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March 8, 2024

Saint Felix Celebrates World Book Day

It has been a great shame to be away all week and to have missed the World Book Day celebrations and the annual Saint Felix Dinner. Reading is such an important part of our lives, and it is wonderful to give over a day each year to emphasise the role that it can play in the lives of everyone. My own love of reading has played an important part in my academic journey; from Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Arthur Ransome, JRR Tolkien and Kenneth Grahame as a child to Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Franz Kafka, and John Le Carre as an adult, I have always had a book (or usually three) on the go. In a world where social media can distract in a less than positive way, losing oneself in a book is perhaps one of the guiltiest pleasures of all. When I think about the end of term and the opportunity for a break, my first thought is always, what will I read over the next week or so? It is our role to instil that love of reading in your sons and daughters; it is the truest sign of curiosity! With the Senior Library having been renovated and the two Clough Libraries to follow this process, and a new book stock having been provided by the Isabella Gardiner Trust, we look forward to a formal reopening of the Library on Friday March 15th by a very well-known local writer! More details to follow.

It has also been the week where we all celebrate Saint Felix Day; Felix of Burgundy (Dunwich) was a saint and the first bishop of the kingdom of the East Angles. He is widely believed to be the person who brought Christianity to the nation and the great British historian, Bede, wrote that Felix freed “the whole of this kingdom from long-standing evil and unhappiness”. According to Bede, he also established a school where “boys could write letters”. He was clearly a reformer and an innovator and thus most apt that, at a time of great change, we take our name from this celebrated saint and commemorate his death on the 8th March with a Feast!

This week, I have been delighted to attend the Society of Heads annual conference where creativity in education was the theme. It clearly resonated given the renewed emphasis that we will be looking to put into this part of the curriculum and which I wrote about last week. Whether it was Dance, Art, Music or Drama that was talked about, it was so clear that these subject areas provide such benefits to the students and the whole community. The second half of this week has been spent meeting international agents and networking to ensure that the boarding houses are full, and we continue to add the wonderful flavour of internationalism to the Saint Felix dynamic. I am following this up with a short trip to China and Hong Kong leaving on Thursday of next week to continue to build for the future.

Yours sincerely,
Matthew Oakman