritual. At St James the preservation of the spiritual potential of every pupil in our care is a priority, the bed-rock on which all else rests. It is also important to distinguish between spiritual needs and the psychic needs for each child.

One has to be careful what one means by the words spiritual, spiritual needs and the spiritual life as they imply something we cannot grasp with our minds. If there is such a reality it must be impossible to form a picture or image of it and, as our thinking depends upon this we cannot ‘think’ about this in normal categories, although I would suggest that perhaps we can unite with it.

I will try to explore this with you in later weeks. What I will say at this point is that I know that if the spiritual needs of a young person are not met, war will be waged in the psyche. We see this with an increase in stress and mental illness and unhappiness.