Assembly after half term

February 20, 2012

I hope that everyone enjoyed an unexpectedly long half term. The decision to shut the school was not easy, but was necessary, and we have managed to eliminate an extremely nasty bug from our surroundings. Thank you for acting so swiftly.

I was very sad when Mr Williams informed me that he would be leaving Milton Abbey at the end of this year. He is a giant of a man in all ways, and has left a positive legacy on Athelstan and Milton Abbey. We will miss Mr Williams hugely. There will be an opportunity for us to show our appreciation for all that he has done at a later stage, but in the meantime I want us to show our thanks to him.

The absence at the end of the first half of term has meant we need to catch up on lessons that have been missed. Mr Staley and Mr Sharp will be looking into how we deliver these lessons to ensure that we are not in any way behind in our teaching and learning.

I discovered a wonderful poem over half term. It is written by Louis MacNeice. Within the opening two stanzas it gives a beautiful narrative on what we need to be thankful for; it uses evocative word painting on those things that we value most, yet do not value us and have no means or reason to do so.

This poem, which I will share with you in a minute, is about being grateful. The title, Fanfare for the Makers, conjures up a triumphant trumpet blast for those things that created us. What does create us? Is it our parents? Is it our surroundings? Is it those things that we don’t know or understand, that work via a process of osmosis?

It is all of those things. Yet one thing that is at the centre of what we should be is enduring, lasting, uncomplicated kindness. Kindness to each other is the vital start to this.

From this week and beyond, during your time at Milton Abbey, we really want you to be open and kind to each other – your contemporaries, your teachers, those who clean your room, those who cook your food. I would like everyone to move around the school, and when seeing someone else, greet them with a cheery hello, and a smile. I want this to become our second nature – I want it to define us as Miltonians.

Keep in mind the following poem. Be grateful for all that has made you, for you yourselves will - through your actions - make others, and may be part of that silent fanfare in years to come.


 A cloud of witnesses. To whom? To what?

To the small fire that never leaves the sky.

To the great fire that boils the daily pot.


To all the things we are not remembered by,

Which we remember and bless. To all the things

That will not notice when we die,


Yet lend the passing moment words and wings.