Senior Head's Blog: Hurtling Towards Another End of Term

As we hurtle towards the end of another term, it is exactly four years since the first lockdown in the UK of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the temporary closure of schools (Friday 20th March 2020).  In some ways that feels like another age, while also feeling remarkably current.  There is no doubt that the impact of that time is still being felt in lots of different ways, although we have moved on, and this is reflected in the opportunities that are being taken up by Felsted pupils in the coming days and weeks.

As well as the DofE and CCF expeditions to Dartmoor and Rendlesham Forest (in unusually pleasant spring weather!), we have the Senior Rugby squad heading up to Sedbergh for the National Tens competition.  This will be a really tough challenge for our recently crowned national title winners, with the quality of opposition as high as at any schools tournament in the UK.  Then we are sending a group out to Mumbai to work with Magic Bus for the first time since 2019.  This is always a challenging experience, but can be totally life changing for those who take part, and I would encourage them all to spread the word of the work being done to promote education among children.  We are also sending a skiing group to Serre Chevalier.  Unlike the trip earlier in the year, this is not for a competitive event, but I hope that the weather enables them to make the most of their time on the slopes.  We are also sending a large group to Iceland with Geography.  This is a really incredible place for them to visit and will help them to learn a great deal about the natural world.  

These opportunities for travel are so important in support of Felsted's aim to deliver truly global education.  Exploring different environments and cultures enriches all of our lives, and the more that those who go can share with others, the greater the impact will be.  I would also urge them to remember that whenever someone goes out from school, they are not just representing themselves, but also Felsted School and their whole community.  One of the best things in my role, is when I receive notes or emails praising the behaviour of our pupils on trips or visits and I am sure that the ones going out now will be no different.

Thinking of this, I would like to take a moment to praise all those who made the journey to Twickenham last week.  The contribution of the crowd was significant throughout the day, and the support that the team enjoyed was the best of any team on the day.  Coach drivers, stewards and photographers all reached out to praise the behaviour and positive attitude shown throughout the day.  For the squad, it really was an incredible day, with a brilliant performance despite the high pressure situation.  They have made wonderful memories for all of us, and I am so grateful to them for their hard work that has brought them to this special achievement.  

Finally, as we look ahead to the exam season next term, I thought that it would be worth giving some simple, but (hopefully) helpful advice.  I did share this with the school on Monday, but it is worth repeating.  Revision is hard and not hugely enjoyable, but a bit like training before a match, if you don't do it, you are not likely to perform, while if you get it right, you will feel the advantage.  So here are my five steps to getting it right:

1. Plan ahead - make sure that you have a realistic schedule that you can follow, one that you will get right on day one, because that will set you up to keep going for the rest of your revision
2. Do what you like least first - otherwise you will not give the time where it is really needed (similarly try to avoid revising things that you already know!)
3. Rest properly, sleep well, drink plenty of water and eat healthy food when you can - looking after yourself is crucial to success
4. Revise actively - don't just read a piece of paper - test yourself, do past paper questions, and perhaps work with someone else
5. Avoid distractions - switch off the phone, put it out of reach, or add an app that rewards time away (for example - Forest App)

As I say, it is hard work, but the effort is worth it and whatever level you are at currently, you can improve in the coming days, weeks and months.

Have a great holiday


PS By the time that we are back at school, I will have completed (hopefully) the first of my two April marathons.  After last year's London marathon in support of The Lord's Taverners, this year I am taking on Paris (7 April) and London again (21 April), with a target of completing both in under 7 hours.  

If anyone feels able to support me, the Taverners is a fantastic charity and the work that they do to support young people is superb.

Support me here