The coming together of the whole school for our photograph was a definite stand-out moment of this week.

An important visual reminder that we are one learning community, that Ruspini Red Room pupils join Cadogan House who progress into Senior School and then onto Hind House for Sixth Form.

The inclusion in the photograph of not only teachers but also some of our support staff illustrated to any who doubt it that a family and their daughter’s experience of life at RMS depends on the hard work of not just teachers and TAs but also of every single department from Admissions and Finance through Cleaning and Catering to our wonderful Grounds staff led by Mr Lees.

To photograph 950 pupils aged 2-18 plus many staff is a logistical challenge that only takes place every six years at RMS (well done, Mr Cox!) and to see all of us together, united in the sunshine, was a moment for all to enjoy.

When students finally take the next step and leave Hind House for university and employment we very much wish the strong connection with RMS to continue.

This is an area of a successful independent school in which we are not yet where we ought to be, and that is why we have recently appointed Lucia Hull as Development Manager with a brief to build the RMS community for all former students, parents and staff to enjoy events and networking together for many years to come.

Lucia started this week, having joined us from a similar position at Merchant Taylor’s School, and we wish her the very best of luck and the support of us all as she gets to know and to develop the RMS community.

Lucia hopes to meet and chat with RMS families current and former at forthcoming school events such as the Remembrance Sunday Service and Senior School Prize Day.

My own week has in part involved a series of meetings with girls who are new to the school in Years 8-12 so that I can hear directly how their experiences of RMS have been so far.

All pupils settle into schools at different paces, each girl’s story is valid as her truth, and while it is satisfying to hear from girls such as Isla in Year 9 that her first weeks have gone more smoothly than she had dreamed of, all of the new pupils are told that all I expect from them is honesty and that if there are ways we can help them to better feel more at home, or things we could tweak to make their first days better still, then I will commend them for telling me that straight.

The meeting that put the biggest smile on my face this week took place on Wednesday evening with new Year 7 boarders Jessica, Amelia and Valentina, all of whom found the first days away from home understandably challenging, and yet as they sang pop music together and giggled at doing so in my office I could see plain as daylight the progress that they are making under the professional care of our boarding staff and teachers.

One of the joys of being a teacher or a head-teacher is seeing the development of pupils and staff.  One small but very good thing over the course of 2018 has been Mrs Brooks’ determination to offer weekly horse riding lessons to our pupils.

Mrs Brooks put forward a proposal early in the year, and the sessions have already grown from one group of six before summer to two groups taking riding lessons at present.

Seeing each individual girl’s growth in confidence from never having ridden a horse in May to now jumping fences and galloping is hugely satisfying to me, to Mrs Brooks, and most importantly to the girls themselves.

There is a metaphor in it all of course, but the English teacher in me feels that it is one that any reader can spot and think on for themselves.

My wife Sarah and I are parents of two Cadogan girls and even though we’re still a few years away from the experience of teenage daughters, we appreciate how challenging parenting can be at times.

All Senior School parents have teenage daughters or soon will, and the staff at RMS wish to do our best to support you as well as the daughters you live with through those years.

With that in mind our School Chaplain who many of you know, Rev John Quill, is offering Parenting Workshops free to all RMS parents.

John has written about these over the last couple of weeks and explained that he and Barbara Hynes, a counsellor who works with teenagers, will be able to tell you something about what to expect and hopefully how best to manage adolescence.

These sessions will include insights from John from his teaching and experience of Mindfulness and Mindful Self-compassion, and attending these workshops will I am sure be worthwhile.

Each workshop takes place over two evenings and the first starts this coming Monday at 7pm (with a finish by 9pm latest) then continues the following Monday. If you would like to attend then please just turn up at New Mark Hall on Monday 1st October, and if you’d like to know more in advance then do please email John at: