A message from Mr Delaney

Dear parents and guardians,

It is with a sense of excitement that I welcome you to the first edition of our new online newsletter: ‘SJBTogether’.

In the current climate, it has never been more important to feel part of a wider community and I hope that the opportunity to share together in the life of St John’s will be of value and interest to you all.

I remember my old headmaster, Mr Sutton saying to me “Giles, there is no disaster that is not a great opportunity!”

It strikes me now more than ever that he was absolutely right. Without disregarding those who have and will continue to suffer so dreadfully in the days and weeks ahead, we can nonetheless draw enormous strength and confidence in the knowledge that we have the capacity to grow as individuals and families during this period and to serve the local and wider community at the same time.

I never fail to be proud of our boys in their achievements and wider engagement, but even I have been lost for words when I have seen the recent extent to which our boys are instinctively making the very best of their opportunities and so often stepping outside their own environments to empathise and support others in need.

It is these actions that will allow us to find our equilibrium in the days and weeks ahead and I sense, in some way, that equilibrium will be re-centred as a community. Of course, I will continue to want the very best for our boys academically and in their wider lives, but if this period draws us together as a community, then that cannot possibly be anything other than good.

I have over recent weeks paid tribute to the boys and staff of SJB but I would also like to thank the Friends of St John’s Beaumont (FSJB) for their time and support over the past weeks. It strikes me that we need their contribution more than ever now and we have laid plans for a restructuring of the Committee’s priorities moving forward. Whilst they will continue to act as a fundraising mechanism for wider charitable projects outside of St John’s, we will focus its energies equally on supporting our community and helping individuals and groups come through this challenging time together.

Parents of Upper School boys will have received details of forthcoming examinations after half term. It has always been part of our ethos to encourage boys to make the most of every opportunity and challenge, and examinations should be no different. We still have an invaluable half-term’s work ahead of us and the teachers and I are keen that it is as purposeful and focussed as possible. Please, however, rest assured that we will do everything we possibly can to walk with the boys through this process and derive something of value from it. We do not want the boys to be spending their half-term pouring over books or worse still, staring at screens to supplement their revision. We will take a lighter approach to these examinations but they are nonetheless an important milestone for boys to challenge themselves and I hope they will make the most of them. Can I please implore parents to do everything you can to encourage your sons to spend time outside and to have as much of a break as they possibly can.

As you will have heard in the news, we are making plans to open St John’s once again for boys in Nursery, Reception, Blandyke and Berchmans and if we can extend these plans further in the days and weeks ahead, then we will certainly try to, subject to government guidelines, and we are very much looking forward to seeing some of the boys when they return.

I would like to send my very best wishes particularly to the families of our boarders who it is unlikely we will see face-to-face until the end of this academic year. This news, I know, will come as a disappointment to many of you but it has been a decision that, whilst dreadfully difficult to make, is nonetheless in the best interest of all. Please know, however, that you remain very much in our thoughts and prayers and we will continue to support your sons to the very best of our ability through SJBReach.

Finally, can I extend a personal note of congratulations to Aarush Pattar who has won a coveted King’s scholarship to Eton College. Aarush’s achievement has been considerable but all the more so, as it has been achieved alongside unquestionable and unstinting support for and engagement in the broader life of St John’s, whether that has been in the Chapel Choir, creative arts, the music department or the sports field and consequently is a fine example of what it means to be a boy at St John’s.

Can I wish you all a very happy half-term, when the time comes.

Giles Delaney

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