Friday, 4th May 2018
CCCS World Book Day (we were, so far as I know, the only institution to celebrate World Book Day this Wednesday – we have sufficient confidence to do things in our own way!) was a great success. There had been much discussion in the Dining Room about what I should wear; all staff had to be villains and so those who were advising me suggested a number of possible options. My first companion put forward Lord Voldemort as a suitable choice; “He’s the Arch Villain, Sir, that would suit you and you won’t have to wear a wig, though you’ll have trouble getting rid of your nose as he doesn’t really have one!” Another suggested option was someone of whom I had not heard, namely Morgoth. The author of this suggestion explained: “Morgoth is the person from whom all evil in Middle-earth comes.” Though I didn’t immediately warm to this proposition, clearly Morgoth was someone with power and influence! In the end I chose to be Dracula; I feel that this was a reasonably effective costume, the only problem being that I was unable to communicate when my fangs were inserted, so for most of the day I had to manage without my striking incisors. I was delighted by the costumes on display, including one boy who came as the wardrobe from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, one of the most fascinating of literary characters of course! A number of pupils came as James Bond; indeed one can never have too many 007s! Our two TAs, Mrs Williams and Mrs Oliver, came as Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker from “James and the Giant Peach”; two less helpful women can hardly be imagined, so different from our wonderful TAs, and in the Office we had a terrifying combination of The Wicked Witch of the West, Miss Trunchbull and Cat Woman, whip and all; the Office was not the welcoming place that it is normally. Throughout the day, boys went and selected books from a mouth-watering display set up for us by Blackwell’s. All this was beautifully masterminded by Mr Watson (aka The Terminator) who did not need to use any termination techniques to persuade pupils to be interested in the books. Reading is thriving at CCCS, I am thrilled to say.
As anyone who has any connection with the educational world will know, the new data protection laws will come into effect on 25th May 2018. We have obtained the help of the company that manages our IT systems to assist us in our task of ensuring that we are compliant, a huge task which will mean that the way we use and store personal data will be very different and highly regulated. We will be asking you very soon for various permissions and given that consent now has to be positive rather than assumed, we would be very grateful if you could return any forms or permission slips sent to you.
Very sadly indeed, today is the last day that Mrs Stanley will be with us. We have been dreading this moment for a very long time now but it has always seemed to be in the future; it is now upon us. Mrs Stanley has been the face of welcome at CCCS for the past four years and she has been utterly incomparable, ensuring that everyone feels and, indeed, is valued. She has always gone out of her way to help everyone and I have often seen her late in the evening trailing off to find someone’s bag or to sort out a problem. To me she has been fiercely loyal; there are just so many things I could say about her, including her tremendous costumes, but above all I have never known anyone who can laugh for longer or with more intensity than Mrs Stanley. There have been times when the entire office has been paralysed by her humour and by her ability to see the funny side of a situation. Wherever she goes she has been a figure of stability and warmth and there are so many people who owe her so much. The school really will be different without her and we wish her all the very best for her new life in Bishop’s Stortford where she will accompany her husband, Paul, who has been made bursar of the school. I know she will take with her so many warm wishes and wonderful memories. It’s unsurprising therefore that one boy woke up early this morning in order to go and buy some flowers to present to her for what he described as “her outstanding performance.” I think that sums it up perfectly!
I very much hope that everyone enjoys the coming Bank Holiday; if anyone is at a loose end, I would thoroughly recommend coming to the Three Choirs Evensong, involving the combined choirs of New College, Magdalen and Christ Church in the Cathedral, at 6pm tomorrow (Saturday 5th May). The combination of the three choirs is staggering and this is a chance to hear a large proportion of the finest choristers and lay clerks in the country. All the music is by composers associated with the three choirs, including a wonderful piece by William Walton, a former chorister of Christ Church. Do get there early as the place will be packed. Have a good weekend.