Dear Reader,

Welcome to my first “Headmaster’s Blog”. I must admit to some nerves at writing my first blog, despite the fact that I seem to have penned an endless stream of letters to pupils and parents in the last year or so. I hope you enjoy reading the blog and I would be grateful to receive any feedback or potential topics for future blogs.

Perhaps the most difficult part of writing this edition was trying to settle on a theme – it was very tempting to reflect on the tumultuous events of the past twelve months, but I think we are all sick of hearing or reading about Covid and lockdown etc.

So, I am going to try and look ahead, hopefully with a positive slant towards the next few months and beginning to return to some form of normality. After all, there are some grounds for optimism – the government’s vaccination programme does appear to have started successfully, case rates seem to be falling across the country and even the weather is improving. Don’t forget, the clocks change this weekend too, meaning lighter nights for us all. I am sure we can’t wait to meet up properly with friends and family again – even if it might have to be in the garden initially.

The bottom line is that I think we can all start to plan for the time when restrictions start to be relaxed and, in school, that will hopefully give our pupils the chance to begin to mix again with pupils from other year groups. In a small school such as ours, that has perhaps been the most difficult aspect of the protocols we have had to put in place and the most challenging for the children to deal with. It is hugely important for our school community to come together for events such as concerts or productions and the fantastic production of “Treasure Island” from 2019 immediately comes to mind as a great example of how our school community pulls together to such great effect.

The same could be said on the sports field and again I look forward to when we can resume fixtures with other schools, as well as offer more of our co-curricular sports clubs at lunchtime and after school.

Whilst I would love to say it is the lessons and the inspirational teaching that pupils remember from their school days – I hope they do remember at least some inspirational teaching – if today’s pupils are like me and, dare I say, their parents, what they will truly remember will be the musical and dramatic productions, their sporting experiences and achievements and their school trips away, either in the UK or perhaps even further afield. In fact, I was reminiscing with our Assistant Head, Mrs Smith, the other day about the various school trips we had taken part in (as pupils, as well as staff), which gave me the theme for this blog.

School trips provide such an important opportunity for pupils and staff to spend time with each other in an environment which is totally different from that in the classroom. Whilst staff may not totally “let their guard down”, pupils and staff do get to see each other in a totally different light and interact with each other in a very different way. Suddenly, teachers can become real people to the children!

I have been fortunate to travel to many corners of the globe on school trips, from Washington to Moscow and from Blackpool to Barbados and when I run into former pupils who were on those trips with me, it is invariably the first topic of any conversations – certainly not the lessons we shared!

At school, we are now beginning to look forward and opportunities are starting to re-emerge and Mrs Smith is looking into the possibility of organising another Hulme Hall Ski Trip, following on from the hugely successful trip to Andorra in February 2019. I am sure that will be another popular trip. This time last year we were looking forward to a multi-department (Food, Art and Spanish) trip to

Barcelona before Covid led to that trip’s cancellation, so it would also be nice to see plans for a similar trip in the future be resurrected.

All in all, I think there are now many reasons to look ahead with some optimism that we can begin to resume some element of normality in our daily lives and hopefully that will soon extend to our activities at school too.

Thank you for reading!

Dean Grierson.