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Headmaster’s Blog – Butterflies in my tummy

January 17, 2013

Ballard School 2010There was much talk at the lunch table this week about the outstanding nature documentaries currently on television including David Attenborough’s new programme on Africa – friendly rhinos, blind catfish, tumbling spiders, armoured grasshoppers and fighting giraffes, amongst much else.  Just today there was further discussion about the natural world but this time it was closer to home: what causes ‘butterflies in my tummy’?

This week we launched our sixth annual series of lectures (in conjunction with local comprehensives, Highcliffe and Arnewood) which are hosted in the Ballard Performing Arts Centre (PAC). Our topic speaker, a clinical psychologist, set out to answer that question by looking at anxiety – its definition, its many causes and ways in which to mitigate its effects. We were taken back to cavemen and cavewomen times where conflict was met with one of three responses: fight (like Attenborough’s giraffes contesting their territory), flight (like the tumbling spider avoiding a beetle in search of a place to lay its eggs) and freeze (like an ostrich chick confronted by bigger predators at a water hole).  Our speaker, Mrs Laila Jamil, a Ballard parent, spoke with passion, interest and considerable professional experience to a very large audience of pupils, staff and parents. She helped us understand the nature of ‘butterfly tummies’ and how to face up to fears as well as to deal with their worst effects.

This was a great start to the four-lecture series of the Spring Term. Coming up on the 7th February is a talk on international aid from a recently retired UNICEF humanitarian worker who has been based in the Sudan for many years. This is followed by a top chef who runs a successful chef school and then a talk on ‘technology in my life’ – something which impacts us all. These talks are designed to interest and challenge all pupils and parents, not least those on the gifted and talented register, and to give ideas about future career paths. Now that we have dealt with the butterflies in our tummies we can consider what else lies out there for us to take on!

Alastair Reid  Headmaster

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