Preparations for Christmas are in full swing here at Weald and this last week saw two of our traditional pre-Christmas events return to our annual calendar and I think for those of us who have attended them over the years, it was lovely to have the sense of our traditions restored.
As I write today’s post, there is a heavy frost on the ground, cars are covered in white frosting and winter is truly upon us. The cold snap was very much in evidence on Sunday when our PTA opened their Christmas Fair to the public. I cannot emphasise enough how much hard work and commitment our PTA committee, wider members and helpers have put in to making last Sunday’s event a success, but I am so grateful to every single person who has helped tirelessly to bringing the Christmas Fair to fruition. I also need to thank every member of our community who attended the Fair and supported the school’s fundraising efforts. I would like to give personal thanks to Mrs Paddington, our school’s Executive Assistant who volunteered alongside my husband to support me on the cake stall. We all had huge fun trying to sell cake to the many visitors we had. Apparently, according to Stephen Clark’s feedback my selling methods were too keen, but I think he was just annoyed I was selling more than him. However, I was completely staggered when my husband during the event cancelled a pre-arranged commitment so that he could stay longer and help clear up afterwards. I was pleased to have met so many of you last Sunday as you took me up on my invitation to come over and say hello. It was really helpful and encouraging to hear your feedback regarding the Christmas Fair. One visitor who particularly enjoyed last Sunday, was one of our former students, who left Weald in 2013. She came over to say how lovely it was that the Christmas Fair was taking place again, as Weald has always been known for its traditions, and she was so pleased to see that continuity as she returned to the school this time as a stallholder. A parent of the school who attended as a stallholder gifted to the school a beautiful picture painted by a Ukrainian artist who is currently living with her and this will be displayed at school, so everyone can enjoy looking at it. I need to end this section, by mentioning how grateful the school, the PTA and I personally am to all the community for the extraordinary generosity of your donations at what I know is a very challenging time for many households both where we live and in the whole of the UK. I do not know the final sum we have raised, but I do know that the figure will be impressive and will contribute additional resources and support for our students that otherwise would not have been possible.
On Wednesday evening many of the school community gathered at the magnificent St Augustine’s Chapel, at Tonbridge School to hear the Music Department’s Christmas Concert which took place for the first time in three years. Over the years I have attended many Christmas Concerts at Tonbridge School and before that at St Stephen’s Church. However, last night’s event stood out for the quality of the stellar performances that were in evidence. The setting alone at Tonbridge School is impressive, but the overall presentation of the event which balanced seasonal readings with exquisite musical performances was truly memorable and marked that the Festive season is very much upon us. I want to thank the Music Department, Mr Crowhurst, Mr Smyth and Mr Lee, the support staff who helped operationally with the event, Mrs Beasley, in her role as the senior link to Music and as a performer, all the other staff who performed or attended and the PTA for a superb Christmas Concert. Finally, I would like to congratulate all of those students who sang so beautifully last night and received the longest round of applause I have ever heard at a school event.
There have been a lot of other activities going on at Weald this week too. We had the second Weald World Festival at the Sevenoaks Campus today, and it was, once again, a fantastic event. Mrs Ricks, the Deputy Headteacher at Sevenoaks said of Sevenoaks’s Weald World Festival:
‘Today was, once again, another great and colourful day at Weald. It was so nice to see our students excited to discover at lunchtime a selection of food and cultural facts at the different countries’ stalls as well as having the opportunity to enjoy bubble tea. This afternoon, they were all so engrossed in the various workshops that I have no doubt they will have plenty to tell at home tonight. The buzz throughout the afternoon has been a delight to witness and a perfect way to finish the week. I must say I was so proud to see so many students dressed in their traditional costumes and wanting to share with pride their heritage.’
The opportunity for the wider school community to come together and celebrate our diversity is so important, and I must thank Ms Micallef again, for her incredible co-ordination of both events which have expanded beyond her original idea and been such a success. Thank you too, to all the students, parents, carers and staff who were involved and supported the event.
Ms Letchford, Mrs Beasley and the Drama Department have been busy with GCSE performances and the Year 13 NEA. Thank you to everyone involved for all their hard work in making the performances a success. Thursday, in keeping with everywhere else in the country, was our Christmas jumper day, and it was amazing how many different versions of the Christmas jumper were on display.
Have a lovely rest this weekend, and we look forward to seeing all the students on Monday for our final week of the autumn term. My advice for the next week is to wrap up warm.
Mrs S A Clark