The season is changing rapidly and Stoke is a riot of Autumn colours. The harvest locally has been relatively good with the long warm weather reducing the growth of the wheat but making the gathering in easier. 

Whilst Stoke is in the heart of fertile farming country, for most of us the connection with the land is more tenuous so it is good to remind ourselves of where our food comes from. 

Our Prep School did just that last Friday, attending the village church to celebrate this year’s harvest festival and to think about how fortunate we are to live in a country and at a time where food is secure and abundant for most of us. However, this isn’t true for everyone in our community and over the past two weeks the Prep children and parents have been donating food for our local food bank.

It was very impressive to see the collection grow and to see the generosity of so many families. One parent said to me that they aren’t sending Christmas cards this year but instead will use the money saved to shop with their children for the local food bank. It’s a wonderful idea, not just because it can make such a difference to the recipient families but also because they are involving their own children in the thought process of buying the right sort of foods which will most help.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that similar thoughts are discussed with our sixth form economists too, when we study the trade in food and the distribution of income. The reality of food banks makes the academic learning more relevant and very much more real.

The difference in approach to learning at A level was something our Year 11 students experienced on Thursday too. They had the chance to sample a wide range of A level subjects, as well as BTEC, as they plan for the next stage in learning after GCSEs. It was a stimulating day for both staff and students and we look forward to many of them joining our sixth form next year to take advantage of the closely supported tuition we offer.