I believe that Tuesday 8th September 2020 will forever go down as the best day of my teaching career!

More particularly, it is that golden half an hour spent welcoming so many beaming faces back into school which will stay with me, I am sure, for the rest of my days. For many children and their parents, it was of course their first day of proper school for nearly 5 months! As if that wasn’t enough pleasure and excitement for one day, we were, just a few hours later, eating in our fantastic new Dining Hall for the very first time. It has been wonderful to see our children enjoying the delicious food prepared in our brand new state of the art kitchens in such beautiful surroundings.

I have been particularly impressed with the way in which new pupils and new staff have settled in, and the atmosphere in school could not be better as we look forward to a very successful, happy and rewarding academic year. The New Pupils’ Tea Parties were an ideal way to welcome our new pupils and their parents into the Prep School. Many of our visitors comment on the open, genuine, warm and friendly communication and interaction which they experience when they visit, and we see it as one of our top priorities to instil in our young people the ability to communicate positively, with respect, kindness and good humour.

I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of our parents who have shown, and continue to show, terrific flexibility and teamwork in adapting to our new traffic layout, especially on the first day when there were some inevitable delays. Thank you very much for your understanding if you were delayed or inconvenienced in any way. As a whole school community, parents, pupils and staff have all shown a tremendously positive attitude to the adaptations which have had to be made as a result of COVID. Thank you very much to all of you, and I will be giving parents next week the opportunity to send us feedback on how all of our new procedures are working from their point of view.

This week has seen the start of our very comprehensive clubs programme and I am delighted that we have been able to offer so much given the current COVID restrictions. Instrumental, drama and dance lessons started this week, and we are very much looking forward to the start of our Saturday Morning Enrichment programme tomorrow.

Finally, many congratulations to some of our pupils who have told us about terrific achievements over the Summer. As well as many excellent performances on the cricket field, with many of our pupils involved in representative matches for Somerset County, our whole school team of Eventing horseriders did the school and themselves proud at Hickstead (the ‘Wembley of Eventing’). Very well done to all of our pupils who have shown such ambition and spirit over the summer in a wide range of different areas.

The weather will hopefully continue to be amazing over the weekend, and I wish you all a lovely time in the September sunshine!

Andrew Edwards, Headmaster Prep School