As regular readers of my blog know I love the poetry of T.S Eliot for a myriad of reasons, but I do disagree with the view that ‘April is the cruellest month’ at the start of ‘The Waste Land’. On the contrary, in a school calendar the days are longer, the light starts earlier and as we emerge out of the darkness of winter the community always breaks up for the Spring holiday ready to rejuvenate for the summer ahead.
No, for me, the cruellest month is definitely November. The change of summer time which creates a sky which moves from light grey in the morning to dark grey in the afternoon, sodden leaves in puddles which mush underfoot and make me wonder if my bike will slide over as I go round corners and damp days all add to that sense of farewell.
I’m sure that’s one of the reasons that we are lucky enough to celebrate our birthday on the 3rd November every year. The day is a space to celebrate our founder Ada Benson and the legions of strong dedicated women who fought for the rights of women to have an education and to access the highest levels of power. Many of you may have seen the article in The Times yesterday. I find it extraordinary that even in 2022 who women marry is still a topic of conversation. The original study upon which the article is based outlines the tensions in early girls’ schools between the feminine attributes required at the time and the ‘propulsive’ quality of these schools which pushed women to high office.
Although times have changed I still recognise that ‘propulsive’ energy at the heart of OHS today – a school where over 50 students played and sang at St Margaret’s Church last night, where one of our pupils, Cecily captained England versus Wales on Wednesday in a football match leading her team to a 1-0 victory as well as the plethora of house points which our students earn every day to recognise their advocacy and self-efficacy.
As I explained on our birthday, our motto, ‘Ad Lucem’ means ‘towards the light’ or enlightenment. That same spark dances along our corridors just as it did in 1875 when the school was founded illuminating the darkness and – November.
Marina Gardiner Legge