Monday 1st June
Welcome back! I hope that you all had great half terms! The weather was amazing, and now that we are allowed out a little more, I hope that you were able to enjoy being outside in the sun.
Today there are new rules for us all to follow and some primary school children are going back to school. We will be looking at what is happening very closely, so that we can decide what we are going to be able to offer when secondary schools are allowed to open a little more on the 15th June. Just like the government, we will be watching to see what happens when there is more freedom. If there is a spike in infections, like has happened in Seoul, South Korea, then we might have to slow down. If there isn’t and if more and more businesses open, then we might be able to bring some of you back into school safely. Whatever the plan is, it will be optional this term: no-one is going to be forced to come back if it isn’t what their family wants.
I’m sure that we all want more freedom, so we need to protect each other by taking the new rules seriously. I read a news story about a four year old boy called Euan in Scotland who couldn’t see his dad, even though his dad’s ship was moored at the end of their garden. Here is a photo that Euan’s mum took:
Euan’s dad works on a ship that looks after the lighthouses around the Scottish coast. When his ship is in port he would normally be able to spend his nights at home with his family, but at the moment Euan’s dad can’t do anything more than wave at his son. How do you explain this to a four year old boy? What struck me about the story was the sacrifice: a sacrifice that we are all committed to making to keep each other safe. I’m sure that all of us have heard about people not following the rules, but we need to try harder because we believe that everyone in our community matters. If we embrace our new freedom but don’t overdo it, then we will see the people that we are missing more quickly. If you want to read more about Euan, look here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-52844016.
This term we are going to try to help you to see more of us. This means that you will have to watch videos of staff doing stupid things. Here is our first offering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7norH6DbCXo&t=8s. You may want to ask your parents and carers to watch the video first, as it could give you nightmares…
Ms Castle has produced another amazing illustration:
Have a great day,
Friday 22nd May
The results are finally in from the Wednesday Challenge. The winners are:
Samuel Taylor, 8Ridgeway;Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway;Leila and Jasmine Karim, 12&10Burrows.
The only member of staff to get them all right was our Librarian, Ms Regan, who wants me to plug the Book Club this lunchtime (Code blsbookclub) as her prize.
a) Three Little Pigs;
b) Star Wars (technically Episodes 4-6);
c) The Gruffalo;
d) Beauty and the Beast;
If any of you have an idea for a Wednesday Challenge, please let me know – the only rule is that it has to be fiendishly difficult!
To finish the week off with a House Point giveaway, what is this:
No-one has yet given me the correct answer to this question:
Why was this bull in the news – any ideas?
I would like to congratulate everyone who has taken part in the Bishop Luffa Spring Clean so far: you have raised £1, 350.50! That is an incredible total, especially in these difficult times. The appeal ends on 31st May, so there is still time to break £1,500…
We have so much to be thankful for:
Thank you for our school and all of our students and staff;
Thank you for our families and the support they give us;
Thank you for free healthcare in our country
And for everyone who works in the NHS;
Thank you for your love, which keeps us strong;
And, please Lord, help us to be loving and kind, like you.
I hope that you all have a good week off next week. If you are looking for things to do, we have kept the Easter Activities section on the website, as many of the suggestions there are still useful.
Thursday 21st May
We have one student and one member of staff who have correctly identified all five stories from the Wednesday challenge. However, I am not revealing their identify until tomorrow, to protect them from being harassed into giving out the answers. There are still a lot of House Points up for grabs...
The first story was indeed 'The Three Little Pigs'. Most people seemed to get that one. The hardest two seem to be 'B' and 'E'. 'B' are films and here is an extra clue for 'E' - 'Oh no! Not he!'. I'm sure some of you just got that one straight away and others are even more baffled!
Does anyone know why this bull was in the news?
The School Council met this week on Google Meet and are talking through how they are finding the 'Virtual School'. Please let your Council Rep know if you have issues that you would like to raise. It is very important that we are able to hear how you are feeling. There were lots of questions from the Council about how we can keep people safe when we return to the school building and we will be talking through any plans that we have with the Council when the time comes.
It is less than a month until Year 13 leave us, which means that we will have to say goodbye to our School Captains, Molly Berry and Archie Goldsmith. I think that we have been very lucky with our first Captains, as they have shaped what being School Captain means and been impressive ambassadors for our school. Thank you both for all of the work that you have put in – we will miss you both.
It is now time to appoint their successors, so I would like to invite Year 12 students who are interested in becoming School Captains to apply by 1st June. You will need to send me an email explaining why you would be a good School Captain, with the names of two other Year 12 students who have agreed to nominate you - and we will check that they have agreed! We would also like you to produce a short campaign video, so that the rest of the school can see who is running. The decision will still be made by myself, Mr Saunders, Ms Richi and Mr Hoggarth, our Chair of Directors, but we will listen to feedback from students who have watched your videos!
Have a great day,
Wednesday 20th May
I’m pretty sure it’s Wednesday and I’m pretty sure that means it’s the Wednesday Challenge...
Just to recap, Ridgeway have been doing well of late. They have ninjas who don’t sleep, and who are ready to pounce as soon as this email arrives. I hope that other Houses have been in training. I’ve heard about the Burrows Boot Camp and the Sherborne Attack Squad. Maybe we will have a new champion this week...
The Challenge is very simple. Below I have given the plots of five well known stories. All you have to do is tell me the name of the stories and you win your weight in House Points.
A: one brother was in trouble. He went to his older brother, but trouble followed him. They both found themselves homeless and so they ran to their eldest brother, who took them in and made their problems melt away.
B: two friends find themselves stuck in the middle of a battle between freedom fighters and an evil government. They are dropped into a desert, attacked in a snowstorm but eventually find peace in the depths of a forest.
C: our hero is weak but clever. He lives in a tough neighbourhood, surrounded by enemies. He only wins respect when he tricks the toughest of all his enemies into thinking that he is more dangerous than he looks...
D: all she wants to do is finish her book, but the coolest, stupidest boy in town won't leave her alone. When she rejects him for someone with a nice personality, he brings everything crashing down until her new boyfriend reveals that he has hidden depths.
E: fate punishes an old man for not treating his children equally. He loses his two youngest sons in the cruellest of circumstances, ends up starving and is forced to beg his enemy for help. As he hits rock bottom, the old man finds that that his enemy can give him back everything that he has lost...
Ms. Castle's latest illustration is spectacular. I have had to cut it down, but we will put the whole picture up on the Pastoral Frog Site:
There was some good news last night – Captain Tom Moore is going to be knighted. What a year for him – he became a celebrity, turned one hundred and becomes a ‘Sir’. You can read more here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52732300.
Have a good Wednesday – God bless,
Tuesday 19th May
Interesting times make people do interesting things. Glasgow has a rich history of murals in its streets, but since the lockdown they have changed their tone: instead of being subversive, they are now inspiring passers-by -
Or empathising with them -
You can read more about the ‘Rebel Bear’ (or Scotland’s Banksy) here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-52646104. Please be clear that I am not suggesting that you copy this! I am interested, though, in your creations since the lockdown started. If you have been drawing, writing stories or songs, making things at home, please let me know – it would be great to see them.
We have many students who are turning their talents to trying to help others cope with the new conditions. I would like to share some of them with you, starting with Katie Barnett in 7Andrewes. Katie has written a nursery rhyme to try and help us all understand the Government’s restrictions. Katie wrote it as a story, but I asked her if she would mind recording it, and she agreed. The result is rather wonderful and very funny: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/news/a-covid-19-fairytale/. My thanks to Katie for allowing me to share it with you all.
The Bishop Luffa Spring Clean is going well: Ms Hurry e-mailed us all yesterday to say that you have raised £948.50 so far. There is still time to get involved: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/the-luffa-spring-clean-for-picu/; https://frog.bishopluffa.org.uk/bd5d59e08d080ce9c7d506dd58f7344d.
Ms Castle has produced another inspiring illustration:
Monday 18th May
This is the last week before Half Term, and a well-deserved break for all of you. You must make sure that next week feels different and that you are able to recharge, ready for a longer final half term of this school year. Remember, the House Cup is being awarded at the end of term, and there are plenty of opportunities to win more House Points.
I was reading about a worldwide phenomenon that was started by the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-52693002. A reporter posted ‘#LastNormalPhoto’ and asked people to send the last photo that they took on their phones before the lockdown started. The response was incredible. It’s worth reading the article and seeing how you react to the pictures. I found it quite strange seeing the photos of groups – it made me realise how quickly humans adapt to their environment: I was shocked and anxious seeing so many people standing so close together.
Here is my ‘Last Normal Photo’:
They are the backs of Year 13 during their last few minutes at Bishop Luffa. I had no idea that this would be a poignant image when I took it.
The only photos that I have taken since the lockdown that have people in them are off my family, normally on walks:
I have far fewer photos now and mostly they are of nature:
What was your ‘Last Normal Photo’ and what does normal now look like for you? Have any of you stopped taking photos all together? Do you still take as many ‘selfies’ as you did before? I wonder what a lockdown photo album would look like…
During these difficult times, many of us have had the opportunity to pause
And reflect on the things that really matter to us.
Please help us to remember these lessons when the pace of life speeds up again,
And help us to use these pictures to remind us what life looked like,
What it is now, and how we would want it to be.
In Jesus’ name,
Have a great day,
(My phone, but taken by my daughter – just admitting this before she sues me).
Friday 15th May
I have had some fascinating responses to some of these emails, but this message from Mr Allman yesterday is on a different level:
“I'm not sure if this is interesting enough to share with pupils (or too damaging to my reputation) by my great-great-great-great grandfather John Dare (no, really) was transported to Australia along with two of his brothers-in-law (my great-great-great-great-great uncles, John and James Andrews). They were accused of robbery and wounding and sentenced to death, but the sentence was then commuted to transportation - they were sent to Australia on The Parkfield in May 1839. I won't give any more spoilers about the excitement of my family tree as I'm hoping to try and do a house assembly on it tomorrow!” I wonder how many of us have relatives who made that awful journey. If you are in Wilson House, I am intrigued to know what other dark secrets the Allman clan have!
You may or may not remember me talking about ‘reset songs’, songs that lift you when you’re not in the best place mentally. Mine was ‘You Got the Love’ by Candi Staton, so I was really happy yesterday to hear a new version of it. The BBC invited members of the public to record themselves playing along with the BBC Lockdown Orchestra. They then mixed the whole lot together to produce this rather special version of a song that’s tells us that there are days when we all need the Lord’s help just to keep us going. You can listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/lpcpKcs0Glj7w7hKkJv0Kv/join-the-bbc-lockdown-orchestra-for-you-got-the-love.
This week is Christian Aid Week. Usually this would mean lots of knocking on doors and waiting while people raid the back of the sofa for change, but obviously this year is very different. To keep the focus and the fundraising going, Christian Aid is online, and they are providing a family friendly quiz and other activities each day: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/christian-aid-week/daily-quiz. I really like the slogan that Christian Aid have chosen to help advertise their work this year: ‘Love never fails. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all’.
And finally, Ms. Castle has been growing holy fruit in her house…
Have a great weekend,
Thursday 14th May
The Wednesday Challenge seemed to stump you! A lot of you knew the flags, but couldn’t make the connection between the flags and yesterday’s date. In fact, there were only a handful of correct answers, so I can actually give you the Leader Board:
- Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway (they did it again!)
- Olivia Martin, 7 Burrows
- William Jones, 7Ridgeway
- Sam McCallum, 8King
- Aaron Butters, 8Story
- Manka Vecsei, 9Wilson
- Ms. Hobbs, Burrows
- Ms. Goding, Andrewes
I liked Sam’s explanation:
“The link is that the first fleet of eleven ships departed Portsmouth (star and crescent flag) on the 13 of May 1787 to found New South Wales (blue ensign), the penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia.”
‘Penal colony’ isn’t a term that we hear now. Instead of putting people in prison in the UK, the Government decided to send roughly 750 prisoners as far away as they possibly could, to Australia. The journey was horrible for the prisoners, who were in the ship’s hold for most of the 252 days it took. They wore clothes that became infected with lice and illness swept through the ships, causing 48 deaths before they reached their destination.
Would we ever allow something like this to happen in our lifetimes? It’s easy to think that it wouldn’t because we are more advanced now, more civilised. Imagine this: we are starting to colonise Mars and we need people to try and settle a difficult landscape. It’s a huge risk and there is very little hope of a return trip home. There will be some volunteers, but a project like this will require lots of people to make it work. Would you agree with the Government if they suggested that we send prisoners to Mars?
In the 18th century, many of the prisoners were facing the death penalty, so they took the opportunity to go to Australia as a second chance. There are still countries in the world that have the death penalty. Would you be happy to send prisoners who were on Death Row to Mars?
As I’ve said to you many times in assembly, you will soon be wrestling with difficult questions like this and trying to decide how to vote. It could well be that your generation will have to decide on the ethics of space exploration. I wonder what the other big questions will come up in your lifetimes?
Thank you to everyone who has sent in pictures of your VE Day celebrations. We have put them on the website: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/ve-day-celebrations/. It is not too late to send in pictures.
Wednesday 13th May
Let’s start with a song today – here is Mr Bonney singing one of my favourites (and the only song I can remember all of the words to): https://vimeo.com/416287199/209848eb1d.
I had enjoyed giving you challenges to do on Wednesdays, in return for lots of House Points, but last week traumatised me. I was still getting answers from students in Ridgeway days later, but the other Houses were strangely silent. It almost made me give up…but I’m going to try one more time. Here is your Wednesday challenge, the first answer gets 10 House Points:
What links today’s date, this symbol: and this symbol: ?
I read the most remarkable news story yesterday. A crowd-funding site in the USA had been set up to raise money for two Native American communities. They have been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus, and the site aimed to raise $2 million to support them. They passed that goal really quickly, but what was interesting was that the donors were mostly coming from a different country. Somehow, the news had spread to Ireland, and thousands of Irish people were donating money.
Although this is a lovely story, it didn’t make much sense to me. I had no idea that the Irish people and Native Americans have a special bond that goes back to an incredible act of kindness in 1847. Have you heard of the Trail of Tears? In the 1830s and 40s, the US Government forced Native Americans to leave their lands so that white Americans could live there. Some tribes were forced to walk hundreds of miles to new areas that were less desirable to the white settlers: https://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/trail-of-tears. One community, the Choctaw Nation, were forced to walk 600 miles, which led to thousands of deaths and left the Choctaw in extreme poverty. When they arrived in their new home, they heard about an appeal to help people in Ireland. Ireland was gripped by the Great Famine, which left a million people dead. Hearing that white people were starving in a country 4,000 miles away, the Choctaw Nation did something truly remarkable: they pooled what money they had and sent it to Ireland. They raised $170, which doesn’t sound like much, but would be roughly $5,000 today. The Irish people have never forgotten this kindness and that is why thousands of ordinary people across the country are donating as much as they can to help Native Americans through the Cornonavirus.
I hope that you enjoy a little more exercise outside today and don’t go crazy buying flowers in garden centres!
Tuesday 12th May
Many of you will have been watching the news and trying to understand how the changes affect you. I am (genuinely) glad that from tomorrow we can exercise more - I know that my son is missing kicking a rugby ball about and I like the idea that I can go for a jog in the morning and a walk in the evening - this will seem like luxury!
At the same time, there is still a lot more detail to come and we will learn more as the week goes on. One thing is clear: if we are responsible and keep following social distancing and hygiene measures, then the rate of infection should continue to fall. If this happens, we will start to get more and more of our freedom back.
The Prime Minister’s announcement has also made us realise that the virtual lessons you are experiencing now are likely to continue for a while. We will be contacting you to ask how you are finding them. We have already started with Year 12. We will also be asking your parents and carers what is working and what we need to change.
As ever, you will hear lots of people telling you that they know for certain what is going to happen next. These people will sound very sure that they know when you are going to be back at school. A lot of messages like this are circulating on social media. Please don’t believe them. Things will change as the rate of infection changes and as the Government works out how well we are responding to their instructions. I doubt, right now, that even the Prime Minister would be able to tell us when we will all be back at school.
Okay, by now you probably want something more cheerful! How about this story: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/05/05/us/louisiana-aggressive-chicken-trnd/index.html. You may have to stay indoors, but at least chickens aren’t trying to mug you...
I have found the messages from the Queen recently very comforting, and started reading about what she did in WWII. Apparently she became quite a good mechanic and is still very interested in cars. In the picture below, she is showing her mother what she did at work:
Our leaders never wanted to have to make the decisions facing them.
They will be doubting themselves and feeling the weakness of being human.
There will be days when the consequences of their decisions will weigh so heavily upon them
That it might stop them seeing clearly.
Only you can give them the strength, Lord, to lead us out of the wilderness,
As you have been doing for your people since the dawn of time.
Please lift our fears and help us to be strong in our faith.
Monday 11th May
Today is our first Well-being Day! We will try to have a day like this every few weeks where you stop and reflect, make contact with your tutor and spend time looking at the resources on the Pastoral Support Frog Site and your House Frog pages. It’s also an opportunity to try and learn some new skills. We’ve left the ‘Easter Activities’ pages up on our website to give you some ideas: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/easter-activities/.
It is also the perfect day for an inspiring story. I have spoken to you in assemblies about Rashema Melson, the student in Washington D.C. who finished top of her class and earned a scholarship to University, despite being homeless. She talks movingly of the challenges that she faced trying to keep up with her school work and how important it was to her not to be defined by her circumstances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEKH0gEvB2M.
During the lockdown the BBC has been following a number of students around the world. One story that reminded me of Rashema Melson, was Ana Carmona’s video diary: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52539985. Ana lives in the Bronx, in New York. She lives in a one-bedroom flat. I imagine that there are some lovely, spacious one-bedroom flats in New York, with great views, an elevator and a fancy doorman outside. Ana doesn’t live in one of those. Ana has to share her one bedroom with her brother and two sisters; her parents get to sleep in the living room. I won’t spoil the ending, but you know that I wouldn’t be recommending it if Ana didn’t achieve something special!
Please keep sending in your VE Day pictures, we are going to put a page together for the website. Thank you to everyone who contributed a memory or photo, it was very moving reading the stories and getting a first-hand view of what VE Day meant to ordinary people.
We will obviously need to talk as a school about the Prime Minister’s announcement, but I want to wait and hear the detail today before we start to discuss what it means for us all. I do think that there may be one big mistake: saying that we can all go out and exercise as much as we like from Wednesday means that it will now rain solidly for at least a month…
Have a great day!
Friday 8th May
VE Day Memories
I hope that you enjoy a well-deserved rest today: we are all very impressed by how hard you’ve been working. I also hope that you are able to think about VE Day. To help you understand why it is such an important day, I thought that you needed to hear from people who were there when the amazing news of peace in Europe was first heard. Thank you to everyone who has contributed a memory or a picture below.
Our bunting is up at school – have you got yours? Please send pictures of your Union Flags and other decorations.
Before you read on, why not watch this video to get you in the mood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=73&v=m3C4i9kpSrI&feature=emb_logo.
The song has been put together by the Royal British Legion. At 9pm tonight, they would like us all to sing along to ‘We’ll Meet Again’. You can find out more here: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong.
Here are memories shared by students and staff:
Theo Allport (7SH) spoke to his grandmother about VE Day, “She told me what she remembered as a five-year old girl. Her mother had a pillbox black hat which she decorated with the letters USSR which she cut from an old white sheet in recognition of our allies who had helped us win the war. She also made tall chefs hats out of stiff white paper which she decorated with streamers of thin coloured ribbon - these she gave to my grandmother and her cousin. It was a very nice day sunny and warm. The girls were picked up and taken to the recreation ground behind Soham church where there were children’s races and the Soham town band played.”
The Cooke family, Lara, Alex and Aniko, (Wilson) share memories from their grandfathers, Peter and Martin. First, Martin Cooke: “75 years ago tomorrow I was at the VE Day Thanksgiving tea party outside the parish hall in the Surrey village of Shackleford. All us Cookes were there, including my father then based at an army camp near Guildford and my Huxley grandfather. We elder two children had enjoyed a "rodeo" circus performed at Christmas 1943 by the Canadian regiment stationed in the heath above the village, but this was extra special because those attending were not only all the village residents but also German and Italian Prisoners of War who worked as labourers on the large local farm. It was a bold gesture of farmer Mr Stovold to have invited them, but even more amazing was when my mother started singing in German the beautiful Schubert song "Die Forelle" and then going up to welcome them in their own language.
“My mother was a very keen singer so it was natural for her to express her joy at the ending of the second World War in her lifetime by singing. However she was to tell me later that German music was such an important aspect of our shared European culture and so she expressed her hope that Britons and Germans could come together peacefully after the devastating conflicts she and they had endured in her life.
“As far as I can recall the reaction of the villagers was a mixture of astonishment and also pleasure. However I expect there were some who were expecting a recording of a Vera Lynn song to be played!
“Tomorrow therefore I shall be gratefully commemorating not only the ending of those years of conflict and the consequential killing of so many on battlefields and by bombing but also the start of almost my entire life of friendly relations with Germans as typified by the parish partnership between St Paul's Church Chichester and Alt-Schoenberg in Berlin.
“Happy VE Day to you and your friends! Grus Got!”
Alex, Aniko and Lara’s grandfather, Peter Lunt, recalls his memories of VE Day in Rugby: “I remember that it was such a wonderful relief that the war in Europe was over, though not all hostilities had stopped. Many of our forces had moved to the Far East theatre, where the Japanese were still a problem, and we all know how cruel they were. I think that it was another year until VJ day and our forces were out in that area for quite a while afterwards.
"I remember going to a tiny balcony in front of my father's office where we watched a victory procession: marching soldiers, airmen and sailors, with bands playing. Of course as I was only just nearly 10, I was not aware of many of the facts of the War until much later. Our small town had suffered a few bombs (there was more than one important engineering works ) but not a lot of damage. I can remember hearing the bombing of Coventry as we sheltered under a special metal table downstairs.
"It must have been such a great relief to my parents that this main part of the war was over, and there was a prospect of returning to normal life, though of course in fact there was continuing rationing with shortages for several years"
Sam Wyatt (7Otter): To celebrate the VE 75th Anniversary I decorated the front of our house with my mum and sister. We put up bunting and a union jack ensign that my granddad had leant us. We put chairs in the front garden. At 3pm we had tea outside and spoke and waved to our neighbors. At 9pm one neighbors put on 1940s music. People came outside and danced in the street.
On 8th May I had a message from my scout group, 5th Chichester. It named men from my troop that died in the second world war and how they died so we could remember them.
Memories of VE day
Name Don. Age on VE day: 7
Friend and neighbor. Lives Bognor Road Chichester. He lived there on VE day. Don said he remembers people putting bunting across the Bognor Road from the pub to the laundry (where the coop is) He remembers his mum decorating his front garden with flowers. He said a scrap yard lorry came down the road with boys in the back and they pulled down the bunting. He doesn’t remember anything else.
Name John. Age on VE day: 15
Great great uncle. Lived in Sunning Hill on VE day. John said that they had expected the announcement for a few days before it came. He remembers Montgomery talking about it before Churchill made the announcement. He lived in a small village with his mum. He said that people did not seem excited and they said ‘so thats it’. He did not go to any celebrations and thought there went any in his village that day, but thought something was arrange later on. He said there wasn’t anyone around to arrange anything. He was due to sit his School certificate and was more concerned about these than VE day. He said he had not done much work. He said that he was not excited about VE day as the war was only half over as it was still going on in the far east. He was worried that if it went on he would have to go and fight in a few years. John remembers celebrating VJ (Victory in Japan) day. He cycled for 2 days to Portsmouth to look at the war ships.
Name Gill. Age on VE day: 7
Great Aunt. Lived in Twyford. Gill remembers people being excited and saying its VE day but she didn’t know what they meant. She lived in the countryside and does not think her mother told her there was a war on. She does not think they had a party.
Ms Pilgrim: “My dad remembered that when he was at school he was told that Hitler had invaded Russia. He distinctly remembers that he thought: 'Hitler has lost the war' because of the two fronts. Just like my game of Risk with my three this week!”
Ms Keighley talks about a Street Party and the food: “Elizabeth Woodford (then aged nearly 10) was living in Totnes, South Devon, and well remembers the street party organised for all the children, which she and her younger sister Anne attended. The tables were set out in a road at the very top of the town aptly called ‘The Narrows’.
“You had to take your own chair. It was very exciting, bunting made from scraps of dress fabrics (nearly everyone made their clothes during the War) triangles of paper, including newspaper, all on string hung from the windows across the street above the shops.
“All the food was homemade obviously. We had jelly and we did have small cakes or ‘buns’ as we called them then. I don’t remember any kind of sandwiches except egg, plenty of those because in the country everyone had a chicken or two.
“Spare eggs were stored in a liquid called Isinglass in large stone jars. When our chicken got too old to lay, it was killed by my Dad and I had to help pluck all the feathers off, but it made a lovely change for a couple of lunches instead of wild rabbit, stuffed pig’s hearts or faggots, liver, or, worst of all, tripe, especially the green sort, which my father loved. We did have sausage, or should I say, half a sausage now and again. Mum, being Cornish, made pasties when she could get a bit of ‘skirt’ beef with our food ration cards, there were separate clothing coupons.
“For the party, she made a plate of ‘Butterfly’ buns as we used to call them in the family - a plain mixture in a small cupcake case. When cooked she scooped out a circular piece in the top, halved that and re-arranged the halves so that they formed a ‘butterfly’ wing shape on top of some jam that had been put in the ‘dip’ where the top had been. A friend and I can also remember some sort of ‘ice cream’, certainly not ice-cream as you would know it today. It was frozen mashed potato that had had custard powder and clotted cream added. When I think of it now I want to say ... Yuck!”
Ms Bradberry: “My Grandma was outside Buckingham Palace on VE Day, I remember she said the atmosphere was electric and everyone danced, sung and drank a lot! Along with quite a lot of kissing I believe. It was one of the memories she told me where I saw her the most alive, like she was living it all over again.”
Ms Sutton: “My mother and father were both in the army in Gibraltar Barracks, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. My father was in the Dental Corps and my mother in the ATS and was in charge of the girls billet there, as well as working in the stores. Both were called up. My mother went to see him as a patient as the ladies dentist was ill and he asked her out when she was in the dental chair! The rest is history. She did check that he wasn’t married first! I should imagine that they both celebrated VE Day together in style. They may have been in London on leave and used to meet at a large department store called Swan and Edgar. They both liked the theatre too and once booked ‘The Shop at Sly Corner‘ at St Martin’s Theatre. I have the love letters from my father to my mother which start from October 1945 but they were together before that and saw each other on the base.”
Mr King: “Here are pictures of two street parties in SE London, VE day. First shows my mother, the second my father."
“I asked my Mum and Dad about their memories of the war:
Childhood Memories of World War II – David King
“I was born in July 1942 and was under three at the end of the war. My memories, therefore, are very limited. I do remember the blackout paper on the windows as well as crosses of sticky tape, which I subsequently learned was to limit the fragmenting of the glass in the event of it shattering as a result of a bomb blast. I also remember gas masks hanging up on the cellar door. One of them was much larger than the others and I found out later that this was for my baby sister who was born in 1944. I think that her whole body would have been enclosed in the mask.
“We lived in Plumstead in London SE18 during the war and this was part of the borough of Woolwich. I found out later that my father, a qualified mechanical engineer, worked at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. This was, I assume, a reserved occupation which meant he wasn’t called up for military service. He did, though, join the Royal Arsenal branch of the Home Guard and aspired to the rank of sergeant.”
Childhood Memories of World War II – Margaret King
“I was born in November 1942 in Forest Hill in London. I lived downstairs in a house with my Mum, Dad and sister. My Grandma and Aunt lived upstairs. My father was away from home for much of the time as he was in the RAF. My memories of the war are very limited but I can remember our garden where I played and helped with Grandma’s gardening. She grew potatoes, carrots, lots of soft fruit, rhubarb and apples. When Grandma heard the noise of a horse she would rush out of the house with a shovel and bucket to collect manure.
“I remember my gas mask hanging on the door handle of my Grandma’ room and also her lighting the gas mantle when it got dark. She also took me out in my pushchair to church. On one occasion planes were flying overhead and my sister, who was three years older than me, urged Grandma to hurry home. Grandma wouldn’t hurry and said “I am not rushing just because Hitler wants me to”. We did get home safely.
“Christmas was always at home with the family and my uncle. He was a conscientious objector but I obviously didn’t know what that meant at the time. He was a school teacher and may have done other jobs as well.
“Mum, my sister, Shirley, and I were evacuated to North Wales but my Mum hated it and brought us back home to London. On the whole I have happy memories of my childhood, especially of my Grandma.”
Ms Cooper: “I asked my Mum who is 82 this year for her memories. VE Day took place just before her 7th birthday. She does remember that she and my Aunt, who was 10 at the time, went to a party held at the Fire Station opposite Broadwater Green in Worthing - she was very excited as a young child to be going to a big party!”
Ms Christopher: “My mother-in-law who is 91 on Saturday (so she was nearly 16 at the time) remembers that her father and brother went to London from Kent and stood outside Buckingham Palace and shouted for the King. She and her mother stayed at home in Gillingham and had a street party with her neighbours. They all sat outside at long tables and shared their food which they all brought along despite rationing. On VJ Day she and her mother went to London to shout for the King outside Buckingham Palace. She said there was an amazing atmosphere.”
Ms Rogers: “My Mum who was 15 years old and living in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales remembers the euphoria and happiness of VE Day. She was relieved her Father would no longer have to drive the ambulance in the blitz in Swansea (he was away from home for three weeks on one occasion and no-one knew if he was coming back). There was a huge street party with really long trestle tables which she wondered where they had come from. There was more food than anyone had seen for a while (although Mum and her 4 siblings were never hungry thanks to the allotment and my grandmother's inventiveness) with cakes made from dried eggs and olive oil as butter was rationed, and bunting and flags all along the street. Races were run for children and adults along the road and Mum remembers being very concerned about Mrs. Watkins who tripped and fell over during her race!”
Ms. Gibson’s mum is in this picture from VE Day:
Mr Jackson - from my Grandma's diary (my mum’s Mum):
7 May – “Caught the 7.50 train to Leicester from Nottingham. Celebrated at night waiting for the surrender announcement. Mother phoned that night.”
8 May – “VE Day had bonfire at night.”
9 May – “Went to the bank (this is where she worked) closed at 12 not busy.”
Ms Bowen-Melfi remembers: "Both my mum and dad were in the Blitz (both in London), sadly they have both passed away, but during the Blitz all the houses were bombed in Monson Road, (Just off the Old Kent Road). The story goes that only two houses remained standing and my mum used to feed all the stray cats (she would’ve been about 10-11 years old).
"Also my mum was cycling around Blackheath Common and was pushed onto a ditch by a kind elderly man when a German bomber was firing at people on the Common.
"My great uncle was a train driver (steam) and he was one of the drivers that bought all the soldiers back from the coast during the Dunkirk evacuation."
Ms Ockwell: "My Dad Bernard Stephenson was called up at 19 years old and went to serve in the Royal Navy on board HMS Black Swan. He had some amazing stories about the things he saw and experienced. But one that always sends a shiver was when one day, they were in a battle with a German ship, Dad was on deck with his comrades firing guns. Suddenly they saw a ‘dome’ in the water that could only mean one thing, a torpedo heading straight for them. He said he remembered putting his hand on his pocket to make sure he had his papers there so his mum would be notified of his death. The whole crew just paused and waited, he closed his eyes, then suddenly there was a huge explosion. He turned to look at his friend next to him who was also looking at him. They were not sure what was happening until they turned around and saw the torpedo had dipped under them and blown up an American ship which was behind them! I can’t imagine the fear they must’ve had at that moment.
"On a happier note, he used to be part of band singing to entertain the troops and to keep their spirits up! Maybe that’s where I get it from?"
Thank you for reminding us that even the worst hardship ends,
And for showing us that ordinary people can suffer and still smile.
We pray for peace in our world, and ask that you give us the strength
To fight against war and defeat those who use hatred as a weapon.
Make us all channels of your peace.
In your most glorious name,
Thursday 7th May
VE Day Tomorrow
I’m afraid that a really nasty incident happened yesterday. I set you a challenge to explain the crosses on the Union Flag and offered House Points as a reward. I guess that was my mistake. With minutes of emailing I had the answer - first points to Ridgeway. Soon after, the second place winner mails me back - more points to Ridgeway. Third place - by this time I couldn’t watch. Almost military precision. Ridgeway again. Other Houses: the gauntlet has been thrown down. Snoozing means losing...in this case, literally...
Here is the answer to the challenge in our winner, Jack Newman’s, own words:
“The crosses are:
Cross of Saint Andrew - Scotland
Cross of Saint Patrick - Northern Ireland
Cross of Saint George - England
I think Wales should have a place on the Union Jack.
The Mayor wants us to put Union Jacks up because it is VE Day on Friday.”
Do you agree with Jack about the Welsh flag? It wasn’t included in the original design because England and Wales had been joined for a long time when the Union Flag was designed. There is a version of the flag with a dragon - the symbol of Wales - on it. Should we adopt that?
Second place went to Luna Wells, who knew the backstory of the flag:
“In Sea Cadets, when we put the flag up we have to be very careful that it doesn't touch the floor as it is very disrespectful to do so. The flag is mainly known as the Union Jack but should really only be called that when it is up on a poll waving in the air.”
Third place went to Alice Cocks, completing Ridgeway’s smack-down.
Today is the last day of the working week, as tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I would, however, like to send a special message out in the morning, where we share your families’ memories of VE Day. Please can you speak to any relatives who might remember VE Day and let me know what they said. This will help us to understand why VE Day is so important. A Historian called Russell Miller, who was six at the time, said that ‘there was no other day like it’. Why was it so special?
Please don’t forget your own flag and bunting for tomorrow. It would be great to see pictures - I am sure you will do a better job than me! There are plenty of ideas for commemorating VE Day in Ms Lawlor’s email that she sent yesterday. Henry in 8…you guessed it…Ridgeway told me that his street are having a social distancing street party tomorrow. Let me know of any plans you have to commemorate VE Day that you don’t mind me sharing with everyone.
The long weekend is also a great opportunity to do some chores. The Bishop Luffa Spring clean has raised £840.50 so far. I’m sure that your houses are not clean enough yet! Keep going! Ms Hurry thought that this verse might inspire you:
Wednesday 6th May
The Mayor of Chichester, Richard Plowman, is a great friend of our school and has supported us at many of our fundraising events. He has a favour to ask us in return: he would like every house in Chichester and the local area to have a Union Flag in their window from Friday until Sunday. Please read his letter here: https://chichestercdt.org.uk/ve75-letter-from-chichester-mayor/.
In a meeting yesterday, Mr King asked some of us to say one thing that we remembered from a subject that we weren’t that good at when we were at school. This is an interesting question to ask your parents and carers – what do they remember? Some people remembered a line or two from Shakespeare, others an equation from Science. I was struggling to remember much, but strangely I do remember how you draw a Union Flag, and it’s not as easy as it looks! Here is a very quick guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWEspSdCuew, but there are some very precise versions online showing you the exact measurements that you should use. My fact from school about the flag is that it isn’t symmetrical; our Site Manager, Mr Parrott, can spot immediately when the flag is the wrong way round!
Do any of you, without using Google, know the three crosses that make up the Union Flag and what they represent? The usual ten House Points for the first correct answer. There are bonus House Points if you can tell me why our Mayor wants us to put the flag in our windows. I will share the best explanations with you on Friday.
Ms. Castle has illustrated a Bible verse that means a lot to Ms. Gibson. I think it is one of my favourite, so far, of Ms Castle’s pictures:
Have a lovely day,
Tuesday 5th May
Last week the Diocese of Chichester announced the appointment of its first ever female Bishop, Revd Ruth Bushyager, who is now the Bishop of Horsham. We should be very pleased that this hasn’t made national headlines. This means that a female Bishop is not big news. A few weeks before the announcement a female Bishop had died in America. Her name was The Right Reverend Barbara Harris and she was the first female Bishop appointed in an Anglican church. The remarkable thing about her passing was that she died peacefully in her bed, as she had not led a peaceful life.
When Barbara Harris went to the ceremony to make her a Bishop, in Boston in 1989, she was handed a bullet-proof vest by the police who were guarding her. She refused to wear it, although she knew that there were many people who had publicly declared that they wanted her dead.
Barbara Harris knew all about intimidation. As an African American growing up in the 30s and 40s she was used to racism and she was used to fighting for what she believed in. In 1965 Barbara had marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, in what became an historic march in the campaign for equal rights for black and white Americans. The march was triggered by ‘Bloody Sunday’, when the County Sheriff had ordered all white men over 21 years old to be ‘deputised’ (literally made police officers for the day) so that they could use force to break up a peaceful demonstration of African Americans.
Barbara Harris had even lived with racism in church. When she was confirmed as a teenager she remembered that the white Bishop had worn gloves, which she was sure was because he didn’t want to touch the black children at the altar rail. It was then that she decided that she needed to speak out for people who were silenced by the majority. She asked her congregation: ‘if God is the creator of all persons, then how can some people be more acceptable to God than other people?’
I hope that you don’t have to fight as hard for justice as Barbara Harris did, but we owe it to her not to forget what she endured to make this world a fairer place to live in.
Can anyone work out why I have called today’s message ‘diagonals’?
To read more:
Monday 4th May
Week 112 of isolation…the rations are running out and I’m starting to talk to the furniture… I can tuck my beard into my socks now and I haven’t used deodorant since Christmas…
Fortunately we aren’t in this situation and many countries are starting to emerge from their cocoon. We may well follow, if not soon, in a few weeks or months. That is great news, and I can’t wait to get back to the life I remember: you know, when you could go to the cinema or buy flour.
At the same time, there have been things about the lockdown that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve liked spending more time with my family. I’ve liked finding new ways to communicate with students, and I’m sure that I’ve had conversations with some of you that would never have happened in a busy day at school. I’ve talked to family members that I normally only see at Christmas. I’ve appreciated the food I’m eating more.
Some truly remarkable things have happened in the world, too. Last year Chichester District Council declared a climate emergency and one of their goals was to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads, so that fewer fossil fuels were being used. In the last fortnight, the price of oil in the U.S.A. turned negative [ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52350082 or more detail here: https://www.ft.com/content/a5292644-958d-4065-92e8-ace55d766654 ] which means that producers were paying people to take the oil, as they literally couldn’t give it away. At the start of this year, no-one would ever have believed that this was possible.
If we’re not careful, we could learn nothing from this experience and just go back to the way we used to live: it could all seem like a dream to most, a nightmare to some. So let’s resolve, as a school, not to go back to the way things were. What are we going to do differently as a result of the lockdown? What changes are we going to make? Please let me know and talk to your Head of House and your House Captains about it. I’ve asked the staff to do exactly the same thing, and they are all telling Mr Barnett what they want to be different for them when something like normality returns.
Instead of a Bible verse or prayer, I have a song for you today. It has been put together by churches across the U.K. and was forwarded to me by Ms Faulkner. It is amazing to listen to: https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U. If you make it all the way through without feeling at least a tiny bit emotional, then you need to go to Oz and get yourself a heart…
Friday 1st May
Today our Year 11 and 13 students will finish their GCSE, BTEC and A’Level courses. All of these students will be moving on to the next stage in their education from Monday, and will finish completely on 19th June.
I am so proud of all of you in Years 11 and 13, because you have adapted to the most extreme change in expectations that we have ever known as a school. We have spent years talking to you about ‘the longest summer holiday of your lives’, only to have it turned into the longest house arrest ever. You deserve so much more than the hand you’ve been dealt, but the resilience and perspective that you have developed will help you for the rest of your lives.
I was thinking about the impact of a crisis on an individual’s character while I watched Captain (Colonel?) Tom Moore’s birthday celebrations yesterday. Captain Tom enlisted at the start of World War II, when he was 19. Like many of you, he must have had very different plans for a time of life that people look forward to with such excitement, and, also like you, he had it taken away from him for reasons beyond his control. Perhaps this is why he has reacted so positively and so practically to the present crisis. I hope that you find hope in this: you could be a generation that takes everything in their stride from now on, because this crisis has taught you that you can’t take anything for granted.
I have seen you follow Captain Tom’s example this week, and respond very practically to devastating news. This week you have raised £620.50 for the PICU. That is a lot of chores completed (I hope) and is a huge boost for a charity that we know is struggling to raise funds at the moment. Thank you all, and keep on tidying!
On a lighter note, Captain Tom had to deal with another disappointment in his life: if you haven’t seen him compete on the gameshow Blankety Blank it is well worth watching: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08bw9lr.
It is easy to have good intentions,
But often hard to turn words into deeds.
Please give us the strength that we need
To become the people that we dream of being.
Help us to follow the example of our heroes
One step at a time.
In Jesus’ name,
Have a good weekend,
Thursday 30th April
Tonight when we have the weekly applause for the NHS I’m going to be clapping for one of our own students, as well. He will not be happy with me for making a fuss, but D.J. Barth in Year 11 is a real hero and has been given a national award for performing life-saving resuscitation twice. You can read more here: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/people/incredible-west-wittering-teenager-receives-award-after-twice-saving-his-grandmothers-life-2553769.
There have been a number of stories in the news recently about schools possibly opening again. I am excited that this might happen, but I don’t want you being given false hope that this is almost over, when lockdown could still last for a long time – hope for the best but prepare for the worst! We are starting to make plans for how we can keep you all safe whenever we are able to open: we will be ready when the announcement comes, don’t worry. Please ignore any rumours and I promise that I will send you a message as soon as we have been told that we can open the gates…
I hope that we can start to see more of you, though, over the next few weeks, as we trial video lessons. I am sure that you are missing seeing other students, so hopefully we can give you the opportunity to reconnect with the people in your classes and your lovely teachers. It won’t be possible to have all of your lessons online (I think the system would probably break!) but hopefully all of you will get to try at least one video lesson in the next week.
The Government has opened an online school called ‘Oak National Academy’. Today they are having their first assembly, so there will be a national assembly for all children in England at 10am here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-gOKwgu5_g9Pm1YBMb5G_A. It will then be stored here: https://www.thenational.academy/assembly if you want to watch it later. The first assembly is being led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and students from schools in Nottingham and Bristol.
Have a great day!
Wednesday 29th April
Was 'E.T.' a Documentary?
I’m pretty sure that Joe Wicks said yesterday that ‘exercise makes you a better human’. I’m not totally sure, but I think he did. It was an interesting day to think about being human, because the United States’ military released this picture and a number of videos:
The videos apparently show objects that U.S. Navy pilots couldn’t explain, or ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’. You can watch them here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52457805.
The first British astronaut in space was a chemist called Helen Sharman. She definitely believes that there are aliens out there. She thinks: "There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life. Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not." (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/05/astronaut-helen-sharman-this-much-i-know).
What do you think? Are we alone in the universe? Former U.S. President Ronald Regan, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1987, said: “I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside of this world.” It has been interesting that the present crisis hasn’t brought different countries together; in fact, sometimes it seems as though we are competing to see who is the best at dealing with the virus, and of course, who is the worst. Do you think that finding alien life would make us all closer, or would it make us compete even more?
Many of us believe that we have been created in the image of God. That doesn’t mean that we all look the same. Do you think that aliens would have that family resemblance?
In other news, we will find out today about two new Bishops in our Diocese. Bishop Martin is the Bishop of Chichester, but he effectively has two deputies, the Bishop of Horsham and the Bishop of Lewes. Both of these posts have been vacant for almost a year. At 10am today there will be an announcement from Downing Street letting us know who has been appointed to these roles.
Thank you for scientists and all who explore the universe around us.
Thank you for the knowledge that they give us of your creation,
And please help them in their work to make our world a safer place.
We pray for your two new Bishops,
And hope that they will provide leadership to us all in these difficult times.
In your name, Lord,
Tuesday 28th April
I was in school yesterday and it struck me that we need to create an archive of all the posters that we have up at school about the Coronavirus. We have handwashing advice on most walls; rainbows; posters explaining that you need to be a ‘Mr White away’ from the people around you to be safe. Surely these are part of history?
Ms Hurry then sent me this link to the Records Office: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/news/help-the-west-sussex-record-office-document-these-unprecedented-times/, who want us to write diaries during the lockdown. Do any of you keep a diary? Has anyone started a diary recently? In the Second World War, members of the public were given diaries and asked to write in them and send them back to the Government, so that we had a picture of how life changed. They are now housed at Sussex University. One of my favourite entries was from a lady in her 60s, who moans about the ‘youths’ in air raid shelters – apparently they had no manners and the young generally didn’t behave ‘like they did in my day’. Some things don’t change!
The diaries were brilliant for explaining the impact of the War on everyday life. There are examples of how to take a dog for a walk in a blackout – have any of you found creative ways to look after your animals? And, just as now, there were some very odd meals being prepared because not all of the usual ingredients were available. This recipe for ‘Eggless Sponge’ might actually be quite useful: https://the1940sexperiment.com/2009/08/15/eggless-sponge-gone-wrong/ !
The Government have asked everyone to observe a minute of silence at 11am this morning to remember the key workers who have died from the virus. Normally we would ring the bells to remind you, so perhaps see if you can find a school bell alarm to make it feel authentic…
Please don’t forget to send in your ‘Bishop Luffa Spring Clean’ posters and keep doing those chores around the house. You don’t have to print the poster out, as Ms Hurry is demonstrating:
I think that it is going to be wet break today, so please decide which room in your home is going to be your Break Room, and make sure there is no-one from another House in there…Mr Jackson will be checking!
Monday 27th April
Last week we launched our ‘Bishop Luffa Spring Clean’ in aid of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Southampton. This was because of Ms Cooper’s granddaughter, Chloe, who was being treated there. I am very sorry to start your week with sad news, but Chloe passed away at the weekend.
Ms Cooper is an amazing person, an example to all of us. When I asked her what we could do to help, she told me that we should carry on with our Spring Clean. In her words: ‘The whole family are so very grateful for prayers and for any donations, however small, to PICU in memory of Chloe. Chloe touched a lot of hearts with her incredible fighting spirit and her amazing smiles.’
Chloe’s mum has said: ‘We owe a huge thank you to Southampton PICU who, even through the hardest of times, put our family and our little girl first and made it possible to make that one last journey home.’ Because of the lockdown, not all family members had been able to see Chloe, so an ambulance with five PICU staff in it brought Chloe home to say goodbye to her family, supported by two of the community nursing team. It is not just because of the Coronavirus that we should be thankful for the dedication of NHS staff.
A great response to this news would be to commit to the Spring Clean by sending in a picture of yourself with the poster. Mr Barnett has a personal connection to PICU, so he is leading the way:
Please also remember that Mrs Cooper has asked for prayers. I watched the Sunday service from St. Pancras Church yesterday and Darren, who comes into Bishop Luffa sometimes, had a suggestion for a prayer walk. His idea was that every time we see a rainbow in someone’s window, we should pray for the people in that house. That seemed like a really good idea to me, and I thought that our version could be to pray for the people in that house and the staff at the PICU whenever we see a rainbow.
We pray for Chloe’s family in their time of need.
We thank you for the incredible staff that work in the PICU,
And we ask that you show us how we can say thank you to them for all they’ve done.
Please bless every house with a rainbow in the window,
A sign of hope for better days to come.
In Jesus’ name,
Friday 24th April
A FRIDAY FACELIFT
Ms Castle has fallen out with her laptop, I think:
Please don’t try this at home!
Thank you to everyone who answered the question yesterday. The winner was Elliott Simpson in 7Wilson who told me that “William Shakespeare died today, he wrote the quote in Richard III about Saint George. It is also St George’s day today.” Well done, Elliott. In second place we had Imogen Lynas from 8Otter and third place was Johnny Sargent from 8Burrows.
I have two more heroes for you today. Both of them are looking after us, even though we aren’t in school and can’t see what they’re doing…
To explain, I am going to try and remind you of the things that you don’t like about school. I know how much you don’t enjoy the lunch queue; today is Friday, which means a crush as everyone tries to get fish and chips, lined up by the dingy wood panels in the Bartlett Hall. I know that assembly is a highlight of your week, but any time you’re in the Bartlett Hall you are surrounded by old, tired decorations and dark, austere wood. Even when something exciting is happening, like Charity Week or the Fashion Show, the Hall isn’t giving ‘always its best’ and showing you that ‘everyone matters’.
Not any more. Mr Parrott, our site manager, and Ms Leonard, who puts up all of our big displays, have been wanting to give the Bartlett Hall a make-over for ages. They have seen the lockdown as an opportunity:
When you come back to school, you are going to find that the school has had a facelift in many areas. That is because heroes like Mr Parrott and Ms Leonard, our site team and our cleaners are thinking about you and want to show you how much they care about you all. They miss you and the improvements they are making are their way of showing you how much you all mean to us.
The last group of heroes that we need to thank are your parents and carers, who have added ‘teacher’, ‘canteen staff’, ‘caretaker’ and ‘counsellor’ to all of the jobs that they do. We can see from how well you are doing in your school work how well they must be doing in their new jobs.
Thank you for all of the heroes in our lives,
And help us to find ways to show them how grateful we are.
Please lift us up when we are feeling down,
And let us know when other people need our support.
In your name, Lord,
Have a good weekend,
Thursday 23rd April
Do you know what’s special about today? It is an important day when we commemorate two British heroes. Here is a clue to both of them: ‘inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!’. The first one with both correct names will win a prize and ten house points…
It is a special day for another reason: tonight the BBC have a special fund-raising event that is a combination of Children in Need and Comic Relief, called ‘The Big Night In’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bignightin). One of the many events is Peter Kay re-recording ‘The Road to Amarillo’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/bignightin/amarillo. If you are in Year 7, this happened when you were about two years old! I think that it would be fun to record our own, social distancing version, so if you are up for it, please send me a short video of you and anyone else in your house (must be a willing participant) miming the song. We will put it together and have our own Bishop Luffa conga-line!
It’s important to join up with big national events like this, but at Bishop Luffa we have a tradition of being strongly connected to our charities. That is why we are choosing today to launch an appeal. It is being led by today’s hero, Joe Clines, from 11King. I will hand over to Joe and his tutor, Miss Hurry, to explain:
The Luffa Spring Clean for PICU
Who are we raising money for?
Today we begin a fundraising campaign for the Southampton Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Our reason for supporting this charity is a personal one; our inspiration is the beautiful Chloe Green who is the granddaughter of our Admissions Officer, Mrs Gill Cooper. One year old Chloe is currently a resident on the PICU ward. You can find out about Chloe and her heart-wrenching story by watching the introduction video on our Frog website – search for ‘Bishop Luffa Spring Clean’.
Chloe’s Dad and his brothers, and Mrs Cooper, are former Bishop Luffa students. Being part of the Bishop Luffa Family does not end when you leave school, but is a life-long connection that can continue to support you as you tread life’s path. With that in mind, we asked Chloe’s family to nominate their chosen charity, which is Southampton PICU. Unfortunately, many of the planned spring/summer outdoor events to raise money for PICU this year have been cancelled, so we must try to plug this fundraising shortfall from the comfort of our own homes! At this super-challenging time for the NHS they have asked us to stay at home to save lives, so we want to raise money while we stay at home, to help them continue to save the lives of more children like Chloe. Chloe has many challenges ahead but thanks to the staff on PICU she is here to face those challenges with her family.
What do we need you to do?
We would like our students to raise money by asking their families to sponsor them to do household chores within the home. Parents and carers will receive a separate ParentMail explaining how to do that.
How do you make it happen?
The campaign will run from Monday 20th April until Sunday 31st May. Thanks to the generosity of the PFA we are able to offer prizes for the top fundraisers which include:
- A Green Home Plant Bundle worth £52 donated by The Little Botanical Company
- A £25 New Look Voucher
- A £20 Store Voucher donated by Bear About Town
- A £10 Book Voucher
We truly appreciate that this is a difficult financial time for many. Your sponsorship does not have to be a large amount, what is important is that our students and families pull together to continue our charity work at a time when charities like PICU need us most.
We hope that you will be able to support this campaign and we thank you wholeheartedly for your support and generosity at this time.
Here is a list of the kind of chores you could do:
- Washing up
- Loading/Unloading the dishwasher
- Folding laundry
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Washing windows
- Cooking a meal - the list is probably endless!
Thank you for all your support.
With best wishes
Miss Hurry and Joe Clines.
Joe has created a Frog site with a very special video. Please search for ‘Bishop Luffa Spring Clean.’ This will also be on the ‘Covid 19’ section of our website https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/.
Please send me your ‘Amarillo’ videos and support the Bishop Luffa Spring Clean in any way you can – if money isn’t possible, prayers are always welcome.
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Is it Wednesday already?
Good morning, I hope that you are all enjoying the sunshine. How many of you have kept going with Joe Wicks?
Yesterday I was reading a news story about how the lockdown is effecting Africa. I hadn’t realised that most African countries are following the same rules as us: it doesn’t seem to be in the news as much as the USA, Italy or Spain. Many African countries are struggling because they don’t have the equipment that we take for granted. One country, South Sudan, has more Vice-Presidents (5) than it does ventilators (4) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/world/africa/africa-coronavirus-ventilators.html.
East Africa has also been battling a plague of locusts, which threatens the region’s food supplies. We have a connection with this region through the Wilson House charity, Friends of the Mombasa Children (http://www.mombasachildren.org.uk/keeping-going-during-the-pandemic/). They have information on their website about the pandemic. They have managed to find temporary homes for the children who live in the orphanage and many students from the school are staying with relatives living in rural areas, where they can keep social distancing rules more easily. However, there is no furlough scheme, so lots of staff, including teachers, are not being paid during the lockdown. The school is worried that it may not be able to open again when the lockdown is over.
Our hero today is an unlikely one – Mr Allman, Head of Wilson House! Mr Allman has run 100 miles to raise money for the children in Mombasa. This has obviously become more difficult since the lockdown but he has still kept going. You can check that he really did it here: https://mrallmanluffa.wordpress.com/. If you are able to make a donation, however small, that will be greatly appreciated. If you can’t, then you can still help by sharing the link and telling other people about the children in Mombasa, and by praying for them.
I have two more heroes for you this week and I would really enjoy hearing about your heroes. I have appreciated the e-mails I’ve received this week – it is great to be back at school, even if we can’t be in the same building!
Tuesday 21st April 2020
I might not be able to draw very well, but I love art and find it lifts my spirits. I have enjoyed looking at all of the new pictures in windows as I go out for my daily walk. I’m sure that you know what I mean - how many rainbows are there on your street? Where I live there were one or two before Easter, mostly in houses with young children, but now almost every house has a rainbow in the window. Lots of them have amazing messages and some have been made in really creative ways. Our first hero today is Ivo Thornton-Smith in 7Ridgeway. Ms Witherow sent me a picture of the rainbow that Ivo had made using his textiles skills, and I love the message that ‘storms don’t last forever’:
There are some posters that are giving us advice on how to get through the lockdown. Ms Conway sent me the picture below. These can be very inspiring, and I was wondering if any of you had made something similar? If you have, please send me a picture. If not, why not make something today that is full of your tips for staying safe and staying sane at home?
However, if like me you are not so artistic, why not send a rainbow card designed by Quentin Blake (who must be the nation’s favourite illustrator!). His website has lots of designs to choose from: https://www.quentinblake.com/fun-free/send-quentin-blake-e-card. You could brighten someone’s day today with a card like this and a simple message. We have lots of replies at school to the letters you sent out before we closed. I am not sure that we will ever work out who they are for, as most say things like ‘Ellie c/o Bishop Luffa School’, but we will display all of the messages when you are back to show you what your small act of kindness meant to the people receiving them.
We have a second hero today. Ms Castle has been using her God-given gifts to lift our spirits and give us hope during the lockdown. Today’s design is one of my favourites so far:
I hope that you all have a wonderful day today.
Monday 20th April
Welcome back (virtually) to the Summer Term 2020!
I hope that you managed to relax over Easter and are now ready to start working again. I have come up with a catchy slogan that will be available on t-shirts and mugs by the end of the day – ‘Lockdown doesn’t mean shutdown’! You will be relieved to know that your Frog accounts will be filling up rapidly so that you keep on learning over the next few weeks.
One task that you could start with, if you hadn’t already seen it, would be to send Captain Tom Moore a birthday card, as he will be 100 this week:
I am sure that you have all read about Captain Tom’s incredible achievement – I don’t want to say how much he’s raised, as it seems to go up by £5 million pounds every day! He also has the number one song on iTunes, so he really is a living legend. He has also inspired many of you, and I am going to take some time this week to let you know what other Bishop Luffa students have been doing during lockdown.
Our first hero is Ella Watkins, from 7Ridgeway. Ella has been making face masks and selling them to raise money for Stone Pillow, which was our Christmas charity last year. So far, Ella has made 70 masks and raised over £220, but like Captain Tom, I know that this figure is already out-of-date.
If you would like to know more, please read this article: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/news/ellas-fantastic-fundraising/.
Thank you for the heroes that you send us,
Who give us hope and set an example for us to follow.
Please give us the wisdom to listen to those older than us
Who have endured hardship in the past,
And help us to find comfort in the words of Captain Tom
Who tells us: “the sun will shine on you again,
The clouds will go away”.
In your great and glorious name, Lord,
Have an amazing day today!
Wednesday 8th April
Here is a picture of the painted rock outside my house – anyone that has had the misfortune to see me draw on a whiteboard will know I didn’t paint it myself! It is a sign that the Easter message is being celebrated in our house. If you have a rock outside your house or in your window, I would love to see a picture.
We are now well into Holy Week – one of my teachers at primary school told us that today is called ‘Spy Wednesday’ as it is the day that Judas agreed to give Jesus up to the authorities.
I find it useful to spend some time each day during Holy Week thinking about what was happening to Jesus, the disciples and to his family. If you want to do something similar, there are links that can help you on our website here: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/easter-activities/worship-time/ and here: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/holy-week/ and on the Worship site on Frog.
I particularly like this idea that (RE) Ms Smith found: https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/18837/holy-week-adult-take-home-sheet.pdf. There are some simple paintings that help you to reflect on what Easter means, such as this picture of the Last Supper.
What do these words mean to you:
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
And whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35.
Please remember that there are lots of live services being streamed on the internet this Easter and we have details of some of them on our website: https://www.bishopluffa.org.uk/covid-19/virtual-churches/. Many churches will have special services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
Monday 6th April 2020
I wasn’t going to write to you during the holidays, but I thought you might like to see the document attached – this is the Inspection report from the Church of England.
I asked you to show the Inspector how proud you are of the school and that comes out in this report. Thank you all, you did a brilliant job and you should be very pleased with what the report says about your school.
The first thing that the Inspector told me when he arrived was that the criteria for inspections had changed and very few schools now received the top grading. Well, we are one of those very few schools – we have been rated as ‘Excellent’.
The main area that we need to work on is making sure that everyone gets the same engaging experience of Worship in tutor time. I’m sure that many of you would agree with that. The Inspector would also like us to form stronger links with schools in other countries. I would be really interested to hear your ideas on how we make these two areas strengths of our school.
It’s lovely to start Holy Week with some good news!
Friday 3rd April 2020
You've reached the Easter Holidays - how does it feel? This must have been the strangest term in a very long time. Do you feel different? I've changed - after two weeks of Joe Wicks and lunchtime runs, I now look like a cross between Captain America and Thor from The Avengers: the hair has grown back, I'm taller. The school has changed a little - please see the photo of Mr Owen's classroom. Every window at the front of school has a rainbow, and we are going to leave them up until you are all back inside.
It may not yet feel like Easter yet. I have been focussed on other things, so my mission this weekend is to get myself ready. Ms Smith (RE Ms Smith) sent me a really good idea for this Sunday, which is Palm Sunday. Everyone needs to put a stone in their window, and when we are out on our Government mandated walks, we need to look out for the stones. The stone will tell us that Easter is being celebrated here and the people inside know that Jesus is alive and walks beside us.
The stone doesn't have to be a real stone, although that would be amazing. It could be a picture of a stone or it could be paper mache, see how creative you can be. If you do put one in your window, why not send us a picture for your House's Frog site, so we can all see the different stones that are out there.
If you are looking for something to do over Easter, Mr Topley has put a list together of Easter activities, which will be on our website today. I would like to recommend two things to you: firstly, a podcast, called '13 Minutes to the Moon', which is about the final few minutes before the first Moon landing. You can find it here on the BBC website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p083t547.
My second recommendation is the Globe Theatre website. One of the most powerful decisions that we make in life is how we spend our money. I was about to download a film from Amazon, but I think that Amazon will survive (and probably grow during) the present situation. I like going to the Globe Theatre every summer, and without all of the income that they would receive from visitors, they may not make it through these next few months. So, instead of downloading a film from Amazon I decided to spend £5 watching a recording of a play performed at The Globe: https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/watch/. Think about what you will want to do when all this over and see if you can find a way, however small, to support those places and organisations while they are closed.
I know that you all like drama, because House Drama was the number one event that you wanted to keep, so we will have House Drama in the calendar when we come back! I am working with Ms Furnell to see how much preparation time we will need to put it on, but we are committed to making it happen. It may mean that we have two House Dramas next year!
Finally, you voted overwhelmingly for the student newspaper to be called 'Luffa Life'. Please can you now design a logo for the first edition - preferably today, if you can. We will send the first edition out early next week.
Thank you for the community we have at Bishop Luffa School, And the friendship that we all still feel, even while we can't be together.
We pray for all of those people who are isolated and alone And we ask that you show us how we can help them.
We pray for courage for everyone working in the NHS And hope that they and their families know how much we value them.
We pray for a Happy Easter, Lord, where your Good News shines out in the darkness.
In your name, Lord,
Have a great holiday!
Thursday 2nd April 2020
I had a lovely message from a student in Year 9 asking me about Sports Day. She was worried that Sports Day might not happen this year and wanted me to know how much it meant to her. She had a suggestion: that we have Sports Day in September if we aren't able to have it this school year. I think this is a great plan and completely agree. Similarly, Year 11 are having a Prom and Year 13 are having a Leaver's Ball - we just don't know the dates yet.
I was wondering what other events are really important to you all; so important, in fact, that we have to have them? Please let me know, so that we can all agree a list of our non-negotiables. I would like you to apply one rule: these events have to mean so much to you that you would give up a Saturday if you had to! If you send me your suggestions, I can make a calendar of our first few weeks back in school that I can share with all of you.
Ms Coxhead has let me know that, since school closed, you have answered 100, 000 questions on Hegarty Maths! That is incredible - this is roughly 75 questions per student! Year 10 are the leaders by quite a margin at the moment. The House race is tighter: Story House are just a few hundred questions behind the leaders...who are...(this works better in assembly when you can't see the answer)...Burrows House! Ms Coxhead would also like me to remind you that you can pick up your feedback by clicking on the red bell at the top of the screen. This feedback comes from your teachers, not from Mr Hegarty!
I have had a message about an interesting task that you can all try. "Every year the University of Southampton runs the National Cipher Challenge. This month they have launched a special edition of the challenge for anyone with time on their hands. The first challenge starts today and can be found through this link: https://www.cipherchallenge.org/."
Don't forget to take the survey to find a name for the student newspaper. The first articles are ready and we are hoping to send out an edition next week. We could really do with some more pictures, puzzles and jokes - if you can help, please send them to me as soon as possible!
God bless you all,
Wednesday 1st April 2020
A Pinch and a Punch...
Happy April Fool's Day! Now, I was tempted to try and pull off a practical joke today to cheer you all up, but I thought it might backfire...and then I read that some countries are banning April Fool's jokes this year. Germany, Thailand and India have all said that people face prison if they make jokes about the virus. Unless, of course, this is an April Fool's Day joke and I've fallen for it..!
Google have even said that they are not going to launch any practical jokes this year. This has been a Google tradition since 2000, when they told their users that they had some new software called 'MentalPlex'. This meant you no longer had to type what you were searching for: if you stared at the screen for long enough, the computer would search for what you were thinking. After a while an error message came up, such as 'Error 466: Multiple transmitters detected. Silence voices in your head and try again.'
Probably the most famous British April Fool's Day joke was played by the BBC in the 1950s. Its very serious current-affairs programme, Panorama, had a short feature about farming in Switzerland. The voice-over, the pictures, it all looked so real. However, the crop they were harvesting was...spaghetti. In fact, the spaghetti seemed to grow on trees! Millions of people fell for this, with many phoning the BBC and asking how to grow their own spaghetti tree. The answer they were given was to put some dried spaghetti in a tin of tomatoes and put it on the window-sill. You can watch the original clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo_wkxH9dU.
Instead of a practical joke this morning, I have a game for you. I will reveal the answers at midday (which is the cut-off point for pinching and punching, remember). The game is called 'True or Almost True'. The following statements are about members of the Leadership Team and you have to decide who they are about and whether they are true or almost true.
- A member of the leadership team scored a hattrick in an international match in France. Answer: Mr White scored a hattrick against Lyon on a hockey tour of France and Belgium. This was the last game of Mr White’s career, apparently.
- A member of the leadership team has fractured their skull while teaching. Answer: Mr Brown has broken many, many bones. He is mostly metal now. Apparently his skull was fractured running into a mobile classroom. Total dedication to the job!
- A member of the leadership team was a backing singer for Take That. Answer: This fooled no-one. Apparently Mrs Watson’s love of Take That is very well known. Mrs Watson was a backing singer for a Take That tribute band. Apparently no footage survives…
- A member of the leadership team was caught speeding in a tractor. Answer: Not sure why I was in the frame for this one. This dubious honour goes to Mr Williams, who now drives a Porsche very carefully…
- A member of the leadership team played drums at Glastonbury. Answer: And this was also Mr Williams, but it’s ‘almost true’ because the musical festival beginning with ‘g’ was actually ‘Greenbelt’, a festival almost as old as Glastonbury.
There is something very British about being able to laugh when things are going against us. I hope that you are all managing to keep your sense of humour at home and laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. Ms Conway sent me this clip yesterday of a family making self-isolation more fun, which has since gone viral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf4XxnL4lPk&feature=youtu.be.
Laughter brings people together,
Even in the toughest circumstances.
Thank you for the power you have given us
To make the most difficult situations bearable.
Help us to have a day filled with laughter
And may we feel joy and hope knowing you are with us,
Have a great day,
Tuesday 31st March 2020
At this time of year we are normally welcoming nature back from hibernation. Lots of you will go and visit farms and see lambs being born and those of us who live in more rural areas will see more and more rabbits and pheasants as the weeks go on. Seeing nature come alive like this makes humans seem happier and more optimistic, so it’s important that you stay connected to this season. You can do that without breaking any government guidelines by looking at web cams. Chichester Cathedral has peregrine falcons nesting on its roof, which you can see here: http://carnyxlive.co.uk/jwplayer/streams/chichester720ssl.html. If you look at the archive, you can actually see an egg being laid!
The Wildlife Trust has a number of webcams from across the country here: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/webcams. I particularly enjoyed the barn owls, although they don’t do a great deal! Have any of you got farm animals at home and a web cam? It would be really exciting to have our own Bishop Luffa nature pages.
I enjoyed hearing about your ‘reset’ songs yesterday, so I have a challenge for you today. How do these two lines of poetry connect to my theme this morning:
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
There are a lot of activities happening on your House Frog sites. If you haven’t had a look already, make sure that you do. I was very impressed with the e-mail from Daisy Watson on the Wilson House site, urging us to support the Trussell Trust, who fund Food Banks. Let me know if there are any other projects on your House websites that I haven’t seen.
Today the Church of England celebrates the life of John Donne, a poet and priest who lived a colourful life. He secretly married the daughter of the man who was in charge of the Tower of London and so soon found himself in prison! Despite that, he went on to become a famous writer, and most of us still know his line: ‘no man is an island’. If you change ‘man’ to ‘person’, we are finding out exactly how true that line is right now. Find out more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Donne.
I have been worried that some people don’t seem to know how far two metres is, so we have made a very informative guide. Thank you to the very talented Mr Formaggia for the graphics.
Have a lovely day,
Monday 30th March 2020
Monday Morning - Love Mondays!
Good morning Bishop Luffa School!
I hope that you all had great weekends and can’t wait for more virtual school! One more week and then it’s the holidays.
I was thinking on the way in that the second week of something is always tougher, and I wonder if that is how you are feeling this morning. When I’m struggling with something I find that I need music to get me going. Mr Topley has a phrase he uses with students a lot, he tells them ‘we need to reset you today’. When I need a reset there is one song that always helps me: You Got the Love by Candi Staton. You might know the Florence and the Machine version, but Candi Staton wrote it in the 80s about how God helps her through the dark times in her life: ‘Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air/I know I can count on you/Sometimes I feel like saying “Lord I just don’t care”/But you’ve got the love I need to see me through.’ It’s worth reading the rest of the lyrics, as they are simple but inspiring.
I really enjoyed hearing back from some of you last week, so I’d love to hear what your ‘reset’ song is? And if you haven’t got one, try mine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7dMGw3uzEU.
I know that a lot of you like to reset yourself through acting. The Festival Theatre have a challenge on their website at the moment: can you create a play in five days? The winner each week gets put up on their website – it would be great to see a Bishop Luffa student up there: https://www.cft.org.uk/prologue/blog/five-day-play.
Ms Castle wrote to me about how therapeutic she finds calligraphy. Each day this week we will have an inspirational verse that Ms Castle has designed for us. Today’s is:
The student newspaper is coming on. I need two things from you:
1) Suggestions for the name of the newspaper;
2) Pictures – cartoons, photos, illustrations.
Please e-mail me ASAP with either suggestions or pictures.
Have a great day!
Friday 27th March 2020
We had a beautiful e-mail yesterday from a parent who works in the A&E department at St. Richard’s. It was interesting to hear that people had been bringing in things that are scarce at the moment and giving them to the staff: soaps, hand lotions, food. The parent said that when she feels worried about the risk of going into work, she remembers the look on those people’s faces and remembers their kindness and it gives her the strength to ‘hand everything to God’ and go into work. I’m sure that many NHS workers will remember last night - even in the little village that I live in you could hear the pots and pans being beaten in so many windows and there was so much applause – I can’t imagine what it must have been like in Chichester. We need to keep saying ‘thank you’ over these coming weeks, and remembering how much it means to those people who are taking care of us.
I have a suggestion for you all, which I think will help you to keep things in proportion: try every day to list the things that you are thankful for. This is my list for today:
I have done more exercise this week than I’ve done in months, thanks to Joe Wicks and our daily family walk I normally don’t see much of my wife and children at this time of year, so I’m glad that we are spending time together – I hope they feel the same! The birds seem to be louder at the moment – I think that nature is enjoying humans staying indoors!
Of course, one of the main things that all of us have to be thankful for is the NHS itself. Can you imagine living in a country right now where you have to pay for health care? On top of your anxiety about getting ill, can you imagine worrying about how much it would cost to have to go to a doctor or, even worse, stay in hospital? We’ve often talked in assemblies about how you control the future: what happens to the NHS is in your hands. When the NHS opened in July 1948, it was reported that some people were seeing a doctor for the first time in their lives, because medical care was now free to everyone. If you want to know more about the history of the NHS, this is a useful starting point: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/health-and-social-care-explained/nhs-reform-timeline?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiM6N2I-66AIVA7DtCh1aUAyLEAAYAiAAEgK5XPD_BwE.
I hope that you enjoy the weekend and that you make Saturday and Sunday feel different to the rest of the week. Our list of virtual church services is on the school website – it would be a great help if you were able to circulate that list and offer technical support to friends and relatives who may be using apps like Zoom for the first time.
Ms Hurry sent me this Bible verse, which has given her great strength this week:
‘So be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.
For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.
He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
Deuteronomy 31: 6 – NLT.
God bless you all,
Thursday 26th March 2020
There was an incredible news story last night: over half a million people have volunteered to support the NHS, putting other people’s safety ahead of their own. Remember, that as a country we are going to go to our windows at 8pm tonight to give NHS workers a round of applause. These volunteers will be in my mind tonight, as well.
However, this was one of the few good news stories that I’ve read. The World Health Organisation are worried about our mental health and have advised that we ‘avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed.’ The only problem is, there’s no other news out there! So, the staff here at school have been discussing this and we think it is time that we wrote the news ourselves, so we would like to start a Bishop Luffa School newspaper online.
Mr King has come up with our first story: what is happening to all the seagulls who eat your left over food in the Cage every day? In fact, as there must be less rubbish around, what is happening to seagulls and pigeons generally? What is the virus doing to our eco-system?
I need volunteers to start the newspaper up. Please e-mail me if you would like to be involved and include your own idea for a story or write me an article answering the questions above.
There is still time to enter the Easter Card competition. I have had some lovely entries so far, so please get your entries to me by the end of school tomorrow and I will announce the winners on Monday.
Ms Coxhead has let me have some news about your progress on Hegarty Maths. There are 1610 schools using Hegarty in England, and we are 3rd out of all of those schools for the number of questions answered, despite the problems that we’ve been having getting on to their website. It would be great to be number one, and Hegarty have a new server, so let’s see if we can be the top school in England by Monday!
Let us think together today about how we can be like those volunteers and help other people, even if it is from our own homes:
Please help us to be a light to others in this time of darkness.
Guide us towards those who need us most,
Give us the strength to put aside our own fears
So that we can find peace knowing that you have a plan for us all,
And that we can put our trust in you.
Have a great day,
Wednesday 25th March 2020
Wake Up and Read This!
There are two events in the next two days where we can join with people across the world to show our love and support for other people. The first is today at 11am, when we are all being asked to say the Lord’s Prayer. Imagine millions of people all saying the same prayer at the same time across the world and the power that could have: ‘Knock and the door will be opened to you’, Matthew 7:7.
Tomorrow at 8pm we are being asked to go to our windows and clap to show our support for the NHS. People have been doing this across Europe for the last few weeks, so let’s show the NHS workers in our community how much they mean to us.
We have seen the power that people working together can have here in school. Last week we asked you to write letters to the over-70s who were self-isolating: yesterday we delivered the 580 letters that you had written. We also asked for donations to the Food Bank, and tomorrow the three shopping trolleys full of food (and toilet roll!) that you brought in is being collected and going straight to families who need it the most. Although we are having to stay in our homes, we can still come together as a community and make a difference.
One way that you can do this could be to carry on writing letters to people who are lonely: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/people/chichester-care-home-seeks-pen-pals-part-postcards-kindness-initiative-combat-loneliness-2504094. This would be a great way to keep yourself mentally fit, as well as being a huge benefit to someone else.
Another idea might be to learn a skill that could help people when all this is over: https://british-sign.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360044794654-Coronavirus-Crisis-Discounted-Free-Enrolments. What an amazing world it would be if we all knew sign language - we would really be showing that ‘everyone matters’.
Please let me know if you take-up either of these opportunities, or if you can think of other ideas that I can share with the rest of the school.
Have a great day today – God bless you all!
Tuesday 24th March 2020
The school is a very lonely place without you!
I am going to try and write to you on school days. Hopefully that will make the weekends and holidays seem different to the other days.
Many of you will be worried by what the Prime Minister said last night, but I think you will recognise what has happened. You have all been in a class where the teacher asks very politely for quiet, then pleads with everyone for quiet and finally gets very angry and demands that everyone is quiet right now! We all need to think about why the Prime Minister has given the whole country a lunchtime E9 and make sure that we are staying indoors unless it is absolutely necessary. We need to protect ourselves and everyone around us, so keep to the social distancing rules.
Many of the Year 13s tell me that their favourite book is ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ by Julia Donaldson. I worry about their chances of getting to university. Still, I think that we may all be like the old lady in the story. If you remember, she thinks her house is too small, so the ‘wise old man’ tells her to bring all her animals in to the house. When the house is completely full he tells her to put them all outside again. This makes her house seem like a mansion – she has so much space. Think of someone that you really don’t have much in common with at the moment, and then imagine that they are the first person that you see outside of your family when this is all over. You will talk for hours and you will have this whole experience in common. We will all have this in common for the rest of our lives and I think it will make us all a stronger community.
We have roughly twenty children of key workers in school, and we will be joining in with Joe Wicks at 9am. Please join in with us and see if you can get a shout-out!
We know that there were problems with Frog and Hegarty yesterday, and Mr Boxall and Ms Dickson have been working hard to resolve them. Try to download things at quieter times of the day, and consider not using your phones on the wif-fi network while you are working.
A quick prayer:
We pray for everyone in the NHS,
Who are working to protect us all.
Please be with them and make them strong,
And help us to listen to their advice,
For the protection of all your children here on Earth.
In your name, Lord,
I hope you have fun today – it would be great to see pictures on your House Frog sites!
Monday 23rd March 2020
Dear students of Bishop Luffa School,
I wanted to write to all of you on the first day of 'virtual school'. It is important to your mental health and the mental health of the staff that we all stay connected. We all need to feel as though we have a purpose, hope and a future over the next few weeks. Our lives cannot be put on hold.
Attached to this e-mail is a photo of the prize at the end of the year - it is still all to play for. House points will still be awarded and we will be letting you know the totals each week so that you can keep competing. Each House will have its own site on Frog, and I want to hear what each House is planning and sharing. King House have already launched an appeal to raise money for a very good cause.
I would also like you to send me entries for our Easter Card competition. Please can I have your art work by Friday. There will be awards, sent to you in the post, for each Year group - including Sixth Form!
Please also send us pictures of rainbows that you have put in your windows and any 'we can defeat Covid19' posters.
Finally, at 9am Joe Wicks is leading the nation in a workout - why not join in? I am joining my daughter in the 'Sally down' challenge on YouTube - have a look and see if you can join us by doing it once a day for the whole time the school is closed. We will look like Avengers by the time we are all back together!
God bless you all,