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Head’s blog

The value of effort and the importance of kindness

It was a very good week for the England Cricket Team and particularly for Alastair Cook. Cook has been an outstanding role model throughout his career and I spoke to the children about his work ethic and Growth Mindset attitude in assembly on Monday. At the time, the opener was on 46 not out waiting to go out to bat for the last time. The modest former England captain has scored more runs, more centuries and made more appearances for England than any other player. In an interview Cook says “I’ve never been the most talented cricketer, and I don’t pretend I was, but I definitely got everything out of my ability.” This message was reiterated to the children to emphasise the importance of hard work and determination even if you don’t feel you have the most natural ability in a particular area. In a fairy-tale ending, Cook went on to score 147 to help England secure a 4-1 series victory. (I apologise for upsetting any India fans!)

All the children had their first Chapel service this year and sang the Belmont School song. Chapel is a wonderful place that unites the children in our shared values of kindness, compassion and tolerance, as well as the golden rule of treating others as you would expect to be treated. I read the children a short extract from a letter written by Belmont’s Founder, Arthur James Rooker Roberts, to a pupil who is just about to join the school in September 1923.

‘I want to give you one or two things to think about before you come.  Going to a big School is bound to be a great adventure in your life.  It depends on you whether your schooldays are the happiest time of your life as yet, and a way to make sure of that, is to come with the idea of doing your best for the school.

It is curious, but it is true, that the best way to get the most from your school is to try and give to it.  No pupil is too young or too small to do a great deal and I want to give your best. 

So you see that the great thing to do is to keep thinking of others – to be unselfish…I want you, therefore, to be good at games if you can, to work hard, to be a good scholar, in order that you may have more to give to the school.  I want you to remember that, however unimportant you may think yourself in the school, you can always do some little act of kindness to some other pupil – there is always someone whom you can help, and as the terms go by your power of helping will grow, and you will become a person of the kind that our country so badly needs.’

It is wonderful to see that the core values promoted by Belmont’s first Headmaster are very much the essence of what it means to be a Belmontian 95 years later; to give of your best and to be kind to others.

On the subject of kindness to others, it was great to see all of our Year 7 and 8 pupils taking part in the ABC Fun Run. There were some brave athletic performances and some fabulous fancy dress outfits and I look forward to finding out the winning house.  I also wish Mr Fleet and all the other teacher and parent cyclists the best for their cycle to Cambridge.

A good amount of money has been raised for these two events but I am sure that any more support would be welcome. I have a card in my office that was written to me by a bursary leaver, thanking the staff at Belmont for the opportunity afforded to him. The pupil, now a Mill Hill student, said that the teachers ‘built confidence, aspired dreams, encouraged creativity, instilled learning, touched hearts and changed lives forever.’ That is why teachers do what they do and why the ABC Bursary Scheme is such a wonderful cause.