Be Sustainable ...

The Spring Term never ceases to amaze – it looks so short on paper and yet it seems to last the longest. We have only had a four-week second half of term, having ‘broken the back’ of the term with a (longer than most) 6 week first half.
Once again, and I should jolly well know better after 15 years, I lulled myself into a false sense of security, thinking it was going to be a gentle, downhill stroll towards the end of term – will I never learn!? To say it has been manic (in the best possible way) would be an understatement, so here are a few highlights of the second half:
Our academic scholars were away at their various schools over half term as were several of the potential Sport, Art and All-Round scholars. Whilst not a highlight for me, I was at Murrayfield to watch Scotland comfortably beat England; judging by the atmosphere and scenes of unbridled joy in Edinburgh afterwards, I was very much in a minority of 1.
When we returned the Fettes scholars were away doing their exams. We had a charity book sale and Purple Pinkie Day to raise money for the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign and then the ‘Beast from the East’ descended to great excitement from all. Unlike every other school in East Lothian, Belhaven remained firmly open and although it was impossible for some of the pupils and staff to get in, we managed to keep going with a certain amount of the Blitz mentality….
Forms were doubled up, lessons were covered and afternoons were spent in a variety of ways from snowball battles, to igloo building, ice sculptures, snowmen and women, winter wonderland scenes, sledging and finally, my favourite game of all, find the golf ball in the snow.
By Saturday, the novelty had started to wear off and once again we had a full complement of children and staff. In the evening we took over the whole of the Dunbar Leisure Centre and the boarders had free and exclusive use of the pools, slides, wave machines and so on. Sadly the IAPS Cross Country that we host annually in the John Muir Country Park had to be cancelled as there was still too much snow on the ground.
The following week was Mock CE for all the Form 1s which they handled admirably – they all know now exactly what needs to be done over the next 10 weeks. We also had a flood of success amongst our scholars: the final tally for the term was 3 academic scholarships, 3 Art Scholarships, 2 Sports Scholarships and 4 All Round Scholarships – a total of 12 scholarships from a year group of just 21. This is better (by one) than last year’s impressive record and has set the hare running amongst the Form 2s who are keen to go better still.

Although many of the sporting fixtures were decimated, we had 5 girls representing the Dandylions at Netball and 4 boys in the inaugural Dandylions Hockey. The girls also managed some Indoor cricket against Loretto. Forms 5 & 6 went off on their annual pilgrimage to the Grace Darling Museum and Bamburgh Castle and we had a Form 3 concert while Form 2, 4, 5 & 6 parents had their Parent / Teacher meetings before the final Weekend ‘Out’ of term.
We returned to French Day – Moules followed by Boeuf Bourgignon and then Tarte Tatin and Crêpes Suzette. The U11 girls went on tour – to Yorkshire – and played in two netball tournaments south of the border, with great success. We have had a whole host of children coming for taster stays in preparation for starting next term and next year and also a constant stream of boarding trials for those wishing to convert.
The final weekend of term saw the last Parent / Teacher meeting of the year; this time for Form 3. This was then followed by hard-fought Fathers v Sons Hockey and Mothers v Daughters Netball matches, with the Dads losing 6 - 4 but the mothers vanquishing their offspring. Heads were hung in shame ….
The Senior Play – Peter Pan – was extraordinarily well-attended; it was delightful to see parents of those not in the play coming to support too – a reversal of the trend of the last 15 years and I am thrilled. After an ‘In’ service on Sunday with a talk on ‘The difference between Hearing and Listening’ the boarding fraternity headed off to Murrayfield for an afternoon’s Ice Skating, which they absolutely loved.
This week has been all about sustainability with assemblies on the threat to land and sea from plastic and a talk from Eyemouth and St. Abbs Marine Reserve; the children have been on a beach clean and a visit to the Zero Waste plant in Dunbar.
We have had the 6 Nations Winners Lunch – Poached Salmon and Soda Bread, followed by Irish Stew and Guinness cake – Patrol Football and Netball, the Mastermind final followed by dinner for the finalists and their parents. There have been football matches against Longridge, the final netball of the season against Cargilfield and the Patrol Cross Country.
The term finished with Prize Giving and the announcement of the new Patrol Leaders, Heads of House and Heads of School for next term.
So I suppose it hasn’t just been a week of sustainability; it has been about sustaining the enthusiasm, energy and drive of the children (and the staff) throughout this ‘short’ but rather busy term.
There have been so many highlights but, if I am to choose one, it must have been walking out to Games on Tuesday afternoon when the Patrol Football and Netball matches were taking place. It was a beautiful clear and sunny afternoon; the daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops were out, and for the first time this year, not only was there some real warmth from the sun, but every single child was at school, playing sport together. Bliss.
Roll on the Summer term.
That is all.

Henry Knight, 24/03/2018