Half term approaches
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Richard Biggs
Well we’ve staggered to the end of the first half of the Lent Term, more or less in one piece, although the list of staff and pupil absentees seems to grow by the minute. I hear there’s a bug doing its dirty business. This is a good time to be a bug – people are working hard, it’s cold and damp and we’re all a little tired. Father Mark is away from school tomorrow, and instead of arranging a stand-in cleric, we decided simply to allow everybody a chance to sleep a bit later. That should help us all to make it to the sanctuary of half term.
It’s been a busy few weeks, not least because we’ve been working hard on staff recruitment. Each appointment requires careful planning and is a complex process. My Deputy Head, Academic has to come up with a programme of observation lessons, tours and interviews which dovetail efficiently and allows us every chance to make the right decision. And we’ve made some fantastic appointments. I am really very excited – details to follow! It is heartening to know that people want to come and work at King’s. I know it’s a great place, but it’s encouraging to see that others think so too.
A few weeks ago I flew out for a few days for a board meeting at King’s College, India. Much happened over the course of the weekend I was there. It was lovely to see the school with children in it – the first time I had been there since pupils had arrived. After his outstanding work in setting the school up, Brad Sailes has stepped down as Headmaster and we will be appointing his successor in the coming weeks. I have agreed to play an even closer role for the time being in the running of the school in support of the Acting Head, Brendan Canavan, and will be going out once again next week during half term.
Kate Rippin, our Registrar, and I visited the most wonderful little prep school in Dorset last week: Hanford House. It’s an all-girls school of about 100 pupils, based in a Jacobean house with a slightly ramshackle collection of prefab classrooms and very grand stables. The girls do not wear uniforms – the only dress code is that they have to wear a skirt. Riding is popular, as is tree climbing. The girls struck me as absolutely delightful – confident, cheerful, resourceful and loyal. The Head, Rory Johnston, told us a lovely story: when he was showing a visiting family around the school a group of girls passed them at a trot carrying a mattress. When asked what on earth they were doing they replied “Jessica’s stuck up the tree!” If I had a daughter…
But I only have sons, and one of them is returning today after a few months in Africa. I hope he doesn’t find Taunton too dull after the excitement of the veld. He’ll not be fighting bush fires here, or dosing sheep or checking water troughs on a motorbike or hunting vermin. Actually I think he has a job lined up – in a local tea shop. It’ll be good to have him back.