Senior Head's Blog: Autumn Term Round Up 2023

As we move towards the end of the longest term of the year, and ever closer to the shortest day of the year, it is a good time for reflection on an outstanding term for Felsted in many ways.  It seems incredible to me that the term started with scorching temperatures, that nearly resulted in the cancellation of sports fixtures, and has ended with frozen pitches and floods.  As COP28 has recently come to an end, it is a good time for us to revisit the importance of our commitment to sustainability, especially as we launched our New Year initiative back in January.  I look forward to reporting back fully on what we have done in January, alongside a few new initiatives that we will be taking forward into 2024.

Reflecting on this term, there are a number of things that really stand out from my perspective.  The start of a new academic year is always a big moment in any school, and this year was particularly so with a record number of new joiners to Felsted.  I hope that for those of you who are new to the school, the experience has been a good one.  The Art Trip to visit Bruce Munro's studio, as well as helping him to create a fantastic Firefly exhibition, which was dedicated to the late Queen and Prince Philip, was a very special experience for those involved and a great link to one of our many OFs.  The new approach to boarding nights for the Year 9 and 10 (and some 11) boarders has also become a part of the structure of the week, and while not everyone has relished every moment of this, there is no doubt that it has made a significant and positive impact on the work habits of many of our boarders.  We also enjoyed five hugely successful international trips over Half Term, and my thanks to all the students who went on these, and all the staff who supported and organised these events.

Another highlight for me this term has got to be the fabulous performances of 'Oliver', with over 100 students involved front and back stage throughout the production.  I was also so impressed by the recent Live Lounge, both by the quality of performances, but also by the support that was given to those singing, some for the first time in front of an audience.  In Sports, the highlight of the term had to be the last minute victory for the Rugby team over St Ambrose College, while the crowd watched on.  The pictures of the response to the final kick going over were really fantastic, although I am afraid that I was not able to look as the final kick went through the posts.  Congratulations too to our 2nd XI Girls Hockey team, who remain unbeaten for the third season in a row! Finally, as we come towards the end, I look forward to the Carol Services this evening and tomorrow.  I have no doubt that they will be special occasions for all of us.

I would like to finish by saying a farewell, to Major Lee Jay.  Lee has been an outstanding SSI for our CCF contingent for five years.  His attention to detail, his concern for the students and his calm and thoughtful leadership has had a huge impact on many students.  We wish him every success as he leaves Felsted, and moves out of uniform for the first time in more years than he cares to remember!

So, all that is left is to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We remember those for whom Christmas will not be easy this year, both in our own community and across the world.  Our thoughts and prayers go to all of them, and I was delighted that the Felsted Christmas Cheer project provided packages for 120 families, through the tutor groups at school.  I was also very pleased that the community came together to provide support for local foodbanks.  At a time when most of us are fortunate to have so much, we must be mindful that this is not the case for everyone.

I look forward to an exciting 2024 and wish you all great success in the coming year.  I hope that it is a year that will bring peace, hope, joy and love to all.