Be Scholarly, Be Charitable

The Spring term is a strange fish. In the fifteen years I have been teaching, it never fails to lull one into a false sense of security. We arrive back in early January thinking how lucky we are that it is a short term and Summer is just around the corner and then it goes on, and on, and on. This is definitely something to do with the dark but also the fact that everyone likes the beginning (Christmas term) and the end (Summer term) but no one really likes the middle.
So in order to get through it, we need to make life as busy and exciting as possible and, at Belhaven, we have certainly done that. Since I last wrote, the scholarship season has begun in earnest and 4 of our potential 14 scholars have already been to sit for awards at their senior schools. So far, two have been successful and as I write we are waiting for results on the other two. The next 6 are off to do their exams during half term, with the final 4 heading off the following week. Thy have been extremely well-prepared by the staff and now it is just about the competition that they will come up against at their chosen schools. I wish them all the very best of luck.
In my last ‘blog, we had just sent the Form 2s off to Torness Power station (they all made it back in one piece and without any ‘souvenirs’ of enriched plutonium) and the zoo was coming to visit. Well, that was a tremendous experience – giant cockroaches, corn snakes, a leopard gecko, a tarantula that had eaten her husband (not in the car on the way to Belhaven, I hasten to add) and a bearded dragon called Dougie. The children were enthralled.
The following week we had a visit from the Tatler, preparing our review for their Schools’ Guide 2019; there was hockey against Loretto and netball v. St. Mary’s and a visit from the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity who our Charity Club have chosen to support this year. We then had a Weekend ‘Out’ during which the children baked an extraordinary array of cakes, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, bread and all manner of delicious goodies for the charity Bake Sale that took place when we returned on the Monday, to raise money for the Jo Walters Trust. I have never seen so much temptation in one place! There was so much left over that we donated it all to Belhaven Hospital and Dunbar Community Centre.
Last Wednesday there were IAPS hockey qualifiers at Fettes and also the Dandylions netball trials – I am delighted to report that 5 girls have been selected for the Dandylions v WOSPS which will take place at Fettes on Wednesday 7th March. Thursday was a day full of ABRSM exams and we also had three sports coaches from Rugby who took hockey and netball sessions for the Under 11s. 8 children also went up to Glenshee to represent Belhaven at the IAPS Ski Racing. We finished 4th out of 20 teams and whilst the racing was great fun, the lure of the café was just too strong!

Friday was the second round of Mastermind – special subjects included: The Isle of Coll, Mr. Stink (the movie) and Maddie Hinch (Team GB).
On Saturday the whole school took part in the ‘Skipping Rope Challenge’ to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Every child was sponsored for their own particular challenge. For some who, like me, find skipping most unnatural, their goal was simply 15 or 20 consecutive skips; for those more seasoned skippers, it may have been 500 – some even skipped around the Thursday Run….on a Saturday! Everyone completed their challenge and a tremendous amount of money was raised for the BHF.

In the evening we had the annual Reels Party for the seniors and their parents. I only just made it back having made a quick dash to Sick Kids in Edinburgh with a boy who’d had an altercation with a horse whilst riding on Seacliff beach in the afternoon – thankfully he was absolutely fine; the horse however is still under observation. The evening began with drinks in the Hall and Drawing Room followed by supper for all in the Dining Rooms. Once the band had been fed, the dancing began. It was wonderful to watch the children, who were obviously loving dancing with each other and with their parents, show off all that they had learnt at their Wednesday evening Reeling classes and my thanks again to all those parents who have helped to teach them some very complex reels.

On Sunday after a morning service at St. Anne’s in Dunbar, where the service is very much focused on the Belhaven children, the younger boarders went off to ‘Fingers and Thumbs’ in North Berwick to paint bowls, plates, mugs, egg cups and so on and the seniors settled down to watch Scotland get their 6 Nations campaign back on track with a sound thrashing of France; the result was never in doubt.

This week has been a quiet week as many schools are on half term so there have been no fixtures but we have enjoyed Patrol Hockey yesterday and the Patrol Cross-Country today, so there is plenty of competition going on. Tomorrow (Thursday) we are celebrating Chinese New Year with a lunch (It is the year of the dog – very apt as there are so many dogs who live at Belhaven) and then on Saturday we continue the Patrol Competition with the much-anticipated Mansfield Music Cup, after which half term begins.

When we return, there will be another four action-packed weeks and then we really will be heading towards the much-loved Summer term….

That is all.

Henry Knight, 17/02/2018