Latest from the Headmaster's Desk

Whilst speaking to a friend in Exeter this weekend, the notion of nationality and what it means came up in conversation.  He has recently been informed by the Danish Government that he is no longer entitled to Danish citizenship.  Whilst he has lived his whole life in England, he has never sought British citizenship because he and his family have been proud of his Danish origins, customs and beliefs.  He is now in, what I had not even realised possible, the most unusual position of being without nationality.  Having had his twenty-two years of Danish nationality removed, are his feelings of belonging still valid?  Does his commitment to Denmark and all that that embodies continue to be relevant?  Will he still celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve?  As France goes to the polls next week with two polarised candidates for President, and the UK follows suit a month later, the question of what it means to be British must be ever-present.  What will it mean to be European in two years' time?  And what, in terms of values, beliefs and behaviours, are important to us as individuals, and a school community?

Of course, at Beech Hall, our values and beliefs are underpinned by the extended Olympic Values scheme which applies in equal measure to both pupils and colleagues.  Friendship, Equality, Determination, Inspiration, Courage, Excellence, Respect, Resilience, Responsibility, Integrity.  These ten values are at the heart of all that we believe in at Beech Hall, and will continue to inform our opinions, behaviours and actions.  Last week's group of fifty-six pupils and staff in the Lake District was a great testament to the friendship that exists in our school community.  On an individual basis, inspiration and courage abounded, and I have the utmost respect for every single pupil (and adult) who pushed themselves outside of their own comfort and achieved in ways that some did not think possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend, on behalf of the wider school community, our deepest condolences to Professor Lewis and his family following the passing of his mother, Mrs Elizabeth Lewis, last week.  Many pupils, parents and colleagues will remember her visit to the school last year to celebrate her ninetieth birthday, an occasion which included her playing conkers on the lawn with pupils!  Whilst Mrs Lewis had the opportunity to visit Beech Hall just once, I have absolute confidence that she enjoyed the experience immensely and was extremely impressed with the pupils whom she met.  Mrs Lewis was wholly and entirely focused on the children and, for this, she has always had my utmost respect and affection.  It was a privilege to have known her and I am grateful that, albeit briefly, she came into our lives at Beech Hall.

As we look ahead to the coming week, Tuesday will see the deadline for applications for next year's Senior Prefect body, we will welcome the GCSE PE Moderator into school on Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon will see us posing in the sunshine for the whole school photograph.  I will be looking forward to welcoming prospective pupils and their families to the school every day this week and, in advance of any pupil tours, I would like to thank you for being the brilliant ambassadors for the school that I know you are, consistently and reliably every time.  This four-day week will culminate in our Upper V's pool party and barbecue, a time-honoured tradition that will see these pupils on their way into Study Leave from Monday 8th.

Finally, if you haven't yet purchased your tickets for the BHPA's Wild Wild West Summer Festival on 13 May, I would urge you to go for it.  I understand there is going to be a hunt and chase with water pistols for the bandit known as the (Head)Masterful Shortleg Allen.  However, I believe he has been in training, he is cunning and he is mean!  Chase him at your peril!

Mr J D Allen
Headmaster