During the challenges of 2020, the charming fable of ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ by Charlie Mackesy has been one of my go to reads when my soul needs a little lifting. Its wonderful artwork and words provide an insight into the human heart and, as I have dipped in and out of it, I have time and again found something relevant to ease my own human heart. Now more than ever, we are aware of the importance of the attitudes of kindness, tolerance and compassion. At our school, this means that not only do we strive to be compassionate as individuals but that we also understand the importance of working together to create a compassionate culture.

During November, we will work within our assemblies to consider the importance of compassion and the different ways in which you might develop and demonstrate this. We want our pupils to understand the value of empathy and how this might enable them to react with the appropriate level of emotion to someone else’s feelings. In turn, by becoming more in tune with the needs of others, we hope to inspire our pupils to make positive contributions to their immediate and wider society. For example, our younger pupils will be invited to fill a shoebox with gifts to support the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child project, whilst our older pupils will consider how they can support the mental health and wellbeing of themselves and others, through their nominated charity of the year, Mind.

As well as the fundamental goodness that arises from being kind, we hope to promote in our pupils an understanding that compassion is a great strength. Compassion allows us to better understand others, and to be inspired to care for one another and our planet. As the Dali Lama said,

‘When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just ourselves or some immediate convenience.’

We often describe ourselves as a happy school and, promoting as it does a collegial approach amongst our staff and pupils alike, compassion is at the very heart of the special and supportive culture that exists here. As we all grapple with the changes that this year has brought, I am proud that, like Charlie Mackesy’s Boy, our pupils hold amongst their wishes for what they might be when they grow up the core value of kindness. If this year has shown us anything, it is the value of community, made all the more rewarding by the way in which we care for one another.

Mrs Helen Hutton-Attenborough
Head of Preparatory School