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Strange farmyard noises have been wafting across on the summer breeze from the classroom nearest to my house in the grounds.
If I am not mistaken, it is the snorting of pigs, the barking of dogs, and the clucking of hens, and, from time to time the whinnying of what sounds to be an elderly, ill-tempered horse.
Admittedly, for most of this week, with exams taking place through the senior school, the bestial barrage has died down. But as from Wednesday, it will doubtless pick up again.
It is drama time. St Peter’s is putting on George Orwell. Next Tuesday, Animal Farm is to be presented at the intimate Blackmore Theatre in Exmouth. Excitement is reaching fever pitch amongst all the participating Year 8s.
Drama has been a strong recent theme, and it takes us right through into the final phase of term here, when children at the top end of the School take part in the Spirit of Adventure, leaving the site for exciting places on the River Dart, and exploring the depths and breadths of their resourcefulness.
Just recently, we have staged our internal Speech and Drama competition, in which children learn and recite poetry – some of it challenging in length, most of it amazing in quality.
We are intending to boost this area of the curriculum in the near future, by making Speech and Drama available from Year 3. This exercise, as Mr Gove would doubtless agree, is not so much a return to the Victorian days of Gradgrind, where learning by rote was an end in itself. It provides children with the chance to express feeling and emotion through the written word; to stretch their memories; to have fun in performance; to listen to the rhythm of exceptional verse, and to compete with one another, to boot.
Congratulations are due to Rohan White and to Lucy Bee, who came out on top of the pile. But to everybody who entered, for making this such a worthwhile and memorable competition.
Which reminds me of a time when a housemaster from a Midlands public school, judging just such an event, took the first line of John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever and asked his audience to imagine how many different ways there were to lay emphasis on the first line: ‘I must go down to the sea again....”
Talking of which, Reception have been telling me of their Boat Trip, and we are all beginning to look ahead to the holidays. But before then, there is so much more to do.
We wish Lucas Richardson luck this weekend as he takes part in the IAPS Golf event at Royal Lytham, and hope that our athletes can emulate their achievements of last summer when they came home Team Victorious from the Blundell’s Athletics Meeting.
Meanwhile, all those who are not eight months pregnant will have their fingers crossed that the current spell of warm weather lasts for another five weeks.