Sunday 19th March

It’s good to be sitting here writing the blog whilst looking out on what has been an unexpectely lovely spring day. The sun shone and the daffodils in the grounds are in full bloom. It marks the turn of a really positive time for the school.

Last week was the Prep School production, Robin Hood and the Sherwood Hoodies, and next week the Senior production – Olivia! The Prep production was hugely entertaining. There were genuinely hilarious jokes delivered by some really impressive performers. It was reminiscent of a Pixar movie, delivering equally at both an adult’s and a child’s level. Singing, dancing and set design were all excellent again and it is a real credit to Mrs Huggins, Miss Pye and Miss Mitchell to see the children do so well and have so much fun.

We are looking forward to next week’s Dickensian musical, Olivia! and if you would like to come along too, tickets are available on the Haverhill Art Centre’s website, where it is being held on Wednesday and Thursday evening.

We finished the week with an alumni event on Saturday afternoon, when we welcomed past pupils from the 50’s, 90’s and 00’s, along with their families. During the tour of the school we discovered a few new facts about our recent history including when the senior teaching block was really built (it is far older than 1971!) and the existence of a priest hole in the corridor near the school office. We peered down into the cellar where Year 11s were once allowed to have an underground common room only to hear one of our visitors say that he helped paint the graffiti on the walls! The coloured handprints and reference to Twiggy are still there, years later.

Finally, we completed our scholarship process for the Senior School this week and look forward to welcoming both academic and faculty scholars to next year’s, Year 7. There will be a separate announcement on this with more details. The scholarships are very much about recognising great potential, whether it be academic or artistic. They are however, only part of what we do at Stoke, where we celebrate the achievements and efforts of a wide range of abilities.

As was noted in our recent inspection, notable efforts and achievements are recognised through our house points competition and it is worth noting that this year the gap between the two houses is the closest it has every been. This form of recognition is an important way of motivating pupils, as they are not only being recognised for their personal achievements but also contributing to something bigger than themselves through the house system. It is very much part of learning how to be part of a team and is the foundation of a key skill for adult life.