It is good to be back.
This has been something of a refrain since term began with both staff and pupils thrilled to be back on campus and enjoying the rich variety of Salopian life once again. We’ve benefited from some quite glorious late summer weather, but more than anything it is the radiance of a campus coming to life with the sights and sounds of pupils and staff living and learning together again that has made for such a vibrant first fortnight.
The campus has seen an absolute feast of activity with the first weekend a fine example. The Third Form race- with three waves set off at intervals- saw our new pupils don their house vests for the first time whilst the football and hockey fields were similarly awash with the vibrant spectrum of house colours as fiercely contested Inter-House matches filled the first Saturday afternoon. Serious fun.
It got even better. Sunday saw seven hours of Inter-House cricket matches for the boys and an inaugural girls’ House Football competition. The former is something of a familiar sight on the Shrewsbury campus (albeit not normally in September); the latter was an historic first and the atmosphere on those pitches and sidelines was really something to behold. New Director of Sport Andrew Pembleton and his team deserve considerable praise for the work they’ve put in to getting sport up and running.
Foundation Fortnight has, as ever, been a wonderfully varied and busy induction programme for our new pupils where, alongside settling in to their academic lessons and house life they have likewise been able to explore the wide range of co-curricular opportunities available to them at Shrewsbury with workshops in drama and dance, an introduction to music, and a wide range of sporting experiences whether familiar activities such as football and hockey or those perhaps that are new such as rowing and Fives. Head of Year Jeremy Lucas has done a superb job in putting together the programme and, as ever, the pupils have relished this immersive first experience of Shrewsbury School life.
The brand new Barnes Theatre has been something of a talking point as our pupils have returned, and our dancers and actors are positively buzzing to have such an amazing facility to come back to. A sprung-floor dance studio (with the most glorious view down the tree-lined avenue of Central) has seen hundreds of Salopians already taking advantage of the facility, whilst the new-look theatre is already alive with rehearsals for House plays and examined performances.
The campus is likewise alive with the sound of music and how good it has been to see and hear our pupils getting back to playing together again. New Director of Music Stephen Williams and his team have put together a wide variety of ensembles for our musicians to participate in, and we have our first concert of the year on Saturday 19 September with the traditional New Entrants’ Concert taking place in the Alington Hall to an audience of Third Form pupils sat in their House bubbles. It is of course unfortunate that we are unable to welcome parents to attend this- and other events- but we will be filming it and providing a link for parents so they can watch the concert at home.
Whether it be MUN or bee-keeping, mountain biking or STEM, we’ve got a wide and varied programme up and running and where there are challenges, we’re endeavouring to find solutions. What has been so good to see is the positive spirit in which both pupils and staff have returned to school site and engaged so enthusiastically in the co-curricular programme. Salopians tend to be pretty upbeat and resilient and, if the first fortnight is anything to go by, the term ahead is one in which we’ll see them meet both challenges and opportunities with relish.
It is good to be back.