Deputy Head’s Lines – 5th November 2021

Senior School
5 Nov 21

As ever, at the start of a new half term, we have re-introduced the children to a new pair of Learning Powers.
Since in the next month or two we will be performing our acts of remembrance and also entering the period of Advent, it seems apt that we consider the importance of Empathy and Reflection. At their simplest level, Empathy and Reflection involve thinking about others and thinking about yourself, but these thought processes alone are worth very little unless they provoke some action to make a change of some kind.

I shared with the children on Monday about the strange experience of Dr Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite (amongst other things), who was given the opportunity to read his own obituary in the newspaper, following a case of mistaken identity after the death of his brother. The story goes that the headline read The Merchant of Death is Dead and that the first line of the article was “Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

This caused Alfred great distress when he considered what his legacy would be, so he took steps to ensure that he would be remembered for something else. His vast estate was left to the establishment of the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Literature and, perhaps most famously of all, Peace, and it is this for which he is now best remembered.

By many measures, before this life-changing event, Alfred Nobel was a very successful man, who was able to grow wealthy because of the success of his inventions, running 90 factories manufacturing munitions. This proves a prompt that we all need to continue to practise our skills of Empathy and Reflection, even when things are going well for us, because there may be others that need our help.

We encourage the children to consider the impact of their actions on others, predominantly through the lens of our three School rules of Ready, Respectful and Safe, but this care is embodied in a range of different ways. Next week sees House Football matches for boys in Years 3 to 6, in which everyone, no matter their ability, will play an important role. The captains of those teams will ensure that everyone gets the chance to play and contribute to the whole team’s performance.

This week, we have enjoyed a Year 6 informal Music concert, which has been the first event to which we have invited parents for a long time, and we hope that we are able to increasingly open our doors to parents for similar events over the course of the term, Government advice permitting.

Our grateful thanks go to our wonderful SVPSPA team, who have arranged what promises to be an excellent fireworks display tomorrow and we will keep everything crossed for good weather! The determination of the whole team to ensure that events like this can go ahead safely is a testament to their commitment and creative thinking.

All in all, School continues to be as busy as ever!