9th October 2013

SoakingTerm is well and truly under way now, with the end of week six looming, so time for another blog. I’m about to start terrifying the senior years by pointing out that a week after half term we’ll be over quarter of the way through the academic year in terms of school weeks.

We have a new Charity Committee this term: a group of pupils from years 10 to 13 who are co-ordinating our various efforts to raise money for good causes. Their first big event was last week, aimed at raising money for Water Aid, and they started on Monday and Tuesday with very polished  senior and junior assemblies on the great need for clean water provision in many parts of the world. On Tuesday they ran a tremendous cake sale – there’s nothing like the gleam in the eye of a small child faced with a large and varied selection of cakes!

The most ‘fun’ part of the day was to be throwing wet sponges at our Australian Gap student, but he was ill (one can hardly blame him) so the head boy stepped in. Michael took his soaking (North Yorkshire is rarely short of water) with good humour, especially given that our lunchtime arrangements meant that he had to face three sessions. He was even nice enough to get closer and closer to the juniors so that even a 4 year old couldn’t miss.  It was striking that an event that might well have descended into riot at even a well-behaved school resulted here in a good humoured crowd patiently and cheerfully enjoying the fun and, in typical competitive independent school fashion, loudly working out the most effective way to lob a sponge!

On Sunday, instead of the school going to church, the church came to us. The parish of St Stephen’s, Fylingdales, celebrated Harvest Festival with us in the Barn (school hall). Mrs G did the organising, and did it very well, but the stars were the large number of pupils and staff who threw themselves into the preparations without needing to be asked twice. The choir were great, George played his guitar, Leon played the piano for ‘we plough the fields and scatter’ after only a couple of days practice, twenty or so boys and girls did the readings and little playlets, and the Barn was wonderfully decorated. The event itself was full of joy and life, which I suppose is the point with Harvest Festival,

Pictures from these events and many more are on my Instagram account, which I’ve been running since the end of the summer. For those who don’t know, it’s a social network thingy where you post pictures and a caption that other people can then see. People can then ‘follow’ any Instagram account that they find interesting. The Times on Saturday said that Harry Styles has 4.9 million followers, which made me feel a bit self-conscious about having no idea who he is. Lady Gaga has 2 million followers and Barack Obama has 2.5 million. I have 41. I’m trying hard to be a man about it and not worry; after all, I had no idea what Instagram was just a few months ago, but still, 41. And it’s about to get worse. I’ve promised to be on Twitter by half term, which requires rather more wit than just pointing a camera phone, and it’s not looking to me like I’ll be rivalling Stephen Fry for numbers of followers on that!

No good videos in the tutor group assemblies recently (Year 11 tend to be a bit more self-conscious and a bit less enterprising than sixth formers) so I’ll offer you this instead.