One of the many exhilarating things about working in a school is that although schools are built on routine, the good ones – and especially the great ones – also have the different, the textured, the colour, the fun if you like. This might be a romantic view, and it’s certainly true that some schools can ill afford such things, but don’t we love it when something a bit different happens: an off-topic moment, a trip, an activity. All of the stuff we didn’t get during Covid. And like a muscle unused for two years, one we are hopefully getting back up to full strength.
Three such moments (and we should all regularly have them, by the way – and we as a school should look to promote them): Lower First and First Form Sports day first. A superb, sunny afternoon, with just the right blend of efficient professionalism and, yes, fun. Not an easy blend to get right: good athletes would be impatient and irritated if we went all sack-race-everyone-wins about it, but we all need to enjoy it, so jolly commentary and refreshments are definitely on. Loads of parents, hopefully happy: super.
Within minutes I was at the IB Group 4 Projects. The other end of the scale in a way: Lower Sixth Formers had spent two days on open-ended investigations, all on the theme of Pirate Science: testing the potential of different animals to displace the parrot, finding the best formula for gunpowder and the best fruit for combating scurvy, testing stability in salt and non-salt water. Serious stuff and powerfully intellectual. But fun. Definitely fun.
And this last weekend, a Saturday of 24 cricket matches, much of the afternoon was occupied for me by watching a splendid, spirited 2nd XI, a spirited but hectic 3rd XI and a simply gripping Under 15 B game which was almost non-stop action, impressive, crazy at times … fun.
I said we should (and do) promote such things. But not over-plan them either. It’s the variety of occasion – match, trip or even lecture – and the unexpectedness that, well, colours routine. We need routine, of course we do, but we need colour and texture too. Call it fun if you like.