19 January 2016

Happy New Year.

In 1958, WH Auden wrote ‘Routine, in an intelligent person, is a sign of ambition.’

Schools thrive on routine yet no two days are the same.

I’m a big believer in routines because as Tony Little says ‘It is a great lesson for life; embrace routines and it will set you free’. 

In schools, following set activities at set times allows us to concentrate on what really matters; unlocking learning and enjoying the thrill of new thinking. Paradoxically the rules and (dare I say) regiment which enables a school to function, actually supports imagination and creativity, it doesn’t diminish it; that takes some thought to understand. I am proud that USH is traditional in many ways including its routines…in designing it that we way, we encourage our students to develop their creativity, imagination and individuality within the accepted parameters of society…..essentially it’s good practice for life.

This month, The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has announced that he is working to set the date for Easter each year; the second or third Sunday of April. Wouldn’t that be something?
The implications for families and schools would be far-reaching; not least help towards a known rhythm of the year for terms, exams and holidays.  Calculating Easter (Computus) is I understand hugely complicated; involving lunar cycles and the vernal equinox.  Interestingly the first attempt to fix a date for Easter was in the 10th Century, so I’m not holding my breath….the decision to fix a date is also influenced by something more earth-bound; the advance printing of calendars; so good news for kittens and C-list celebrities.

In my assemblies this term, we reflected on last year’s events in Britain and around the globe. Lot’s happened and it’s clear that for a relatively small island, we punch way above our weight for contribution to the world; I said to our students, ‘USH is not in the centre of’s in the centre of the world.’ Confirmed by our school's appreciation of matters in and out of our city.

Finally, I counselled students on New Year’s resolutions; suggesting they maybe wait until the weather warms up before they vow to undertake any new routines (research indicates less than 20% of resolutions stick beyond January)… It apparently takes 30 days of repetitive action before something officially becomes a habit.  I’m planning on taking up Ashtanga yoga again; having practised it for 7 years... I’ve bought a new chart...feeling better already.