Monday 25th January
I’m annoying in the winter. You may argue that it is not just in the winter, but that would be rude! It’s comments like that that mean you are all grounded...
The reason that I’m so annoying is that I have a superpower: only one, but it’s a good one. Like most people with ginger hair, I find it easier to absorb sunlight and produce vitamin D. Doesn’t that sound exciting! Not going to get me into the Avengers, but still, it does mean that my mood doesn’t seem to change as much in the winter as it does for the people around me. My sister is a good example...
We are talking Biology here. My sister and I have different dads: my dad’s family are Irish, my sister’s dad’s family are Spanish. She has Mediterranean skin, and loves being outside in the summer and hates the winter. On Saturday she was on the phone to me complaining about how awful everything is. I felt pretty good! I pretended to empathise, but I don’t really understand how she feels in winter. Her body is struggling to make Vitamin D, which would lift her mood and help her feel healthier. In winter, in England, she would probably have to spend most of the day outside to get enough sunlight to produce the amount of Vitamin D that I get from walking the dog in the morning.
Don’t worry, she does get her own back: I will be hiding in the summer, like a vampire in a film, worried that one ray of the hot summer sun will burn me.
You may feel low right now, if you don’t have the ginger gene. Make sure you get outside, whatever the weather. The more daylight you see, the better you will feel. It will also help relieve your eyes from the strain the computer screen is putting on you.
We have assembly at 10.45 using this code: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/1ebc113e-4abe-454a-a64b-73f5a39485ca. Freya will have another challenge for you, and we have an update on the Triathlon from Joe.
Here is the morning quiz - please get me the answer before assembly for a chance to win points!
Which two of these famous leaders didn’t have ginger hair:
Queen Elizabeth I
Thank you for making us all so different.
Please help us to use our differences to help other people.
When we can see that others are struggling with the winter gloom,
Please show us how we can lift their spirits.
Give us the strength to bring your light into other people's lives.
Have a good day,
Friday 22nd January
United in Favour of Fridays!
There were more votes in the second round of the Masked Singer than in the first, and the result was even closer. Here we go:
Mrs Feakins-Taylor 19.8%
Mrs Regan 14.9%
Mrs Basurto 10.9%
Ms Blyskal 10.9%
Ms Hobbs (Business) 10.9%
Mrs Richi 9.9%
Mrs Stone 5.9%
Mr Barnett 5.9%
Mrs King 5%
Mr Owen 4%
Miss Keane 2%
You can see for yourselves if you got it right this time – here is the reveal video: https://vimeo.com/501776011/0ddfcae36c.
I think these words from Amanda Gorman’s poem at the inauguration sum up this week:
“And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”
I found these words inspiring when I first heard them, and they made me think about our school. We have much to divide us. Students and staff at our school worship in many different ways. You may not think that is a big deal, but some of those disagreements have led to wars in the past - people have moved continents because they want to escape other people’s views about their religion. And of course, some of us don’t worship at all. Together, we are the strongest community that I’ve ever been part of; one that works together and achieves a great deal. Think what we have accomplished in the last year: the collections for the food bank, the amazing individual acts of charity and bravery, the incredible achievements in exams, the support for new people who join us.
Churches across the world are praying for unity among Christians this week, with this line to help them: ‘Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit’. I am very proud of the fact that we are a community that could be divided by our beliefs but instead our differences make us stronger. Imagine if the whole world could unite around its differences – imagine what could be achieved. So think what is different about the people around you, and love them for it. Or go one better, think what really annoys you about the people around you, and love them for that…
Have a wonderful weekend when you get there!
Thursday 21st January
A New President and the Masked Singer Result...
The Masked Singer voting is closer than last week! This is the breakdown:
Mrs Ockwell 22%
Mrs Bowen-Melfi 14%
Mrs Friend 12%
Mrs Pilgrim 12%
Miss Tugwell 8%
Mrs Bradberry 8%
Mrs Watson 8%
Mrs Stallard 6%
Miss Machado 4%
Mrs Collins-Ballands 4%
Mrs Aspinall-Nessling 2%
So were you right? I will tell you…in a minute!
Joe Biden is now the 46th President of the United States. He said many memorable things in his inauguration speech, but I hope that this will be the line that we remember:
"Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation."
The full speech is here: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/20/joe-biden-inauguration-speech-transcript-full-text-460813.
How do you unite people who hate each other? Well, one way that people have done it in the past is to find a common enemy. That doesn’t sound like a good idea, but it does work. In our own country, the only times that we have had the two largest parties working as one was during the two World Wars. Surely, though, we are just displacing hatred, not defeating it? In politics, it seems as though the parties have to be opposites at all times, which leads to conflict.
I’m curious whether you know how your family vote in elections? Are they loyal to one side or the other? Have they ever voted for another party? Sometimes politics is like supporting a football team – you are following the banner and the team name and maybe not thinking about much more. One day you will be voting – for Year 13s, very soon. Will you join a team and stick with them for the rest of your life or will you vote for who you believe in each time, regardless of your friends and family?
What counts right now in America is that people listen to each other and respect their differences. I’ve been trying to think whether I do that myself. I have plenty of friends and family members who disagree with my views, often about religion or politics. When they are expressing those views I can feel myself getting angry, but I know I can control my anger, if I choose to. I know I can listen and show respect, I just don’t always want to. I guess that is the challenge for all of us throughout our lives: can you think of times when you wanted to get angry and argue but you have managed to control how you feel and listen to someone you don’t agree with?
The only thing stopping us is us. Mr Goldsmith’s Year 9 class have been making their own memes. I think that Helena Whitelock’s meme sums this up perfectly:
Have a great day!
You want to know who is behind the mask? Were you right, is it Ms Ockwell?
Nope! None of you got it - it wasn’t anyone on your list. The identity of the Masked Singer is still to be discovered. You have one more day!
Who is the singer behind the mask?
Wednesday 20th January
A Historic Wednesday
It’s a big day today. In normal times the Inauguration of a U.S. President is a huge event, with a crowd stretching off into the distance:
Today will be very different. Can you imagine scenes like this as we await a new Prime Minister?
Most Americans will feel the same way. The last time that politics was so tense was after the 1960 election, when John F. Kennedy narrowly beat a man called Richard Nixon. That began one of the most turbulent decades in American history, with the country divided over Civil Rights and the war in Vietnam. This was Kennedy’s inauguration:
Kennedy gave his supporters hope, and I think that Joe Biden has already done the same. What we all need Joe Biden to do is reach out to his enemies and help them to see that people can believe different things but still work together.
Across America, people will be praying for peace today. I think that we should join them:
Thank you for compromise, forgiveness and understanding.
Thank you for the moments when two people disagree completely
And remain friends.
Please help us, in our lives, to respect people that we argue with,
Remembering that we are all your children.
Lord, please hear the pleas of your faithful servants
In the United States who long for peace.
Please be with them.
There was quite a response to the Masked Singer yesterday!
All of these people were nominated by at least one of you:
You can vote here: https://forms.gle/6XDETt1BY3C8pMUE8. Who is the lion..?
Tuesday 19th January
The masked singer this week is, I think, a tricky one:
You may disagree, you may think it’s really easy. Please let me know who you think it is and then we will put a voting form together. The majority of votes were right last week – will you manage it again?
Last week we talked about everyday heroes – people around us who do incredible things. I have had some wonderful emails, including this one, which was full of photos…
This may seem like someone teasing me, because I once had lots of ginger hair (I really did. Why are you laughing?). But the photos didn’t stop there:
And, are you ready for this…
This hair used to belong to Mia in 9King, but it now will be made into a wig and given to a child or young adult who is recovering from cancer treatment. The charity that Mia donated to is called the ‘Little Princess Trust’: https://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/donate-hair. Lockdown could be a good opportunity to grow out your hair and then donate it – I might give it a try!
I imagine that it must be a difficult thing when you have long hair to cut it short. It alters the way you look and, if you regret it, it will take a long to grow back. But don’t worry, Mia is still smiling:
Mrs King has a message of hope for us this morning:
Don’t forget to let me know who you think the Masked Singer is!
Have a great day,
Monday 18th January
Monday is a Shot in the Arm
I am a year or two older than you. I remember some things that you don’t remember, such as TVs that looked like this:
You’ll notice that it is short on buttons, a remote control and colour. To tune in to one of the three (and then, sensationally, four) channels, you had to turn the dial. The screen looked like this for a bit:
And then you’d see shapes. If you nudged the dial very gently and held the aerial in the right way, the shapes became clear and you got a good picture. You were happy.
Why am I telling you this? Well, science has changed the world hugely in my lifetime. However, it isn’t TV or the internet that has made the biggest difference, it’s actually medicine.
When I was at school, people still got measles. I had rubella, a type of measles, when I was young and was quite ill. I remember spending a long time alone in my room. By the time my brother, who is eleven years younger than me, was born, most children had been vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella and no-one worried about them – they had pretty much gone from our country. This is the same in most parts of the world:
The World Health Organisation started a campaign to eliminate another disease called polio in 1988, the year I saved up my paper round money and my birthday money and bought a colour TV with a remote control for my bedroom! Look how effective that was:
Again, a vaccine changed the life chances of children across the world. The Prime Minister called the Coronavirus vaccine ‘a miracle of science’. I agree. Vaccines are a miracle. Without them, we have to suffer the loss of people dear to us, randomly and indiscriminately, just as we are seeing now.
Today let’s think about vaccines. You have two questions for the Monday Challenge:
1) Tell me the name of the first disease to be eliminated by a vaccine.
2) Who first created a vaccine to combat it?
The answers will be revealed in the live assembly at 10.45, https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/f1d9644c-b48e-4bc1-bd9a-efb641ad269a. We also have a new, absolutely brilliant, masked singer!
Thank you for the miracle of science,
And the hard work and perseverance of scientists.
Please give strength to all of those doctors, nurses and volunteers
Working hard to roll-out the vaccine,
And show us how we can support them.
In your name,
Have a good day,
Friday 15th January
Friday On My Mind...
Do you think that the last year has been good or bad for the environment?
There have been positives, clearly: there were fewer flights, fewer cars on the road, fewer factories pumping out air and water pollution. But we were all using power constantly, as we’ve charged our laptops and phones and heated our houses. Then there were all the disposable face masks! And have you noticed that people are buying fresh fruit and veg in wrappers again? I suppose people are worried about picking up apples that someone else has touched. It may have ended up as a draw…
There are lots of heroes, though, who have carried on working to save the planet. One of them is an English chicken farmer, working in his garage:
This is Peter Dearman. He has invented a motor that runs on air. It won’t ever power your car, but it can still have an impact on global warming. One big cause of pollution is keeping food cold. Bizarrely, we end up using heat to keep things cool. Lorries transporting food for supermarkets are a massive source of pollution. They have to keep their engines running when the lorry is not moving, so that the diesel engine can keep the coolers going. Peter’s engine doesn’t need to burn fuel because it gets its power from nitrogen, which is all around us. A car that is burning petrol gives off heat; an engine using nitrogen to run gives off cold air. If Peter’s engine was used around the world, it could significantly lower our carbon footprint.
There are so many heroes that we don’t know about, like Officer Goodman and like Peter Dearman, who quietly get on with making the world a better place. Maybe you know someone like that?
To give us all a lift at the end of the week, Mrs King has illustrated lines from St Francis’ prayer ‘Make me a channel of your peace’:
Have a great weekend, when you get there. I haven’t forgotten anything, have I? Hmmm? Masked what? Ohhhh….drum roll please…
It was Mr Brown!
I hope to have another masked singer for you in the assembly on Monday morning.
Thursday 14th January
One of the signs that everyone’s mental health was suffering in Lockdown 1 was the fact that this video had over 1, 000 views on YouTube:
Why would anyone want to see Mr Nicholds, Mr Jackson and myself doing squats for three and a half minutes? It makes no sense.
I’m sure that some of it was purely a need for exercise. I imagine that watching us struggle was more reassuring than watching Joe Wicks or Pamela Reif breeze through their workouts.
During this lockdown we have a new exercise challenge, this time led by Joe Clines, the House Captain for King House. Joe explains what it is all about in this video:
He also shows you how you can participate here: https://vimeo.com/499662022/513e31eb8a.
We really want you to take part in the challenge, but the most important thing is that we all follow the lockdown rules. It may be better for you, where you live, to exercise indoors. If you are outside, remember that you have a maximum of one hour and you can only go out once. You can go outside with members of your household and support bubble, or you can exercise outside with one other person as long as you maintain social distance.
Of course, some of you may already have set your own lockdown challenges. If so, please let me know about them so that we can all support you. One that I’ve heard about already comes from Otter House. Rupert Reddington in 8Otter is running a marathon during January to raise funds for a prostate cancer charity, in memory of his grandad. If you would like to support Rupert, his Just Giving page is here: https://runthemonthme.prostatecanceruk.org/fundraising/colette-and-ruperts-marathon-month?fbclid=IwAR2aoYKzr03Xx6mbmX71pAaLgPEVk8rpKoDoUeVl9VMTJEK_s6tXqCC4y0o)
If you are exercising indoors, there are plenty of coaches online to help you exercise. Can you name all of them?
The Masked Singer is ready to shed their mask. There were a late flurry of votes, mostly for Mr Owen. Who was the real person behind the mask...?
All will be revealed tomorrow!
Have a great day,
Wednesday 13th January
An American news reporter Tweeted: "His name is USCP Officer Eugene Goodman. Remember his name. He almost certainly saved lives on Wednesday. My thanks, Officer Goodman. THANK YOU."
Officer Goodman had come face-to-face with an angry mob in the halls of the Capitol building. The mob outside, as I’m sure you know, wanted to get in and stop the elected representatives from confirming that there would be a new President. They smashed their way in:
They were trying to find the rooms where the voting was taking place. Officer Goodman suddenly found them just as they found the Senate. He realised in a split second that the Senate was unguarded but that the mob hadn’t realised where they were. He made a decision – he was going to lead them somewhere else. He pushed one of the leaders, which immediately riled the group. Then he ran away.
The mob followed him. It’s like a scene from a film, but in the film you know that it will work out okay and the goodies will win. Officer Goodman had no idea what would happen but he must have feared for his life. As he led the rioters away from the Senators, he put himself in great danger. If any of us had a decision like this to make, I wonder what we would have done? I wonder how many of us would have frozen up, how many would have pointed at the Senate rooms, how many would have just got out of the way and let the mob do what it wanted? We have no idea how we will act until the time comes. Officer Goodman must have been terrified but his actions, a week ago today, saved people’s lives.
Reading about Officer Goodman I started to think that he summed up the last year: our heroes have been ordinary people and too often the people who used to be our heroes have seemed very ordinary. The world has been turned on its head, but we have seen the best of many people as a consequence.
Thank you for the sacrifices that people have made for others.
You have asked us to love our neighbours as ourselves,
But too often we find that hard to do,
Especially if it means that we will suffer.
Thank you for the example of Officer Goodman and others,
Who have shown us what putting other people first means.
The Masked Singer – here are the votes so far:
Mr Brown – 41.9%
Mr Bonney – 17.2%
Mr Clarke – 8.6%
Mr Thompson – 6.5%
Mr Jackson – 4.3%
Mr Owen – 4.3%
Mr King – 4.3%
Mr White – 4.3%
Mr Allman – 3.2%
Mr Pilgrim – 3.2%
Mr Goldsmith – 1.1%
Mr Williams – 1.1%
Is it Mr Brown? Or have you all been fooled? All will be revealed tomorrow.
Have a great day,
Tuesday 12th January
Who is this masked person?
I think that all of us need to do three things to keep ourselves mentally fit during the lockdown.
The first one is that we all need to exercise. We will be talking more about that later in the week, as one of the House Captains has a challenge for you…
The second one is to make sure that we are all learning. This is not an issue for you: we have been incredibly impressed with how well you have all engaged with online work. It is the adults who need to make some time to learn a new skill. I wonder how many of your tutors have made a New Year’s resolution to learn something new in 2021? Why not ask them today.
The third thing is to have something completely ridiculous to give your mind a break from the serious news all around you. I may be able to help with that!
Yesterday we launched our own version of ‘The Masked Singer’. If you haven’t watched the wonderfully silly programme, the idea is simple – someone you should know sings whilst wearing a mask and you have to guess who they are.
The link is here: https://vimeo.com/499213769/f46a52fe61. Yesterday we had votes for:
Which probably only means that you think it’s a man! I will let you have how the vote is going tomorrow. Today, keep voting using this Google Form: https://forms.gle/t1BnXGFy62HUoHz97. We will unmask them…
Have a great day,
Monday 11th January
Monday's a Quiz Day....
We will have another live, whole school assembly today at 10.45. The livestream code is: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/9e3b5145-8c67-48c4-b81f-24a3e75375b5.
Let’s see whether you can recognise some local landmarks from the air! I will reveal the answers and the winners in the live assembly:
One feature of the last year has been how we have drawn inspiration from each other, rather than looking to celebrities to inspire us. This story inspired me over the weekend:
Jack had caught Covid and had been very sick:
Like lots of people, he found that he didn’t have much stamina after he had recovered, so he decided to try running. His mum said that ‘he wasn’t a natural athlete’ and it was a struggle, but by doing a little each day he managed to hit his target of running 63 miles and raising money for his local children’s hospice. Jack’s achievement, like Captain Tom’s, was waking up every day and repeating what he did the day before, whether he wanted to or not, whatever the weather. We could all do something like this during lockdown to keep us fit and to possibly encourage the people around us. You can read more about Jack here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-55605188.
Thank you for the quiet heroes in all our communities,
The people who inspire us to lead better lives.
Forgive us, Lord, when our good intentions come to nothing,
And help us to remember the each day is a new day that you have made.
Have a good day – let me have your answers to the quiz!
Friday 8th January
This made my day yesterday: another ‘Galette Des Rois’, this time from the Linfords:
King House should definitely consider making this their official cake…
King House were on fire yesterday (metaphorically), capturing many, many House Points by nailing the quiz questions. The first correct answer was also one of the best:
Picture 1 David Cameron and family leaving Downing street for good in the year 2016
Picture 2 Theresa May and her husband Philip waving goodbye outside number 10 in the year 24th July 2019
Picture 3 Gordon Brown and family leaving Downing street in the year May 2010
All of these pictures show recent prime ministers leaving in different ways but what they do have in common is that they are leaving peacefully and in a calm manner.
1. I. Tonks, 7King
2. E. Condron, 8Ridgeway
3. J. Slatter, 8King
4. S. McCallum, 9King
5. M. Stockdale, 9Sherborne.
The only successful teacher was Ms Hobbs (Business Studies), so points were also awarded for Burrows House!
Today would have been David Bowie’s birthday. On Sunday, it will be five years since he died. There is still a tribute to him in Brixton, South London, where he was born. My sister lives near-by and she has promised to check to see if there are flowers there today, as there were when the tribute first appeared.
That means that today is officially Bowieday and there is a concert being streamed tonight called ‘Just For One Day’ to mark the occasion.
You might know lots about David Bowie, you might know nothing about him, but I’m sure you will have heard of him. And if you like him, I bet you really love him – he was that sort of artist.
One memory I have of watching David Bowie happened in a huge concert in honour of Freddie Mercury, who had died a few months before. You can watch it here – just remember, no-one was expecting this, and for many of us, who were often laughed at for doing what he did then, this was an amazing moment in our lives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANQspcmfhJU.
I’ll leave you with some of David Bowie’s lyrics:
Oh sweet name, I call you again,
You're born once again for me.
Just because I believe, don't mean I don't think as well,
Don't have to question everything in heaven or hell.
Lord, I kneel and offer you
My word on a wing
And I'm trying hard to fit among
Your scheme of things.
From Word on a Wing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYvqa7DFNc.
Have a great weekend, see you for another live assembly on Monday – time to be confirmed.
Thursday 7th January
How amazing does this look!
Ms Richi made this yesterday – it is a real Galette des Rois! Did anyone else have a go at baking a ‘king cake’ yesterday? It would be great to see pictures.
I hope that this cheers you up, as the news last night and this morning has been very difficult to watch.
I have a question for you – can you remember having a tantrum? Can you remember a time when you were much younger and you wanted your own way so badly that you lost control? I think I can, just about (obviously it was a very long time ago). Do you remember what adults did when you had a tantrum?
I can remember my grandparents’ reaction: ‘Don’t look at him.’ I would have been ignored. They did the same thing to our dog. I think it worked – I rarely throw my toys around now!
When you give the child having a tantrum lots of attention the tantrum gets worse. I bet at some point in class you’ve been cross that a teacher is giving too much attention to someone who is behaving badly. If people who misbehave are allowed to get their own way it encourages others to behave badly.
I assume that most of you will know who I’m referring to. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing last night and the news this morning is even worse. My suggestion is that we all do the same thing and ignore the person who started this. ‘Don’t look at him.’
Instead, here are some interesting pictures:
For House Points, can you tell me what is going on in each picture, who they are and (for a bonus point) the year?
Let’s just say that each picture represents one of the most precious and important things that happens in our country. It used to happen in the USA, as well.
Please be with the people of America today,
Please can you help them to heal the wounds caused by violence,
And find respect for one another and for you.
Through your love, Lord, they can find unity.
Have a good day,
Wednesday 6th January
Did you take your Christmas decorations down yesterday? Have any of you kept them up? Lots of people are talking about keeping their decorations up throughout lockdown. English Heritage has suggested that we keep our decorations up until Candlemas, which is 2nd February. Historian Dr Michael Carter says that “contrary to popular belief, the Christmas season actually continues right through to Candlemas…so there’s no real reason why you should take your decorations down earlier… after the year we’ve all had, we certainly deserve to keep the Christmas cheer going a little longer.”
Most of us have grown up thinking that the decorations have to be packed away by Twelfth Night, which was last night. This means that Christmas is over by Epiphany, which is today. Epiphany is when the Wise Men arrive to visit Jesus. In some parts of the world children will be receiving their Christmas presents today, because it was the Wise Men who brought Jesus gifts. In France there are parties for Epiphany and people eat a special cake called ‘La Galette des Rois’:
Your lockdown challenge is to make one of these and deliver it to me at school using a drone or specially trained pigeon…
Today we should hear more information about the changes to GCSE and A’Level exams. Whatever the arrangements are, we know from last year that the most important thing is to finish your course. The decision to change exams has come much earlier in the year this time, so we will be able to take into account everything you do: don’t worry that an exam that you’ve already taken/are about to take is going to decide your whole grade.
This is one of my favourite Bible verses illustrated by Mrs King (Ms Castle before the summer). I hope it gives you strength today.
We will have another quiz tomorrow!
Tuesday 5th January
The Prime Minister used an expression a few weeks ago that seems to sum up where we are now: “it’s always darkest before the dawn”.
I’m not sure that this is true in reality, but it is how it often seems to us. It’s certainly how it might seem today. In the first lockdown we had amazing weather for our daily walks; this time it is cold and dark. Last time it was a new experience; this time we may feel as though we have never really left lockdown. But this time when dawn comes it could be the real thing:
When summer comes this year, if the vaccine has been rolled out and the most vulnerable have been protected, we might be able to do this:
Our job right now is to get ourselves and those around us through the next few weeks. We have to look out for each other: lots of people are good at putting on a brave face, but we need to find out how the people in our lives are really feeling. It’s okay to be angry, upset, disappointed, but only if you move on quickly. We have work to do…
One of the amazing things about the last lockdown was the sense of community. Everyone is in this together and we saw some amazing things happen. You’ll remember Captain Tom, but do you remember the couple who dressed as superheroes for their daily runs? Or this:
This was a socially distanced Macarena in a street in Bristol!
We start today: we need to bring light into other people’s lives. If you can write a letter for someone living in a care home, brilliant, send it to me at school and we will get it safely to someone who needs it. I’m sure they’d love pictures, as well. Do you still have a rainbow in your window? Is it time for another one? What else can you do? Remember the people in Italy signing from their balconies..!
The reason that we need this lockdown now is because our hospitals are reaching capacity. As a country we have stopped saying thank you to the people working in those hospitals. Maybe that is a good place to start this morning:
Please send you strength to our tired Doctors and nurses,
Who must wonder when they can finally rest.
Please send them and their families blessings
And help them to know how much their sacrifices mean to all of us.
In your most glorious name,
Have a great day – keep being a light to those around you.
Monday 4th January 2021
It’s always wonderful waking up for the first day of term! And what a strange first day back. Please remember that we are going to meet up online at 9am using code https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/91df5fc5-29f7-40ee-8b63-ba131f2ca246.
To check that you are awake, I thought that I would give you a quick quiz. Where is this building and what is it called:
First five correct answers get House Points. For even more House Points, please explain the picture below:
Who are the two men and why are they being compared?
Although it is a very difficult time for all of us, we have had great news this morning, as the first doses of the ‘Oxford vaccine’ are being given out. When we were working online last year we did not have the same hope that we could all be immunised against the virus. We can start to imagine a future without face masks again - we just have to be patient.
Have a good day and see you online at 9am!
Sunday 3rd January 2021
Set your alarms!
Happy New Year!
Here we go again – back to the online world. I wanted to let you know about the start of term arrangements. We will begin with a whole school assembly at 9am. The link is here: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/91df5fc5-29f7-40ee-8b63-ba131f2ca246. You will then begin lessons at the start of period 2. There will be information on the Google classroom for each subject. If you do not know the code, hang your head in shame, and then email your teacher to ask or ask a friend.
Lessons will run at the same time as they did in the Autumn Term, so some of you will have lessons from 8.05 – 2.05 and some from 8.25 – 2.25. Most lessons will have some live element and we will be having tutor time each day.
Remember, we are not alone in having to close down because of Covid. There is an interesting map here: https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse, which shows how many countries have had to close and for how long. If you look at some countries in South America, you will see that they closed in March and have not yet reopened at all. At least we had a full term together, and let’s hope and pray that it is safe enough for us to be back together again soon.
Friday 17th July 2020
Final Day of 2019-20
Here we are – the final day of the most unusual school year ever known.
The Final Assembly is at 10am – the code is here: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/41f84216-4122-4773-9813-aa96db780a65
The cups no longer have their ribbons:
I am looking forward to letting you know who has won both of the Cups!
I couldn’t resist one last challenge. I will reveal the winner at the beginning of the live assembly.
I’m not telling you who they are, either!
Thursday 16th July
It has been fun writing to you, but I am also glad that this period where I can only write to you is coming to an end. On the 10th September, barring something out of our control happening, we are due to all be back in school together.
There will be some people missing. There will be Year 11s who are leaving to start apprenticeships or courses at other colleges and Year 13s off to universities and jobs. There will be a number of you who have to move for family reasons and will start new schools in the Autumn. We will miss you all, and I hope that you keep in touch with your old school.
Sadly, there will also be staff who are leaving us tomorrow we need to say goodbye to them. We will have new staff joining us, too, many of whom have never set foot in our building. They have agreed to work at our school based simply on what they’ve heard about all of you.
We will also gain a whole new year group. The Year 6s have been slowly making their transition to secondary school online. By the time we are all together, they will have spent three days in school and will hopefully feel confident in their new surroundings. I am looking forward to that and I am looking forward to the day when we get to mix the bubbles and the Year 6s can finally experience the freedom that you have enjoyed during your time at school.
There will also be students who are new to us in Year 12. These students will have gone through lockdown with their old schools. I hope that they’ve been thinking about us and I hope that they are looking forward to September. I can’t wait to meet them and to watch them become part of our 6th Form.
We decide how we deal with adversity and I think that we decided early on that we would face these difficult times together. Tomorrow is the last day of term and we would normally come together as a school for our final assembly. I am planning to honour that tradition tomorrow and hope that you will all join me. We will start at 10am on Google Meet. You will need to log-in using your Bishop Luffa school accounts and the code is: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/41f84216-4122-4773-9813-aa96db780a65.
Ms Castle has been a constant through-out this time, presenting Bible verses to us in imaginative ways. They have lifted me when I see them and I have forwarded many on to friends and relatives. I hope that Ms Castle realises how much comfort her drawings have given us during the last few weeks.
We won’t be able to get together on the field to have a whole school assembly when we get back, unless the guidance changes. However, we will find a way to come together. School will be different – very different – but who we are and what we stand for won’t change.
Thank you for walking with us through these months away from school.
We pray for your strength as we return to school in the Autumn.
Please help us to put others first in all we do,
To show our love for our neighbour through simple acts,
Like washing our hands and keeping our distance.
We pray for those students and staff who are leaving,
And we wish them happiness in all they do.
Forgive us, Lord, for what we get wrong
And help us always to be better.
In your name,
Have a great day,
Wednesday 15th July
Well done – another amazing response to a challenge!
Here are the answers, courtesy of Manka Vecsei:
Geoff Hurst. Sir Geoffrey Charles Hurst MBE (born 8 December 1941) is a former professional footballer for England and West Ham United. A striker, he remains the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, when England recorded a 4–2 victory over West Germany at Wembley Stadium in 1966.
Dame Kelly Holmes, who served with the British Army for a decade before becoming an elite athlete, won double Olympic gold at the 2004 Olympics.
Rebecca Adlington OBE, is a British former competitive swimmer who specialised in freestyle events in international competition. She won two gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 400-metre freestyle and 800-metre freestyle, breaking the 19-year-old world record of Janet Evans in the 800-metre final.
Jason Thorpe Robinson OBE is an English former dual-code international rugby league and rugby union footballer who played in the 1990s and 2000s. Playing as a wing or fullback, he won 51 rugby union international caps for England, and in rugby league he won 12 caps for Great Britain and seven for England.
Will it still have white ribbons on Friday? Find out at 10am. Use the code: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/41f84216-4122-4773-9813-aa96db780a65. You will need to use your school account to view.
The results from yesterday’s challenge:
- Ms Faulkner, Otter House.
- Ms Christie, Otter House.
- Manka Vecsei, 9Wilson.
- Mr Godfray, Ridgeway.
- Esther Sutton, 7Ridgeway.
- Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway.
- Finn Weller, 7Andrewes.
- Ms Hobbs (Business), Burrows.
- Mr Jackson, Neutral.
- Ms Jackson, Wilson House.
- Mr Gordon, Otter – you won’t know Mr Gordon yet, as he is joining us in September!
Look at Otter – could this be a late surge for the water-dwelling mammals?
The challenge doesn’t end here – watch this video to find out about our Bishop Luffa Library summer challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4NU887dSe8
I have one final opportunity for you to prove how clever you are. Do you think that you could beat a teacher in a quiz? What if the teacher had to answer questions written by students and the students had to answer questions written by teachers? If you are a teacher who is brave enough to take on a student, let me know this morning. If you are a student who thinks they could wipe the floor with one of the teaching staff, e-mail me ASAP. Hopefully we will get victims…er…contestants, and we can all watch the battle at 10.30 this morning: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/04d16981-90ec-42e7-bc8d-b882c14228d8.
Have a great day,
Tuesday 14th July
Thank you for your responses yesterday. There were some great answers. This was the best response to the picture of Stonehenge:
“A blazing comet that has travelled for 6,800 years was seen streaking over Stonehenge on a perfect summer's evening. Photographer Matthew Brown, 37, drove nearly three hours away from his home to the landmark to capture the comet during the 'clearest sky of the year'.”
That was from Mr Bonney, 7Ridgeway. You can still see the comet in the night sky for the next few days.
Esther Sutton, also 7Ridgeway, wrote this about the other picture:
“The first one is Lewis Hamilton and he is making a political statement that is supporting Black Lives Matter.”
Esther is right, Lewis Hamilton was recreating a huge moment in history, when two American athletes gave a ‘Black Power’ salute on the podium at the Olympics:
The two athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, were booed by the crowd as they left. They found life difficult when they returned home to the USA. Both men received death threats and found barriers put in their way by the, mostly white, people who ran athletics. They were greeted as heroes by the black community, however, and in time came to be embraced by society as a whole. Now there are statues in America of that moment. I’ve known their story for some time, but I knew nothing about the other man in the photo, the white athlete. I was surprised to find that he had suffered for standing next to the two men: John Carlos said "If we were getting beat up, Peter was facing an entire country and suffering alone."
His name was Peter Norman. He wasn’t meant to win the silver medal: he came from nowhere to finish in front of John Carlos, coming from behind in the last few steps of the race. The time was a personal best and remains the fastest 200m ever run by an Australian. The final is worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--lzACn0aZ8#action=share. Look at how much ground Norman makes up in the final 10 meters, and also enjoy how fast Tommie Smith was that day.
This was all over-shadowed by what Smith and Carlos decided to do at the medal ceremony. Word spread amongst the athletes that something big was going to happen. The two Americans went to speak to Norman, who would have to stand between them on the podium. They asked him two questions:
“Do you believe in human rights?”
Peter Norman said he did.
“Do you believe in God?”
Peter Norman said “I believe strongly in God.”
John Carlos said later: “We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat, and he said ‘I’ll stand with you’. I expected to see fear in Norman’s eyes, but instead we saw love.”
Peter Norman wanted to show his support, so he borrowed a badge from another athlete and pinned it onto his tracksuit. The badge showed the logo of a group that was promoting human rights and was associated with the Civil Rights movement – the sort of thing that I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if you wore on your blazer, but in 1968 made a statement that meant some people immediately hated you. Peter Norman wore the badge, and many people think that it ended his career in Australia. This was the badge:
This may surprise you, but remember what was going on in Australia – remember this picture of the ‘Reconciliation Walk’ in 2000?
The country had its own form of apartheid, with indigenous people (the people who lived in Australia before white settlers arrived) being kept apart from white people. Peter Norman was judged by some to have betrayed white Australians with his actions. Despite being the fastest 200m runner, he wasn’t selected for the next Olympics and he was asked repeatedly to condemn what Smith and Carlos had done in 1968. He refused to do that. In 2000, when Australia hosted the Olympics, Peter Norman was a guest of the American Olympic Association, not the Australian. Despite being one of the most successful Australian sprinters of all time, he wasn’t given that honour by his own country.
John Carlos said this about the man who beat him to the silver medal: “There's no-one in the nation of Australia that should be honoured, recognised, appreciated more than Peter Norman for his humanitarian concerns, his character, his strength and his willingness to be a sacrificial lamb for justice.”
The Australian Government apologised to Peter Norman in 2012, six years after his death. Tommie Smith and John Carlos carried his coffin at his funeral.
The last words should go to Peter Norman himself:
God bless Peter Norman and give us the strength that he had to stand up for what we believe in, whatever the cost.
Monday 13th July
Mr Godfray is very excited today…who is going to win the Sports Cup? He has a message for you:
Go! Bishop Luffa Virtual Sports Week has begun. Your House needs you to take part in as many events as possible to have the best chance of winning. Students and teachers can view and enter your results on the 'Bishop Luffa Sports Week' Frog site or via the school website where you can find the opening ceremony for the Virtual Sports Week. All results must be submitted by 11:00 on Thursday 16th July. Good luck!
The very first time I wrote to you all was Monday 23rd March. I showed you this image:
I told you that we would be awarding the House Cup at the end of the year, whatever happened. Back then I naively thought that we might all return to school after a few weeks and just wanted to keep us together through the disruption. All through the last few months I have been kept going by your replies to my emails and the way you have responded to Wednesday Challenges. I have watched with interest as the House Point totals have been going up quickly – maybe more quickly than they would have done if we were in school. So the House Cup is going to be awarded this week in a live virtual assembly (what could go wrong?) on Friday at 10am.
There is still time for changes to the Leader Board, but you need to act quickly! House Points will only count if they have been entered on the system by the end of tomorrow, so I thought that we needed a Monday and a Tuesday challenge this week. To gain points for your House, please tell me who this is and what they are doing:
I would also like to know what the story is behind this picture:
Thank you for the students and staff who make our school so special.
Thank you that we are able to continue with traditions like Fruition and Sports Day,
Despite what is going on in the world.
Thank you also for the technology that (I hope) will allow us to be together at the end of term,
Wherever we are.
Please guide us as we plan for a safe return to school in September for everyone,
And walk with us as we take our first few steps away from our homes.
In your name,
Friday 10th July
Where did the time go? I can’t believe it’s the 10th July. Next week we will have our final assembly and present the House Cup!
Ms Lawlor has a final announcement re: Fruition Fridays / Virtual Fruition 2020:
“Today marks our final ‘Fruition Friday. Going live on the website today are further examples of GCSE and A Level Art and Design work, devised pieces from GCSE Drama and A Level Drama students and products created by GCSE and A Level Media students. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all the students involved, the Arts Faculty team, Joe Clines and Mrs Christopher for all their hard work in making this happen! I am so proud of our achievements in the Arts and I hope that you have all enjoyed gaining an insight into what our students are lucky enough to study in the Arts Faculty. The ‘Fruition 2020’ section of the website will stay up for a little longer so plenty of time for you to have a look!”
I’m curious whether you’ve ever climbed a mountain? I had assumed that mountain climbing meant ropes and axes and needing oxygen, but then I watched my wife and sister walk up this mountain on holiday:
For the record, I went up in the cable car. The mountain is called ‘Grouse Mountain’ and lots of people do the ‘Grouse Grind’ where they run up the mountain as fast as they can:
Yep, the mountain actually has stairs!
I have made it to the top of a mountain, and I was very proud of myself when I got there:
This is Mount Snowdon in Wales – have any of you climbed it? The first time I went up was great fun:
The steam train was lovely, and the views were amazing! However, I did, finally, walk up the mountain myself. When I got there, I was a little surprised to find a queue. Actually, a really long queue. I must admit, it made it a little less special. Imagine what this must have felt like:
Do you recognise the mountain? It makes me feel giddy looking at it: can you imagine making it to the top of Mount Everest and then having to queue, as these climbers are doing? You’ve almost reached your goal but suddenly you are in great danger, because you can’t move and the weather can change in seconds. Apparently, queuing for over an hour is quite normal in the summer season.
Why do you think we are so obsessed with mountains? I have also had a failed attempt to walk to the top of Mount Snowdon: the weather can change so quickly that even a mountain the size of Snowdon has to be closed. It was scary watching the clouds roll in and feeling the force of the wind, knowing that you are a long, long way from safety. I remember how quickly it became freezing cold and wondering where all the sheep had gone…
For most of our lives we are obsessed with safety – I wouldn’t buy a car without seat belts and air bags, for example – but then we decide to jump out of planes or bungee jump off a bridge. Think about this during the summer, especially now that we are allowed to travel more. Humans have an urge to do dangerous things, but you don’t have to give into that urge – we would like to see you all back in school in September!
I owe Aimee Fordyce in 9Story an apology. Amy was the third student to complete the Wednesday Challenge, but I missed her off the list yesterday. Here it is corrected:
- Ms Pilgrim – points go to Otter House
- Mr Bonney – points to Ridgeway
- Esther Sutton, 7Ridgeway
- Ms Lawlor – points to Sherborne
- Ms Dibley – points tbc
- Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway
- Aimee Fordyce, 9Story
- Ms Feakins-Taylor – points to Ridgeway.
You will need to wash your virtual PE kits this weekend, ready for Sports Week next week…
Have a great weekend, safely doing safe things wrapped in cotton wool in your own homes!
Thursday 9th July
I promised you top ten lists of staff and students following the Wednesday Challenge, but for the first time ever I had more wrong answers than right answers! The first picture yesterday…
…confused a lot of you. The clue is the man with the suit in the ring, who is…Bugsy Malone!
The other three were:
Wicked – Evita – West Side Story.
It was interesting that the most correct answers were for West Side Story. The only real clue was the way they were dancing: it is incredible that this is so recognisable sixty years later.
So here are the results – I have only included contestants who got 100%! We have a new champion:
- Ms Pilgrim – points go to Otter House
- Mr Bonney – points to Ridgeway
- Esther Sutton, 7Ridgeway
- Ms Lawlor – points to Sherborne
- Ms Dibley – points tbc
- Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway
- Ms Feakins-Taylor – points to Ridgeway.
As you will have seen from the pictures that I sent round, we had a film crew in school yesterday.
The BBC Make a Difference campaign (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5SqHJMTKZx5sYhlltXJvB1Q/the-digital-divide) was examining whether access to computers is creating a divide in our country, based on your family’s income. We tried to point out that it is a big issue for most families at the moment, as very few homes will have enough computers and strong enough broadband for everyone to be working at the same time.
When I started teaching, literacy was a huge issue. I don’t mean how well people could read, I mean whether people could read. I remember parents coming in to appointments who were clearly pretending that they could read their child’s report, and we had children in secondary schools who had never been taught the alphabet. Then the internet came along and I have rarely seen this: if you can’t read now, you miss out on a large part of your social life.
In 2020, access to the internet is as big an issue for many people as literacy was in the last century. That is why we have been helping the charity Business 2 Schools encourage companies and families to donate their old laptops, so that we can loan them out to students. If you are able to help, please contact them through this link: https://www.business2schools.com/donate. We received lots of donations following the news bulletins yesterday, and we will make sure that all schools in our area get laptops for their students as a result.
Ms Castle’s has produced another incredible picture for us:
Have a great day,
Wednesday 8th July
We talked last week about the impact we have when we spend money. We have also talked about the Black Lives Matter movement and how important it is that the symbols around us bring us together and not divide us. There has been a case in the USA where the two issues have collided.
Many of you will know that I love American Football. There is an American Football team called the Washington Redskins. For a few years now, there has been a campaign asking the team to change its name, as a ‘Redskin’ was an offensive term that white people used to describe Native Americans. When I first heard about the campaign, I was shocked: I have grown-up knowing that name and had assumed, I suppose, that this term was okay – after all, adults wouldn’t let you say something offensive, right? However, surveys of Native Americans have shown that this is a term that is thrown at them to humiliate them and makes them feel like second class citizens.
The campaign grew over time, but despite protests, petitions and boycotts, the owners refused to even consider changing the name. Until last week:
This was brought about because sponsors started to pull their money out of the team. And why did the sponsors make this move? Because they could see that they were losing customers. As you can see from this article, the argument could have gone on for years, if the money hadn’t spoken:
So, your money has power and you should make sure you find out about the companies that you support with your cash.
Today’s Wednesday Challenge is theatre based, in honour of Fruition. Please name the following musicals from the pictures:
I will release the results on Thursday – this time I will publish a full top ten, with lots of House Points to go around!
Ms Castle has excelled herself again:
Tuesday 7th July
There were many bizarre events in the last few weeks and months, not just the obvious ones. Firstly, a planet disappeared. You can read about it here: https://astronomy.com/news/2020/04/astronomers-watch-a-suspected-exoplanet-disappear-before-their-very-eyes. Reassuringly, the article explains that the planet probably wasn’t blown up by the Death Star, because no-one on Earth who identifies as a Jedi felt a disturbance in the Force. What did make the planet disappear was that the theory was wrong: scientists had agreed on a hypothesis based on the data they had that turned out to be wrong. New data came in, and so we realise now that this wasn’t a planet.
Then there was a breath-taking discovery last month: astronomers identified ‘the most massive quasar known in the early universe’ (https://phys.org/news/2020-06-astronomers-monster-quasar-early-universe.html). Imagining quasars makes my head hurt. This is an artist’s impression of a quasar:
Quasars are described as ‘dynamos’, because they generate power. They contain black holes – imagine that – they have black holes inside them! Of course, quasars are a theory. We know that something is there, and we have a certain amount of data, and the quasar is the best theory for the data at this point in time. The Hubble telescope has improved the data that we have on quasars and that, in turn, has led to changes and improvements in the theory.
This is why science is so exciting. You don’t get to the end of it. There may be a clearer theory of what these bright points in the universe are that scientists discover next year or in a hundred years. We may have got it right with the existing theory and will, in time prove it. This is why the Large Hadron Collider was built: not to discover something completely new, but to prove or disprove an existing hypothesis.
As a Christian, I get asked some strange questions about science. People assume things about Christians, don’t they? I am expected not to agree with Science, because that must be incompatible with my other beliefs. I don’t see it that way. To me, and this is my personal view, looking into a telescope or a microscope is like looking at God’s handiwork. You never fully understand what you are seeing, but as humans we move closer, all of us playing our part, to understanding how God made this incredible universe.
I hope that you enjoy finding out about the universe you live in. I was stunned by this series showing how beautiful Pluto is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kqm9.
Monday 6th July
Did you do anything new this weekend? It felt as though everyone was holding their breath, waiting to see what happened. Did it feel different where you live? My family went for a walk in Arundel yesterday, and we had an ice cream that didn’t come from our freezer! This was the first time we’ve ‘eaten out’ in months. An ice cream on a warm day wouldn’t normally be so exciting, but it was a step towards normality.
There were new sporting events. We are now almost used to football on television, but my son had been waiting for Formula One to return, and there was finally a Grand Prix to watch (an exciting one, too). There is a Test Match this week, so cricket fans will be happy. However, these are all men’s sports. When will women’s sport return? Women’s football, particularly, has been getting bigger and bigger audiences, but doesn’t make the sort of money needed to be able to afford the safety measures to protect players from the virus.
Another area that is struggling to reopen is live theatre. You may have seen these pictures:
People have been taping up theatres to highlight the problem: most theatres couldn’t make a profit with social distancing measures in place. The longest running play ever is ‘The Mousetrap’ by Agatha Christie. It had run uninterrupted since 1952, and hopes to reopen on 23rd October, if the producers can make the theatre safe enough for customers. However, many theatres can’t afford these measures and have talked about having to even stop pantomimes from running this year! The Government has just announced extra funding to help:
At school we are in the middle of our virtual Fruition and about to start virtual sports day – make sure that you show your appreciation for Arts and Sport by joining in.
Some churches also opened this weekend. Many more will follow in the weeks to come. This was how things looked in the Cathedral:
If your church has reopened, please let us know and we’ll update our ‘virtual church’ page on the website.
Have a great week – I have a feeling that it is going to be a busy one!
Friday 3rd July
Ms Lawlor has another Virtual Fruition announcement:
“The Arts Faculty have been working really hard behind the scenes to make sure that we can share highlights of all the great work, performances and creations students have produced over the last year in Art, Dance, Drama, Media and Music. This week we have some Art and Dance pieces to share with you and hopefully (if Vimeo works!) a short video to honour our amazing House Drama Festival which would have taken place this week and next. A huge amount of effort has gone into making this happen and we would really appreciate lots of you taking the time to go to the website to have a look. Our final Fruition Friday will be on 10th July and I will announce the details at the same time next week.”
There was some exciting news yesterday - the Government published their plan for getting everyone back to school in September. It looks welcoming:
It is also very long – I was hoping that 7Ridgeway could give it a quick read for me and summarise the main points? For the rest of us, this might be a better starting point:
We are going to spend some time planning this weekend and hope to let you and your families know early next week what this will mean for each of you. However, I think that it is safe to say that:
- All students will be invited back to school as soon as possible in September, although different year groups may start on different days;
- There will still be restrictions in place to cut down on movement around the school and to keep contact between year groups to a minimum.
It would help me if you shared with us what you think of the plans and how you are feeling about September. I would love to hear from you, as would your tutors and Heads of House.
It feels as though this weekend is the big test: lots of businesses, including hair dressers, pubs and restaurants, will open for the first time since March. The Prime Minister is going to make a statement this afternoon, and it is likely that he is going to warn us all to go slowly. The last time rules were relaxed, this happened:
Hopefully, people will understand something that we talk to you all about often: ‘delayed gratification’. If we can just wait a little longer, then we are more likely to get our old lives back. If we rush things, then we may end up living with these rules for a long time to come. We want you back in school as quickly as possible, so take care, follow the rules and hopefully we’ll all be back together again soon.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday 2nd July
Fancy a Strawberry?
Here are the answers to the Wednesday Challenge in the words of Ms Hobbs (Business):
- Access was a credit card – your ‘flexible friend’;
- Ratners was a jewellers that disappeared because the managing director called one of its products something rude in a meeting and it got leaked to the press!
- Rumbelows was a company where you could rent electrical equipment such as TV's and fridges at a time when they were too expensive for everyone to buy.
Ratners was a really familiar shop on the High Street until the early 90s, and it disappeared without trace, losing almost £250 million in one year.
You don’t want to hear about that, though, you want to know who won:
- Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway
- William Jones, 7Ridgeway
- Esther Sutton, 7 Ridgeway.
Manka, Katie – you almost caught them, but you have to give up sleeping if you’re going to beat 7Ridgeway…
The staff won, though, really, as the podium was already full before Jack answered. The winners:
- Mr Green – points to Wilson House
- Ms Lawlor – points to be confirmed…
- Ms Gleeson – points to Andrewes House.
Yesterday we talked about how to spend your money and today I have a suggestion: buy strawberries! You may have heard that there are tonnes of strawberries going to waste right now because British farmers produce them especially for Wimbledon. The tournament itself sells 38 tonnes of strawberries a year. During Wimbledon, farmers pick strawberries before dawn each morning and rush them to the stadium.
As Wimbledon and other annual events are no longer going ahead, farmers won’t be able to get the same price for their crops. Now, it’s up to you where your money goes: you could buy a peach that has been imported from a much hotter country, a nectarine or melon grown abroad, or you could support a local farmer and reduce your carbon foot print. I’m not going to offer House Points for every strawberry bought (yet), but I encourage you to think about the impact that you could have if you buy local (or encourage your families to buy local).
Ms Castle has produced a stunning illustration of this passage from Revelation:
Wednesday 1st July
What do you think about Facebook? Many of you will immediately say ‘Facebook is for old people, I don’t really care about Facebook’, but I’m sure that you’ve all heard of Facebook and possibly even know that they own Instagram and What’s App. Today is the 1st July and this means that some of the world’s biggest companies will withdraw their advertising from Facebook, in protest at what they see as Facebook’s refusal to stop racist messages from being shared on their platforms. You can learn more here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53225139.
I apologise for repeating a message over-and-over again, but I believe this very strongly: one of the most important things that you do is decide how to spend your money. Each time you buy something you are casting a vote: you tell that company that you approve of them. The companies that are boycotting Facebook are using a very powerful weapon.
Many of you will look out for these signs when you shop:
Recently there was an outcry because KitKat will no longer be Fairtrade; it will move, instead, to the Rainforest Alliance. Fairtrade makes sure that farmers get a fair price for their goods, while the Rainforest Alliance are concerned with the environment and how sustainable the product is. Which issue is the most important to you? When you buy a chocolate bar you make a decision that is about far more than just taste!
When I was your age, very few people bought free range eggs. Now, most eggs in the shops are free range, because customers stopped buying chickens that were farmed in factories. There are so many examples of this: companies want your money and they will change the way they behave if they can’t get hold of it!
For our Wednesday Challenge, here are the logos of companies that no longer exist. You are going to have to consult someone much older than you to get these right! I want to know the name of the company and what the business was:
Prizes for the first students and staff with the correct answers.
Have a great day,
Tuesday 30th June
I’m not sure that I will ever forget this news story about nurse Charlotte Cole and her family: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-53218280. Can you imagine how it must have felt to only be able to see your parents through a window for eleven weeks:
And how joyful they must have all felt when they were reunited:
When we think about the sacrifice of NHS staff, we sometimes forget the sacrifices that their families make, too.
This Sunday it is the NHS’ birthday. That sounds odd – hasn’t there always been a health service? Sadly not. When my children were little I can remember singing them a song to try and get them to sleep. The song had a dolly called Polly who was sick, sick, sick (my eldest is called Holly, so the words got changed slightly in our house). At the end of the song, the doctor who has cured her brings his bill, bill, bill. Before 5th July 1948, that would have been the reality. In fact, you would have had to pay the midwife after a child was born, too – can you imagine needing money at a time like that? Now, a new parent will spend a lot of time Googling symptoms and trying to decide if their baby is so ill that they need a doctor. For many people before 1948, the only question would be ‘can I afford to go to the doctor?’
Andrew Marr wrote that ‘the most important thing it [the NHS] did was to take away fear. Before it millions at the bottom of the pile had suffered untreated hernias, cancers, toothaches, ulcers and all kinds of illness, rather than face the humiliation and worry of being unable to afford treatment. There are many moving accounts of the queues of unwell, impoverished people surging forward for treatment in the early days of the NHS, arriving in hospitals and doctors’ waiting rooms for the first time not as beggars but as citizens with a sense of right’ (from ‘A History of Modern Britain’). In the first fifteen months of the NHS they supplied 5.25 million pairs of free glasses – imagine what a difference just that alone must have made.
It is the 5th July this Sunday, and we are being asked once again to clap to show our support for nurses like Charlotte Cole, but also to show how grateful we are that no-one in Britain has to feel like a beggar when they need to see a doctor. https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhsbirthday/about-the-nhs-birthday/
Monday 29th June
Tonight is the evening where we welcome the new crop of Year 7s and they find out their Houses! Do you remember when this was you? On Wednesday we will be having a ‘virtual transition day’, our attempt at making the newest members of our family feel at home.
I can still remember that day (a long time ago) when I started secondary school. It was my first time getting a bus on my own and I remember how strange it was to be surrounded by other children, with very few adults around. School was a long way from home, not just down the road anymore, and there were only three of us from my primary school going to the same school. It’s strange, all these years later, still being able to feel the knot in my stomach and the excitement.
What was it like for you? What do you remember about your first days at Bishop Luffa? It would be interesting to find out about your older relatives’ experience of starting secondary school. My grandparents all made that transition during World War II and I remember my Grandpa telling me that he started secondary school in Portsmouth and ended it in Wales, where he’d been evacuated. Were your relatives’ experiences very different to yours?
Spare a thought, today, for the students joining us in September. And if you have a younger brother or sister who is coming up (and I know that a lot of you do), let them know how much we are looking forward to meeting them.
We ask for your help, as we welcome our newest students to your school.
We thank you that when we pray together, you listen and give us strength,
So please, Lord, hear our united voices and help us to show the new Year 7s how much they mean to us,
So that we can form a strong, loving community at Bishop Luffa School.
In your name,
Friday 26th June
The Arts are very important to us at Bishop Luffa, so it was sad to hear Dame Judi Dench say that she was worried that some theatres may not open again: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/news/judi-dench-theatres-reopen-boris-johnson-government-covid-19-a9584176.html. The Coronavirus has forced us all to think about what matters most to us, and I think that many of us would think that our lives were poorer if we didn’t have the opportunity to watch plays and musicals or visit galleries. As Dame Judi says in the interview, these things may not seem important at the moment, but while we focus on other parts of our lives we could lose something that will be very hard to recover.
One way that we can show our appreciation of the Arts is by supporting artists and performers in our own school. Ms Lawlor would like me to pass on this message:
“The Arts Faculty are continuing to mark our annual celebration evening via the new ‘Fruition 2020’ page on the website. Today’s offering is a short video featuring Bishop Luffa students talking about what the Arts mean to them plus the official poster advertising what is to come over the next few weeks. Please check it out!”
We only have three weeks left of this school year. In that time we will run Fruition and Sports Day, even if they look very different to previous years. That will lead us to the very last day of term, Friday 17th July, when we will have our final assembly and award the House Cup. At present the standings are:
However, Sports Day is a great opportunity to make a difference. The more students who participate from each House, the more points. Mr Godfray will be sending out details of how you can get involved very soon.
Have a lovely weekend,
Thursday 25th June
Thank you to everyone who answered the Wednesday challenge yesterday – I’m getting more answers each week at the moment! The painters were Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo. The first three students with the correct answers were:
- Manka Vecsei, 9Wi
- Holly Wilburn, 7Ot
- Jack Newman, 7Ri
Staff really excelled themselves, with nine correct answers in the first twenty minutes – it’s getting competitive! The medal winners were:
- Mr Bonney
- Ms Christie
- Ms Friend
If you were in school today I would be hammering home the message that you need to stay safe in the sun: stay hydrated, stay in the shade and use sun cream. You may find that you have a different problem: how do you stay cool while working from home? I think that every news website that I use has an article about this today, starting with putting your pillow cases in the freezer and ending with putting a frozen bottle of water in front of a fan to simulate air conditioning. I’m not sure that either of those ideas actually work, but here are two that I think do:
Mr Hindman’s Top Tips for Staying Cool (trust me because I’m older than you – a lot older):
- Close the curtains, open the windows. This really, really works. You need to think in reverse: curtains open at night, shut in the daytime. Make your home dark and breezy.
- If it gets too much, put an ice pack or bag of peas at the back of your neck. I’m not sure about the science here, but it seems to cool your head down and that seems to cool your whole body in turn.
Another strategy is just to be distracted, and this doesn’t mean watching endless sit-coms on Netflix. Try this podcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1MhyZ8j3M4c7twrln1DSqFz/how-five-famous-figures-are-rethinking-life-after-lockdown. Five interesting people imagine how the world might be very different after the virus. I’m sure that you will have had similar thoughts yourself, so hopefully you will find something here that you could use to improve our lives at school when we are all finally back.
Ms Castle has the last word:
Don’t melt today,
Wednesday 24th June
Exciting news yesterday – we found out that many more restrictions will be lifted on 4th July! The main point for us to take-in is that the 2m rule is changing to ‘1m+’. This means that we should stay at 2m where we can and when we can’t we should take extra precautions. We will find out what this means in more detail in the next few days.
You will be thinking ‘restaurants, pubs, hairdressers’, why can’t I come back to school? This is a good question. Although it is frustrating that we aren’t all able to come back just yet, it does mean that it is more likely that we will be able to see everyone at school at some point in September. Hopefully the rate of infection will continue to fall and we will be able to start next term with something like normal rules in school.
Everyone will be calling 4th July ‘Independence Day’, which of course it is – in the USA. It always makes me smile when shops and restaurants try to get British people to celebrate ‘the 4th of July’, because they seem to have forgotten who the Americans were becoming independent from: it was the British. And the US is not alone - at least 48 countries around the world have a day where they celebrate becoming independent from the United Kingdom. This map shows every country that has an ‘Independence Day’ and the flag shows the country they are celebrating not being part of:
There is a list here: https://www.officeholidays.com/national-days/independence
It is important that we understand that other countries celebrate the British leaving, because it meant freedom for them. Like all nations, we think of ourselves as the ‘goodies’ but in many countries we are the ‘baddies’ who stopped the native people from living the way that they wanted to live.
Many of you will know that I’m an English teacher, and one of my favourite books to teach is ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe. The hero of the story is Okonkwo, who is an important man in his village and the surrounding area. The book starts off with a glimpse of the culture that Okonkwo understands and where he is successful. However, Okonkwo is living through a difficult time: white people are starting to colonise the area that he lives in and the traditions of his people are breaking down. The later parts of the book show how that affects Okonkwo. The novel is one of those stories that makes you feel as though you are there with the hero, suffering, triumphing with him. It has sold over ten million copies and been translated into fifty languages. It is definitely worth reading and helped me understand what it must be like to suddenly find yourself an alien in your own home.
The Wednesday Challenge this week is to identify the artists:
Tuesday 23rd June
Have you got any idea what this is:
It’s called a ‘voltaic pile’ and is one of the earliest batteries ever made. An Italian called Alessandro Volta invented it in 1800.
How about this:
This is nicknamed the ‘Baghdad Battery’. It was found in Baghdad in 1938, but probably made around 200 B.C. Some experts – although not all – think it was used to give an electric charge. For humans, being able to store electrical energy for use whenever we need it is one of the most influential inventions in our history.
If you want to do something to change the world, my advice is that you invent the next generation of battery. I’m tempted to set it as the Wednesday Challenge tomorrow, as I imagine that someone in 7Ridgeway would have it solved by lunchtime.
If electric cars are ever to replace petrol models, we need a faster way to recharge a battery. At present, the by-products of the charging process slow charging down and damage the battery. The amount of heat generated needs to be controlled, as does the risk of lithium plating, which reduces the life of the battery. Companies everywhere are competing to make a faster charger or a more efficient battery. The scientists that manage it will finally free us from being dependent on fossil fuels. One of those people could be studying Science at our school right now!
If you would like to know more and potentially solve the problem, read this: https://www.wired.com/story/charge-a-car-battery-in-5-minutes-thats-the-plan/. Batteries may not be something that you think much about, put imagine life without them.
Thank you for the curiosity that you give us to know more about your world
And the desire always to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.
Please give patience, wisdom and inspiration to scientists working to create technology
That can free us from our dependence on fossil fuels.
May we live in a world where we can be proud of our achievements
And not ashamed of the damage that our achievements cause.
In your name, Lord,
Stop reading this and go and invent a new battery – quickly!
Monday 22nd June
Does it feel as though things are starting to change? Just as my ‘PE with Joe’ t-shirt finally arrived, Joe announced that he’s going part time. There are rumours that there will be an announcement from the Prime Minister this week, and that there might be a change to a number of rules, including the ‘2m’ principle that has become part of all of our lives. This may mean we can get our hair cut again!
Many people have been reunited with a lost love over the last few days: Ms Tabb is certainly a lot happier, and Ms Watson can’t contain her excitement – football is back. Other sports will follow soon – my son is excited at the prospect of a Grand Prix on the 5th July. All these things that are not essential, but are key parts of our ‘normal’ lives, are slowly coming back.
Are you ready?
We’ve talked in assembly about ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, where people who are held hostage bond with their captors and then don’t want to leave when they’re set free. Are you so used to your new way of life that you can’t imagine being only one metre away from someone who lives in a different house? Does the idea of not queuing outside a shop seems strange?
I imagine that it will take us a long time to adjust, and we will all adjust at different speeds. The hardest part is that this won’t end suddenly: we will have another set of rules to adapt to, and then another, and then another. Fortunately humans are good at adapting – it is our superpower. And you, at your age, may find it easier than your parents and carers to adapt, so please be patient with them if they are not as ready as you are for change. Hopefully, though, if we all follow the new rules and we can keep the rate of infection down, we might begin to feel as though this difficult period of our lives is ending.
Have a good day,
Friday 19th June
This was quite a moment on Wednesday:
When the man below, Colin Kaepernick, first took a knee during the National Anthem, he received death threats, lost his job and wasn’t able to play again:
In the USA today, it is an unofficial holiday, called ‘Juneteenth’. This commemorates the moment that the last official slaves in the country were set free, on the 19th June 1865. The story of Juneteenth is very interesting and not well known outside of the US: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zyvwr2p
Thank you to everyone who contacted me about Rumboldswhyke School yesterday – your messages of support and offers of help were really moving.
I have some more good news about a partnership that I think will make a real difference to our school. We have been working on a plan to have a Chaplain at Bishop Luffa. This means that we would have our own member of the clergy to support all of us. They would work alongside the existing clergy team and help all of us to develop our spiritual lives.
Our Chaplain would also have a parish of their own, which means that a local church has had to agree to share their Vicar with us. I can now reveal who our partner is going to be: the parish of Hunston and North Mundham!
The parish is being incredibly generous and I hope that we will get to know them better over the next few months as we work together to find the right person.
Today is technically the last day for our Year 11s and 13s. I don’t want to make too much of a fuss, as I hope that you keep joining in with school life. We will make sure that we have your leaving celebrations as soon as it is safe to do so: they will probably feel more like reunions!
Have great weekends when you get there,
Thursday 18th June
Congratulations and some big news ...
I will definitely set more picture challenges, what a great response! Most people identified Arundel Castle, the first picture, and The Weald and Downland Museum, which was the last one, but not too many people knew that the middle picture was of the RSPB at Pulborough Brooks (near where I live).
The first student to get all of them right was Katie Barnett in 7Andrewes; 2nd place goes to Sam McCallum, 8King; 3rd to Nellie Pegg, 9Burrows.
The first correct answer from anyone was from Ms Lawlor, but I’m declaring Ms Sutton the overall winner, as she knew it was the RSPB at Pulborough Brooks. Ms Sutton has claimed the points for King House. Mr Putnam was third.
I have some very exciting news to share with you. Last night, our Directors (the people who oversee our school) voted for us to take on another school, Rumboldswhyke Infant School. Here is an old photo of their sign:
This means that we will begin running the school sometime later in the year and that you will hopefully get to meet the children there. I would love to have lots of you mentoring Rumboldswhyke students and helping them with Arts, sports and music events. Please let me know if this is something that you would like to do.
Wednesday 17th June
First off, I have two messages from staff:
Ms Lawlor has a sad note with a happy ending –
“Tonight the Arts Faculty would have been hosting their annual celebration evening, ‘Fruition’. Sadly due to the current situation this has been cancelled. However there are plans afoot to acknowledge this event in a different way. More will be revealed this coming Friday, so watch this space!”
I loved my first Fruition last year: it was brilliant right up until the very last five minutes. If you were there you will know what I’m talking about. If you left before it, then you had a lucky escape…
Ms Christopher would like you to send any photos of interesting or humorous things that you’ve been doing in lockdown to her at email@example.com. They will then be used for our Year Book or as a slideshow to go alongside a special surprise song that the Music team have been recording. Please make sure that anyone in the photo is happy to end up in print and on the internet!
Yesterday was Sussex Day, which takes place on the day that the Church of England remembers St Richard of Chichester. His prayer is our school prayer and is in your planners. Ms Castle has illustrated a section of it:
Sussex is a very beautiful area of Britain, and under normal circumstances Sussex Day would be a great opportunity to explore it! Here are three of my favourite views:
However, on a different day I may have picked three completely different views. What would you pick?
Oh – and, as it’s Wednesday, there are House Points if you can tell me where in Sussex my pictures were taken!
Have a great day,
Tuesday 16th June
A Tuesday stroll...
Twenty years ago thousands of Australians walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge:
Okay, this isn’t interesting yet. Let me try again: Twenty years ago a quarter of a million Australians walked across the bridge on a ‘walk for reconciliation’. Is that better?
Fine – ‘reconciliation’ is a long word and it’s early in the morning. I can hear you shouting: “Why are you telling me about Australians? It’s a long way away and you don’t know if I was meant to be going there on holiday this summer.”
Well, I think that this story can help us work out what we need to do next as our response to the ‘Black Lives Matters’ campaign. As well as moving large numbers of Africans to the Americas to work as slaves, white Europeans, particularly the British, went to countries that were already populated and claimed the land. They then moved families from Europe to these countries, spreading disease, and spreading something that they thought was a real gift: the rule of law and democracy. Courts and prisons sprang up across these countries and made sure that every citizen had their rights protected. The gift that wasn’t given, though, was the gift of being a citizen: native people often found themselves without the same rights as the settlers, not full citizens of the country their families had lived in for centuries.
The ‘Walk for Reconciliation’ in Australia was an acknowledgement by all Australians that the situation wasn’t fair and that native communities were living in poverty and suffering disease at alarming rates. Does this sound familiar? It was a huge moment in Australian history, but the campaign for equal rights is also still going on. In Australia right now, twenty years later, they are voting on a plan to allow the ‘indigenous’ community to have a say in laws that affect them. After twenty years. In 2020. 232 years after Australia was officially established.
Why now? Because Black Lives Matters has made Australians think about their own country and has focussed them again on the injustice that they live with everyday.
To find out more look here: https://nrw.reconciliation.org.au/2020/04/22/when-australia-walked-the-talk-the-2000-reconciliation-bridge-walks/. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australians-to-get-their-say-on-the-indigenous-voice-this-year-20200609-p550wo.html.
In Britain, and in school, we need to make sure that we make changes now. We can’t still be talking after twenty more years. There are many things that we do unknowingly that aren’t fair. We’ve talked about this in assembly in regards to sexism. We need to identify what these things are and change them. Tomorrow a group of students are meeting (online) to start that process. If you would like to join them, please let me know. Their aim is to produce a plan that they can present to all of you to show how we can live up to our school motto.
Monday 15th June
We have two new Student Captains, and they are…going to be announced at 1pm on a Goggle Livestream! Please use this code to watch me announce the winners: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/785a20d5-b7f0-4d81-a814-89ad84cc2418.
I won’t be in school today, for the first Monday in a long time. This is because an Appeals Panel will be hearing from parents and carers who want their children to join Year 7 in September, but haven’t been given a place. It is very humbling to hear why families want to send their children to Bishop Luffa and I think that it adds to the responsibility that we have as students and staff at our school: to remember that Bishop Luffa is a very special place and that many people would love to be sitting where we (normally) sit.
We will start to have more students in school today, starting with small groups of Year 10 students and moving to Year 12 once they finish their exams. We can never have more than a quarter of Year 10 and Year 12 in, and so far they are the only year groups that we are allowed to bring back. We would love to welcome more of you in, but the Government guidance needs to change before we can do that. Mr Parrott and Ms Leonard have put up a display in readiness:
Mr Jackson has made a video to show students who are returning what we have done to minimise the risk of infection and what rules you will have to follow. Even if you are not coming into school yet, you may want to see the video (especially if you are missing the building – you never know, you may catch a glimpse of your locker!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic2EVIn09w4.
Thank you for the opportunity to see more of our students in school,
And please help us to keep them safe.
We pray for strength for students and staff who want to be back in school
But who have to remain at home for now.
We pray, also, for all of those students in Year 6
Who are joining us in September,
And hope that we can find ways to make them feel like part of our family.
In your name, Lord,
I hope that lots of you will tune in at 1pm (and that the technology works!).
Friday 12th June
The candidates did an incredible job in the debate yesterday. Voting finished at midnight and almost 400 votes had been cast. The candidates have their interviews this afternoon and I will look forward to telling you the result on Monday.
Ms Duke has sent out resources for us all to use this morning to remember Anne Frank. If Anne Frank were still alive, she would be celebrating her 91st birthday today and it is unlikely that we would know who she was. Her diary is one of the most beautiful and poignant non-fiction books ever written. Anne started writing her diary on 14th June 1942, two days after her 13th birthday. Instead of writing ‘Dear Diary’ she wrote ‘Dear Kitty’, after a character in a book that she’d read who had lots of adventures. She filled up most of the diary and continued into notebooks. Anne wrote stories as well. She said that: ‘The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise, I’d absolutely suffocate.’ (16th March 1944).
This was not the only reason why Anne wrote. She, like many Jewish people, wanted everyone to know what the Nazis had done to the Jews. Anne and her family were worried that the Jewish people would disappear into the Concentration Camps and never be heard of again. The Nazis were careful not to write down their plans so that they could deny their persecution of Jews, gay people, Romani gypsies and anyone with a disability. After the War, people didn’t want to believe in the Holocaust: it was so disturbing that people tried to block it out. Anne’s diary helped break through the public’s disbelief. It has now sold over 30, 000, 000 copies. If you haven’t read it already, why not give it a try?
Some students in Year 10 will be coming back to school in the next few weeks. Mr Jackson has made a video to explain how we are trying to keep you safe when you return. You may all like to see it, as you will get to see some of the changes we have made to the school and because there is a hilarious cameo from Mr Brown! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic2EVIn09w4
Have a great weekend,
Thursday 11th June
At 1pm today we will attempt (and it may just be an attempt) to hold a live debate with the four candidates. The link to the livestream is on the Google classroom: r2c7ipy. Once the debate is over, everyone who is registered on the Google classroom will receive a voting form. You then have until midnight to vote! Tomorrow, starting at 1pm, the candidates will be interviewed by our Chair of Directors, the Head of Sixth Form and myself. The vote from the Google classroom will count for 75% of the decision, and our interview will make up 25%. Remember, we are choosing two Captains, one male, one female.
What I need from you are questions to ask the candidates. What do you want to know? Please e-mail me by 12pm with anything that you’d like to ask. It would help me if you could put ‘QUESTION’ in capital letters in the subject line. The candidates are very nervous but very excited – please show them your support this lunchtime!
Thais and Freya sent some amazing pictures in yesterday, so now it is Ethan and Dylan’s turn.
Who is making you cringe the most?
So please: register, listen, decide!
Today is Corpus Christi, which literally means ‘the body of Christ’. Christians around the world, particularly in Catholic churches, reflect on Jesus’ gift to us of the Eucharist. I find it uplifting to reflect that we have been celebrating the simple act of breaking bread and wine for over 2, 000 years.
If you live in Arundel, you will be used to the world famous flower festival in Arundel Cathedral on Corpus Christi. Sadly it has been cancelled this year, for the first time since World War I.
Ms Castle has made us a special Corpus Christi illustration:
Have a good day,
Wednesday 10th June
As an adult you will have to register to vote. This is relatively simple in this country, and we don’t ask people to bring identification with them when they vote, as not everyone has a driving licence or passport. Our system is based on trust: I can walk up to the Polling Station, give my name and address and be allowed to vote for whichever candidate I like. That is not the same everywhere. This story ran in The Guardian newspaper last November:
The story explains that many African Americans are denied the opportunity to vote, so they end up with politicians representing them who don’t come from their community or have the same values as they do. And in many parts of the US, jobs like Chief of Police, Judge or District Attorney (the lawyer who prosecutes people who have been arrested) are voted for by all registered voters. So the people making the laws and enforcing the laws won’t necessarily be thinking about you if they know that you are unlikely to vote.
For the School Captain elections, you will have to register to vote. If you want a say in the future of your school, all you have to do is join the Google classroom: r2c7ipy. We will also be trying (emphasis on the trying) to have a live debate through the Google classroom on Thursday at 1pm. Voting will begin when the debate finishes. You will only be able to see the debate or vote if you register!
Today Thais and Ethan answer my daft questions:
Ethan Storey said:
Favourite food: Doner Kebab or trifle.
Favourite subject in school: I love all three of my A’Levels, but I'd have to say Theology because it's always really thought provoking.
Netflix or Spotify: Definitely Spotify (my favourite song is Rain by the Beatles).
If you were a superhero, who would you be? Iron Man- calm under pressure and always ready to listen, adapt and innovate.
Best thing you’ve done during lockdown: I've been doing a lot of cycling during lockdown because the roads have been so much quieter than normal.
Thais Jones said:
Favourite food - hard to choose, but I’d probably have to say pizza.
Favourite subject - History - I’ve always loved learning about our country’s heritage and how people used to live.
Netflix or Spotify - definitely Netflix, most tunes on Spotify can be found on Youtube, but Riverdale is only on Netflix!
If you were a superhero, who would you be - Black Widow from the Avengers movies - she doesn’t have a superpower, but she’s an excellent fighter and specialises in espionage and gathering information- the world’s most valuable resource!
Best thing I’ve done during lockdown - jumped into a fairly deep stream, fully clothed, whilst on a socially distanced walk with a friend.
The female candidates were very quick to send in their photos to make us cringe – remember Ed Miliband and the bacon sandwich!
Does seeing a different side of the candidates make you want to vote for them?
Tomorrow we will see what Dylan and Ethan come up with!
Don’t forget to register!
Tuesday 9th June
The race for Student Captain is heating up, with the candidates starting to release statements and campaign posters on the Google classroom (code on email). We are hoping to arrange a debate later in the week, and then we will send you a form so that you can vote.
In General Elections, politicians always get asked completely random questions to see how human they are. I have asked each of the candidates the same questions. I am not sure that they will help you decide who to vote for, but they are very revealing…
Here are Freya’s answers:
Favourite food: Probably pizza (I like pineapple on it though - controversial!)
Favourite Subject: Media Studies and Psychology - I can't choose between them!
Netflix or Spotify: Netflix because I love binging TV shows!
If you were a superhero, who would you be: Violet Parr from the Incredibles - she has the power of invisibility which I would love to have.
Best thing I've done during lockdown: One of my favourite ways of keeping in touch with my extended family is being the host of a weekly pub quiz - it can get very heated! We have introduced a baby tortoise into the family too!
And Dylan says:
Favourite food: my sister’s lemon drizzle cake.
Favourite subject: Business Studies.
Netflix or Spotify: Netflix (it has ‘Friends’ on it!)
If you were a superhero: Iron man because he became a superhero off of his own genius rather than a superpower.
Best thing I’ve done during lockdown: supported my elderly neighbours by doing their weekly shopping for them.
Hopefully we will hear from Thais and Ethan tomorrow.
Another standard part of an election campaign is a photo of the candidate that makes everyone cringe. Former Labour leader Ed Miliband derailed his own campaign by awkwardly eating a bacon sandwich:
Theresa May had a similar moment when she decided to dance onto stage:
My challenge to our candidates is to come up with their own photos that will make us all cringe – who is willing to embarrass themselves to win?
Do take the time to watch the candidates’ videos – they are excellent.
Monday 8th June
I hope that you had good weekends.
One of the greatest things that any of us can do to ensure that there is freedom in the world is to vote. The people that you vote for should reflect your values; however, life is a challenge, and there will be times when you are choosing between the lesser of many evils. Either way, you need to vote. If you don’t, you are opting out of living in a democracy: you are allowing others to decide the rules that you will have to live by.
You have the opportunity to vote for School Captain this Thursday. You need to select one female and one male Captain from the four finalists. Each one has made you a campaign video to help you decide. You can watch their videos by following the instructions on today's email.
I know that you will respect the privacy of each of the candidates and not publish their videos elsewhere.
We are trying to set-up a debate with the candidates. If you have a question for them, please email me or leave a comment in the classroom.
Our Bishop Luffa YouTube channel has two videos now! Mr Brown has recorded an assembly for you all: https://youtu.be/gJEOKFaWY7E.
Mr Evans’ special place was Austin, Texas. Thank you for all of your answers.
Thank you for all of those people who want to serve others.
We pray for all of the students running for Student Captain,
And ask that they have a rewarding experience
And want to stand for election again in their lives.
Lord, please be with those people in the world who have no voice,
And show us how we can use our freedom to help them.
In your name,
The last word, as always, to Ms Castle:
Friday 5th June
The scientist was indeed Marie Curie. Everyone who replied with the correct answer yesterday will get a House Point, but the medals go to:
- Bronze – Henry Dempster, 11King
- Silver – Jack Newman, 7Ridgeway
- Gold – Ms Richi – who is claiming the points for Otter House!
I’ve had a lot of emails about the death of George Floyd and many of you would like us to do more to tackle racism and inequality at our school and in our community. I would like to share some of the emails with you next week, and I would like you to think about what we can do practically to make sure that this isn’t a cause that we get angry about and then forget – because if we forget then it will happen again. On the BBC website yesterday they put five speeches together to sum up the reaction to George Floyd’s death: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52917648. It is meant for a young audience, but I found that its simplicity made it more powerful.
Mr Evans shared this with his tutor group yesterday, and he has said that he doesn’t mind me sharing it with all of you. It is about this city in the US, which has a really great name – any ideas what it’s called?
Mr Evans writes: “What plans have you had to change under lockdown?
“I was due to fly to my favourite place on Earth on July 18th but found out yesterday that the flight has been cancelled (which I half expected). This was a very important trip for me; after my parents passing away, dealing with their estate, selling our childhood home (which they owned for over 40 years) and taking care of a mountain of paperwork, this solo trip to the States was going to be relaxing, healing and reflective.
“I will get the chance to go, but in the meantime I've decided that at some point in the holidays I will drive solo around the UK to see family and some of my favourite spots (a drive through Millington Woods in Yorkshire followed by a roast dinner wrapped in a giant Yorkshire pudding in York; a stay at my cousin's vacant apartment next to the Tyne River in Newcastle; to see the majestic Kelpies in Scotland). This all depends on being permitted to do this by the government of course!
“So what plans have you had to cancel - and is there a way you think you could do something different instead?”
It would be great to hear some of your post-lockdown daydreams!
Have a great weekend,
Thursday 4th June
I received an email on Monday that I thought must be Spam. It said: “We are writing to you because your student, Joshua Hammond has completed all 925 skills on HegartyMaths to 100%! We are really excited about this and would like to congratulate you and your pupil.”
Well, I would love to say that I taught Josh (14Otter) everything I know, but I don’t think he would have managed 25 skills, let alone 925 with me as his teacher, so I am going to pass on the congratulations to everyone who has ever taught Josh maths and to Josh himself for an incredible achievement. I would love to receive another email like this – Josh has climbed Everest, but who will be next up (or maybe Josh has made it to the South Pole, so who will now get there without eating any dogs)?
I have only had one correct answer to my ‘name that scientist’ question on Tuesday. Any ideas? Usual prize!
We have a very big decision to make as a school. We need two new School Captains, and we have four students in the running. They are:
- Dylan Collier, 13Story
- Freya Jones, 14Otter
- Thais Jones, 14Story
- Ethan Storey, 14Story
Each one has made a campaign video. I will send you the link to these, so that you can watch and make a decision, and we will then have a vote next Thursday (11th June). The candidates will have to have a formal interview with myself, our Chair of Directors and Mr Saunders, and we will then combine the results to produce a winner.
They’re not bad, really, our Sixth Formers…
I hope that you liked Ms Castle’s rabbit, Teddy, who made an appearance in yesterday’s picture!
Have a great day,
Wednesday 3rd June
I’m sure that many of you have been finding the news of George Floyd’s killing distressing and very difficult to understand. I imagine that many of you will have blacked-out Instagram or signed a petition. Clara Amfo, the Radio 1 DJ, expressed how it made her feel on her show yesterday: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52890690. Former US President Barack Obama said that ‘we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly normal’. Can you imagine waking up every day and knowing that you are not as safe as the other people that you know, because of something beyond your control? Can you imagine seeing a police car and not feeling safer, as I hope most of us feel, but actually feeling scared?
You will all have heard of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Please think about this: 95% of the staff at school weren’t born when Rosa Parks refused to move from her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama on 1st December 1955. 80% of us weren’t born when Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968. Sixty-five years later we are still waiting for equality between black and white people in the US. Is it different in our country?
Another great American, Jackie Robinson, said that ‘there is not an American in this country free until everyone of us is free’. It echoes a famous line by an English poet ‘no man is an island’. We are all connected and if we allow one person to be treated unfairly then we are helping to create a world that is unfair. We talk a lot about ‘love’ at school but sometimes I think we forget what it means. Loving the people around you means caring about them even when they annoy you and wanting everyone to be treated fairly whether you like them or not. We can’t do much to help the situation in the US, but we can change the way we behave to the people around us.
It’s easy to love heroes, like Rosa Parks. But if we want change we have to stand up for everyone.
Please help us to be strong and to stand up for justice,
However scared or helpless we might feel.
Please help us to show love to everyone in our lives,
However hard that might be.
Please show us how to bring change to the world
By letting your love guide us.
In your great and glorious name,
Have a good day,
Tuesday 2nd June
This may not make sense at first, but if you bear with me, hopefully it will mean something by the end…
When I was at primary school I enjoyed reading books about explorers. This was one of the books that I had:
I think that there was something very British about the whole story – Scott wanted to be the first person to get to the South Pole, but he came second (the way I remember it, he lost because the Norwegians cheated and ate the dogs that pulled their sleighs. Being British, Scott thought eating a dog was like eating an aunt). I knew that I wanted to be the first to get somewhere or the first to discover something, but as I got older, I realised that a) I wasn’t very intrepid and b) everywhere seemed to have been explored already.
Now that I am older and wiser, I can see that I was wrong. In my life time twelve significant new discoveries have been made and added to one of the most important maps that we have:
One of the greatest explorers to have lived was this scientist:
Do you know who she is? She discovered two elements during her life time. This is the equivalent of finding two continents – she could be said to be like Christopher Columbus and Captain Cook combined. In fact, many people might argue that her achievement was more impressive, as Columbus and Cook actually discovered land that already had people living on it. This inspirational scientist was the first person to ever observe polonium and radium.
Many explorers had heroic deaths. Captain Cook was stabbed by natives of Hawaii on one of his many adventures:
The inspirational scientist also died because of her work. She took great risks working with radioactive substances, and this took its toll, leaving her with an auto-immune disease that eventually killed her. Her work, in turn, has been one of the biggest weapons in the fight against cancer that we have.
To be a great explorer now, to become famous for changing the course of the human race, you need one of these and you need to know how to use it:
You could be starting your journey today, and one day the whole world might know your name. Good luck!
I’ve told you all before that I want at least one Bishop Luffa student to become Prime Minister. I would also like at least one of you to discover an element that can be added to the Periodic Table. It would be useful if someone else could become a Supreme Court Judge.
The last word, as always to Ms Castle:
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,