This is a picture of me on my first day at Prep School. You never forget what it feels like to be ‘new’. I was pretty nervous on that day, but also very excited. Coincidentally, thirty-five years later, I feel the same mixture of emotions.
It is strange to say it, but on that day in 1983, homesickness apart, I was exactly where I wanted to be. I loved sport and music and drama and reading and even work and I knew that the school that I’d arrived in would let me do all of those things. I later discovered that my school encouraged me to do many more things, like Art and debating and shooting and Latin and hill-walking; and I was encouraged to do them all to the best of my ability. And to top it off, I had great fun doing it. I sometimes say that my love of Prep Schools began at the age of seven. It’s true. And it’s still going strong today.
It is the breadth and variety that appealed then and appeals now. It is the sense of adventure. The fact that everything, in and out of the classroom, feels like an exciting discovery. For our children, there will be time to specialise later in life. For now we want them to have a go at as many things as possible. To help them to get better at things that they already do, and to encourage them to take on new challenges.
So these are my thoughts as a ‘new boy’ at Ashfold. I know that the nerves will disappear after five minutes; but the excitement, I am sure, will keep on going.