The View from My Study – 1st March

On Tuesday morning in Chapel, I slapped Mr Langley around the face with a glove and called him a scoundrel! He was slightly taken aback but I pointed out that I had just challenged him to a duel so we proceeded to stand back-to-back, march five paces and then shoot at each other (using nerf guns). Disappointingly, Mr Langley won hitting me right in the chest before I had even fired.

The point was that this was how arguments were decided two hundred years ago. If Mr Langley had refused my challenge – by turning the other cheek – he would have been deemed a coward and lost his honour. So duels, although illegal, were quite a common way to resolve differences and they often resulted in death. Thankfully, times have moved on. Or have they? Maybe the inner-city gang culture which resorts to violent crime to resolve ‘honour’ is an indication that society hasn’t moved that far forward after all.

Dealing with conflict is difficult and that is why it is important to educate children as they are growing. We often say when they are very young to be kind and friendly and not to argue and, of course, that is the general direction of travel for which we always strive. But, in reality, we can’t be friends with everyone all of the time. There will be differences and we do fall out with others. The important thing is to learn how to handle disagreements appropriately. The strength of a community is how it deals with moments of conflict. And learning how to have arguments with people in the right way is an important part of growing up and of playing our part in our world.

Turning the other cheek is not cowardly at all; in fact it often requires more courage. And it doesn’t mean that one has to be tortoise-like and go into a shell. One can stand up to a conflicting view without resorting to violence, anger or sulkiness. The ability to listen, reason and compromise is what is required and that is what we are seeking to give today’s Biltonians.

Six of our 6th Form pupils received news this week that they had been awarded an academic scholarship to their senior school and there were some outstanding results of which my colleagues and I are very proud. Together with the non-academic awards, this now means that this year’s leaving cohort have gained a seriously impressive 31 scholarships to senior schools across the Academic, DT, Drama, Music, Performing Arts, Music and Sport disciplines. This says much about the breadth of opportunity available as well as the level of excellence that is achievable through hard work and commitment. However, we should remember that scholarships offer a snapshot of expertise at a particular time in a child’s life and we are all aware that children develop and impress at different stages. So as well congratulating those children who were successful, I would also like to congratulate those who put themselves forward for a scholarship challenge this year but came away without an award. I am very proud of you all. And, thank you to all the staff involved in preparing the pupils for their assessments.

There is a FAB Meeting tomorrow at 8.45am in the Library, directly after HM’s Bacon Butties. Please do come along and support some of the initiatives being driven by you, the parents.

If I do not see you, have a super weekend!

And by the way, Happy St David’s Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus

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