After a week of glorious sunshine the arrival of a mid-latitude depression over Britain returned us to a more winter-like weekend of leaden skies and blustery intermittent drizzle. No matter - I was feeling defiantly cheerful as I headed into school on Saturday morning, for two reasons. Firstly our weekend letting to Little Kickers has resumed in the Sports Hall; hoards of diminutive footballers, both boys and girls, have now resumed their frenetic activity at the weekend at BWS, scampering around bewildering patters of plastic cones and hoofing footballs whose diameters are knee-high for them. Proud parents lined up along the edges of the indoor pitch, socially distanced of course, but the important thing is that they are there! The school facilities are a significant community resource and should be in use when we are not in session, but I always feel that it is a bit sad when I visit the site in day time and it is silent. That was far from true on Saturday morning.
The other reason that I went into Bishop's, barely awake, for 0830 on Saturday was that we had set up the first batch of tours for student applicants for our Year 12 this coming September. It must have been very strange for so many boys and girls in Year 11 at other schools to apply to places that they have probably only visited in cyber-space. Virtual open events and seminars, talking heads and promotional literature can only get you so far in terms of familiarity. It is so important for prospective students and their parents to be able to visit, walk and talk and get a feel for the place where they are going to spend two of the most important years of their lives. Zoe Lambard (BWS Head of Sixth), Sally Armstrong (BWS Careers Advisor) and I took round another 11 sets of students and parents between us to add to the 100 or so that we managed to do some time ago between lockdowns. We will welcome another 50 or so between now and the end of the month. It's a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning, even if it's wet and windy, as its lovely to meet boys and girls who are ambitious and motivated to really make their mark. It would be even better still if we were able to open the site on a normal working day and have our wonderful students do the tour guide duties instead of us...
Looking ahead the horizon looks a little brighter each day I feel. The prospect of a greater variety of competitive fixtures looks possible as the term progresses, and the scope of musical work that we can safely do is steadily growing. BWS Adventure is starting to gain momentum as James Oldham continues to get the Year 8's out on their day walks, DofE is functioning well and there may even be the prospect of a couple of residential trips before the close of the Summer Term. The success of the vaccination programme (especially across the south west) and the concomitent drop in infection rates to very low levels gives hope for more, both between now and July and we re-start on our road post September 2021.