31st March 2014

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger! Five months since the last one, and no real excuse that wouldn’t embarrass someone in Year 9 to deliver! So, with renewed determination, I’ll celebrate my last day as the ‘new’ headmaster of Fyling Hall with Blog 4 (I started work here in April last year).

Term ended last week, and the school is blissfully quiet, at least from my point of view – the bursar and his staff are incredibly busy. Fyling Hall terms always end with Final Assembly. This involves the presentation of certificates and awards, and then the whole school listening patiently as the headmaster drones on for a bit. What they’re all waiting for is the final act: Mr Allen, in another long-standing Fyling Hall tradition, gives out cans of coke as prizes for those who have done something wonderful this term or, most pupils’ favourite bit, someone who has done something really silly. No one seems to be spared, including the staff, so I was a little tense this time. We had a staff versus 1st XI hockey match last Tuesday, which drew a large crowd and was tremendous fun for all concerned. The staff, who ranged from our heroic young Gap student keeping goal after an hour’s tuition, to those some way past what we used to think of as retirement age, lost by two goals to one. Not too shameful, but we had looked like we might win until a frankly laughable series of mistakes by the headmaster led to the girls’ second goal. No withering comments from Mr Allen so far, however, which is nice, but may mean that there’s really no getting out of playing next year!

My own speech mentioned that one of my Year 8 classes recently told me they thought the school had a stronger Christian ethos these days. I’m pretty sure they’re basing that on the slightly flimsy evidence that we’ve gone back to having a prayer at assembly on Mondays, but their view of what a ‘Christian ethos’ means was interesting. They see Fyling Hall as caring, fair, generous to others and welcoming – not all the time (life can be hard when you’re in Year 8), but mostly. It certainly is, as any school should be, but it was very nice to hear from pupils, all the same.

We’re on day three of a ‘sea fret’ at the moment: the lingering fog what afflicts this coast occasionally when the weather warms up. In the last two weeks we had day after day of brilliant sunshine, punctuated by rain, high winds, hail and even snow. Spotting the kind of analogy that you start to look for if you deliver assemblies regularly, I also commented at the end of term on the wide variety of things that our pupils do which make me proud of them. As well as the very good-natured hockey match, the last couple of weeks saw massed success at the Eskdale Festival, a production of ‘Grease’ by younger pupils (no one will forget Year 5 Harry’s air-guitar solo in a hurry!), a Junior School concert, Year 10 work experience week, some competitive charity fund-raising and an end of term disco that was as well behaved as it was enjoyable. I hope they all enjoy a rest during the holiday!

Finally, for followers of my struggles with social media, the Instagram account is closing in on the 100 followers mark. Twitter is, perhaps not unexpectedly, developing a little more slowly!

Paul Griffin