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Head’s blog

Reflection, reading and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas …

This week’s theme was about reflection. We started off assembly by talking about the different uses of mirrors. I borrowed Mrs Roberts’ mirror from our bathroom to use as a prop before the rest of the household awoke; I don’t think she was very happy with her make up application on Monday. I then asked the children to reflect on their term, on what they have achieved and could be proud of, as well as reflecting on if they had been a kind person, who had tried their best and made the most of the opportunities afforded to them. The children’s reports that you will receive at the end of term are also a helpful tool to help the children reflect on their term at school and come back in 2018 with a real focus and determination to do their best academically but also to be the best person that they can be.

Reading is also a fantastic way to reflect on yourself, on the world, and on your own beliefs and feelings. As well as helping to develop a person’s empathy and improve their wellbeing, research shows that young people who choose to read for pleasure achieve greater academic success as they grow up.

A 2016 literature review commissioned by The Reading Agency states that “reading for younger people has been shown to increase knowledge of the self and other people, which can also lead to greater levels of social interaction and increases in social and cultural capital.”

With the opening of the newly-refurbished Library, Belmont pupils have been reading more than ever before. Data from the library management software shows that issues are much higher than this time last year (November 2016) when 590 books were issued to pupils and staff: in the same period this year 962 were borrowed – equating to a 63% increase! Having a lovely new library is one thing but having an inspirational Librarian in Mrs Hunt also plays a huge role in encouraging a love of books.

Year 5 pupils relaxing with a good read

A year 6 enjoying choosing a new book!

Year 8 pupils sharing new books (and a board game!)

It’s wonderful to see so many children enjoying the library and enthused about reading. Year 7 were given the opportunity to enjoy a new book this week as the BookBuzz books were delivered! The scheme allows every pupil in Year 7 to choose a book to keep, which is subsidised by publishers (costing a mere £3 per student, which the Library funds). In Monday’s assembly Mrs Hunt shared the news with Year 7, who have been waiting very patiently since half term! The books were then distributed by Year 7 form tutors.

As you can see from the photo, Girl On A Plane by Miriam Moss was the clear favourite, followed by R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, a tale about friendship and kindness – very Belmontian!

Last night’s Christmas Concert was absolutely fantastic. The musical talent on display was breath-taking and I am so grateful to Mrs Perrin and Mr Warren for organising this event in such a short space of time. The audience, including the Chair of Governors, Dr Amanda Craig, were delighted with the enthusiasm and musicality of the Belmontian performances.

Just as magical on Tuesday afternoon was the Year 3 Nativity ‘The Little Shepherd’. It was an exceptional performance by the Year 3 boys and girls who seemed so confident on stage. They delivered their lines beautifully and I was blown away by the quality of the singing and the harmonies. They had the audience in the palm of their hand, making us laugh and at times bringing tears to our eyes. Well done to Mrs Slade, Mrs Pendred, Mrs De Souza Dark, Mrs Harris and Mr Wright as well as the Music department for all of their hard work.

If you are not feeling festive after these events then you probably never will.  Although, there are still plenty of opportunities to feel good about this time of year with Saturday’s Winter Wonderland and both the Upper and Lower School Carol Services next week.  To top it all off we are going to support the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day next Friday. This £1 donation is completely voluntary as we appreciate how generous our families are with giving to charity but I cannot wait to wear my jumper in final assembly; it’s a cracker!

Have a great weekend!

Leon Roberts