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Lost pleasantaries? – Headmaster’s Blog – 3 October 2014

October 3, 2014

Lost pleasantaries?

We have just had a successful Open Morning with many visiting families and pupils having a tour of the School. At the alastair reid mar 14lowresconclusion of the tour there is usually an opportunity for a ‘catch up’ with me and other senior staff. Invariably the visitors comment on the friendliness of the pupils, the helpfulness of staff and the impressive facilities. Comments such as these warm a Headmaster’s heart! Nevertheless, the comments which I listen especially closely to are those to do with the manners and courtesies of our pupils.

We don’t get everything right – just yesterday a current parent was nearly bowled over by a Y9 class spilling out of the Performing Arts’ Centre after an especially exciting and energising drama lesson (woops!) – but I am pleased to record the many comments from visitors about our common courtesies: doors held open, standing up as visitors enter rooms, eye contact in conversation and mature conversations.

One of the courtesies we encourage is saying ‘thank you’ in a special way. It’s super to receive a verbal thanks but I make a point of suggesting that a hand-written card or note is somehow even more meaningful and appreciated – because it has taken more time, effort and thought. I was thus very interested to read in a recent Weekly Telegraph article that this pleasantry was number 5 in the all-time list of ‘things parents most miss for their family’. Making tape recordings of the top 40 was first followed by pen friends, watching ‘Top of the Pops’ and then owning singles on vinyl or cassette! I know I am showing my age somewhat by appreciating a hand-written letter (although last year’s Y11 wrote personally to all other senior pupils and staff as a leaving gift) but I hope that most people will agree that this can suggest extra care and attention! (Incidentally, number 10 on this nostalgic list was ‘making solid plans which do not change as a result of mobile communications’. Now I really am showing my age!)

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

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