This has been another terrific week with so much to celebrate. Our swimmers performed superbly well in the IAPS regional time trials yesterday, and we are now waiting to see if some have qualified for the National Finals with the times that they achieved yesterday. The Year 6 girls team swam especially well, displaying great swimming in both the medley and freestyle relays. Whilst on the subject of swimming, the Taunton Soroptimists charity swimathon will be taking place in our own TPS pool on 17 and 18 February. There is more information about the event on page 15. It would be super if any of our TPS parents were able to support the event by entering a children’s, family or work team.
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed watching our boys and girls giving their very best in the netball and hockey fixtures on Wednesday afternoon. There were some particularly nail-biting finishes in the games involving our Year 6 boys and girls, during which it was hard to tell whether there was more excitement on or off the pitch!
In the classroom, I can’t remember a week when I have given so many Rolls of Honour in the playground at breaktime. It is always a joy to see the work which the boys and girls bring with them. The 1066 board games which the Year 7 pupils created over the Christmas holidays are wonderful and I am thrilled to see that TPS boys and girls are learning in such creative and engaging ways.
I hope that those of you who found time to attend the very informative talk on Wednesday evening about raising girls found it as useful as I did – more on this on page 5. Although, in my personal life, my children are both boys, my job here is of course to ensure that all of the boys and the girls in our school are well educated, well cared for, and grow up with healthy attitudes to life. Thank you very much to Paul Billings, the Chair of our PTA, who organised the talk. For me, the talk was another reminder of the importance of being accepting, patient and always there for our young people. They don’t need us to necessarily solve everything immediately, but it really helps if we can spend time listening, and be by their side.
The talk inevitably touched upon the pressures of social media which can, for some young people, become so negative. Over recent years, we have become more and more on the look out for children who may start measuring their popularity in terms of how many ‘likes’ they get, or children who start to feel inadequate in the face of so many images of ‘perfect bodies’ and ‘perfect lives’. At the start of the year, some of you will have read in the national press the Children’s commissioner’s view that many Year 7 children feel a very unhealthy pressure to be constantly connected online. At TPS, our girls and boys are spared these potential pressures during the school day due to our no-phones policy. By the time they reach Year 9, they are more mature, more experienced and more able to manage their phones in a healthy and positive way. This is just one of the reasons why, this week, a visiting junior school Head (whose school finishes at Year 6) liked so much the fact that our Year 7 and Year 8 pupils remain based in our Prep School. She will certainly be presenting that as a plus to the parents at her own school when she talks about what Taunton School has to offer.
Andrew Edwards, TPS Headmaster