A week of rather better weather, albeit chilly at times, saw us finally resume sports fixtures with other schools. This is an event that many of the children, and indeed many of the staff, have been eagerly looking forward to. As ever, those who did not play in a match this week enjoyed a wide variety of activities on Wednesday. I am glad that this important step on the road to normality has been reached; I would feel rather cheated if my final term as a schoolmaster was one without Cricket.

As those in Middle and Upper School head into exams next week, there is much evidence that they are well prepared. There are some fine examples of written work on page 4, and page 3 shows just some of the ways that we have been encouraging our children to be relaxed and mindful at a time when pressure can build up. Exams at St Christopher’s, especially in the Middle School, are as much about developing good skills and a calm and sensible approach as they are celebrating achievement and improvement. Our Year 8s, who begin their final exams shortly, will hopefully reap the benefit of their years of practice, and show the very best of themselves.

As I hope most of West Hove has noticed, the yellow flag of the Anson Lions flies above New Church Road today, as our flagpole bears the first House Flag in the 94 years of St Christopher’s School. The flag will be raised each Friday for the House announced as the winners in Celebration Assembly, and will fly for the following week. My thanks to the Parents’ Association for supporting this exciting new development.

With so many older children involved in exams next week, the next edition of the Newsletter will concentrate on the life of those in Pre-Prep, as yet unburdened with such inevitable facts of academic life. I wish you and your families a splendid weekend.

Last Sunday I thoroughly enjoyed watching an interview on the Andrew Marr Show of David Hockney, the great British artist, now aged 83. He is presently in Normandy working on an exhibition which captures the harmony of nature, taking the Bayeux Tapestry as an inspiration, but also the wonderful colours of a Normandy spring with all that blossom. In walks with my wife and dog that weekend I followed his advice to observe nature closely and could not help but wonder at the beauty of the countryside. Lime green leaves on the trees, bluebells in the woods and early blossom on the fruit trees need to be observed. This harmony is there for all to see in our city and we should take the time to really enjoy it.

I have, therefore, introduced a challenge for the children to draw, paint, write, or take photographs, illustrating the harmony of nature, the new life which spring brings. Any medium can be used but I hope that your children will wish to participate.

A number of images within this Newsletter show how your children have been making the most of lovely spring sunshine. I do hope that it continues over the weekend and that you are all able to really enjoy the pleasures of being outside at this time of year.

Bright blue skies, if slightly frosty mornings, have enabled us to ensure your children have had plenty of time outside this week and it has been good to see them enjoying their games sessions and activities with their friends. I Hope that it will not be too long before that great prep school tradition of Wednesday afternoon matches can resume. Our pupils have also started their classroom learning with great enthusiasm, judging by the purposeful approach I see on my walks around the school and on the hundreds of Commendations I signed and announced this morning.

Perhaps the source of greatest excitement this week has been the new House badges, which are being worn with great pride. It will not be long before the House flags, which are presently being produced, adorn our flagpole, visible for all to see which House won the weekly House Competition.

Today, the Union Jack is flying at half mast, to mark the life of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and remind us all of the values he represented – his sense of service, his loyalty and selflessness, and his fortitude provide a lesson to us all as Louis, our Head of School this term, reminded us so eloquently in his address to the school on Thursday morning.

Dawn to dusk azure skies have meant that we have been bathed with late spring sunshine this week. The children have made the most of it, as the pictures within show. It is cricket weather and a whole variety of venues have welcomed our pupils for their games sessions, whilst on Wednesday afternoon there was paddle boarding and other fun water sports at Hove Lagoon and beach volleyball at Yellowave on the lovely Kemptown seafront. Our youngest pupils have been making the most of outdoor learning at Glebe Villas.

It is very important in a term when examinations are a focus for the older children that the co-curricular activities which give such balance are thoroughly enjoyed. I am delighted that individual music lessons have started again and that we are looking forward to the phased introduction of sports fixtures. I don’t think that I have ever had so many visits to my study form children proud to show me commended work, or as great a sense of the joy and energy that a school full of children brings.

I hope that you all have the opportunity to enjoy the warm sunshine with your children over the weekend.

The school was full of red, blue, green and yellow on Tuesday morning as your sons and daughters embraced with typical enthusiasm House Celebration Day and the support of charities chosen by their Houses. The House Quiz was hotly contested and good sums raised for charities which have been the subject of a number of recent Assemblies. This morning we celebrated a term which has been rich in achievement and in learning, despite difficulties to overcome. It has certainly been good to have the children back over the last fortnight and I look forward to a Summer Term when we can play and sing and dance and mix more freely. I would like to thank you, our parents, for giving such wholehearted support to teachers who have worked so very hard to ensure that your children’s learning has not suffered over lockdown. They could not have done so without that support.

Today, many will be running laps of our Glebe Villas playing fields and then it will be home for the Easter holidays. It is also the last day for Mr Samrah, who leaves us to start a career in the world of business. He has been an excellent Junior Master, and I would like to thank him for all he has done for the pupils and staff of our school.

I wish you all a sunny and happy break.