Adult life brings many challenges in various forms and I usually manage (just about!) to keep my emotions in check as the twists and turns of each day appear before me. There are occasions however when even I recognise I need to dig deep, and work hard to steel myself in response to particular episodes that I encounter each day. The beginning of this week brought just such an episode my way, and Mrs Long (in her capacity as Acting Head of English) is partly to blame! The boys in the Prep have been preparing for the House Poetry Final, which is due to take place on Monday next week. Learning poetry off by heart and being brave enough to recite it in front of others is something I very much believe in – it’s not old fashioned, it’s not an irrelevance and I have seen over many years how such an activity has a massive impact on pupils’ developing creativity and self-confidence. Writing poetry is just as important and this is where Mrs Long and the boys in Year 6 come in. I was rendered an emotional wreck on Monday as a small number of Year 6 boys, representing wider efforts across the whole Year group, came down to read poetry to me in my study that they had composed themselves and were very happy to recite. The boys’ works were all about issues that are important to them, they were intellectually powerful and emblematic of their developing sense of self and their increasing emotional maturity. I am so thrilled that we have an academic programme here that seeks to draw out of our boys in the Prep their thoughts and feelings, so they can consider what sort of interesting, mindful and kind young men we hope they will be on the way to becoming in a year or two. I am also very glad that there is no such thing as “boys don’t like poetry” here, and our boys are encouraged to write what matters most to them and express those values in diverse and creative ways.