This week we could have all been forgiven for believing that our assembly theme had changed from ‘challenge’ back to ‘heroes’, as both colleagues and boys alike shared the highs and some rather sad lows that various heroic figures encountered as they overcame – or at least tried to – some rather amazing challenges.


On Monday, I think the emotional and intellectual maturity the boys in 6S displayed in their assembly on challenge was remarkable. They reminded us that heroic characters in all sorts of tales, both true and fictional, enter new worlds where everything is strange and things are not what they once were. The boys in Year 6 may not be facing the challenges of slaying beasts or becoming wizards, but with the 11+ entrance season nearly upon us, they still have the everyday challenges of being faced with demanding academic tasks, experiencing a bit of self-doubt now and then, failing, learning but ultimately growing. Their wise advice to us all was to treat failure as a chance to learn, as this is what real heroes do.


Mr Barber and the boys from 5B talked to us all about The Earthshot Prize, a challenge designed to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years. They reminded us of the ways in which we can all help the environment with small actions every day, including the mantra – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


Mrs Sunderland based her assembly on challenge on her own personal interest in the challenges that befell the mountaineering pioneers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, and their ill-fated 1924 attempted ascent of Mt Everest. Putting some pretty compelling evidence before us, which made us all think, Mrs Sunderland left us with a challenge to ponder: did the two brave gentlemen make it to the top of the great mountain or not?

Finally, heroes of the American Civil Rights Movement featured in a fact filled assembly shared by both Miss Ireland and Miss Wakeling as part of our School’s approach to recognising Black History Month.  Both ladies explained the origins and continuing importance of this annual event, and highlighted challenges that the likes of Carter G. Woodson, Barak Obama and Ella Fitzgerald had to overcome during their lifetimes, some of them in part not of their making but arising out of the racially prejudiced encounters they faced along the way. We were even treated to a recording of some singing from Ella Fitzgerald – always a joy – and this quote from her has stayed with me:


“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.

Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong”.