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From the Head's Desk - January

A regular feature of our blog are some of the topics which Mr Paget-Tomlinson shares in his regular assemblies. Here he reminds pupils of the importance of listening to those who want to help you.

As many of you will be aware I have a dog called Arthur. Arthur is extremely keen on many things, so much so that he is easily distracted from what he is doing by many sights, smells and sounds. This is normally not a problem but with all the very exciting stimuli the countryside at Leweston has to offer, I frequently find myself bellowing his name across our neighbour's fields to little or no avail.

Last weekend I was taking him for a walk when he disappeared to investigate some pheasants who had unwittingly trespassed on the fields adjacent to Lillington. As he was out of sight I began to shout his name in the direction of a hedge, where I assumed he was lurking. As his absence became more and more prolonged my cries became interspersed with some more colourful language and ended in my shouting at the top of my voice in the direction of this hedge.

On the final and, I fully admit excessive scream, a man appeared from behind the hedge and said "Whilst I am not called Arthur, I am happy to answer you if it allows me to watch the birds in peace". Mortified with embarrassment I apologised and, at that precise moment, the aforementioned, and accurately named, four footed denizen of the netherworld appeared from a completely different bush as if nothing had happened with a total lack of understanding that my shrieks were an indication of my concern for his welfare. 

That same week the reading in Mass was the story of Samuel, a young man who kept being woken up by someone calling his name. He thought it was his master Eli, but after several occurrences Eli realises it's God calling Samuel not him. With this knowledge Samuel answers and from then on listens to God.

Both stories highlight the fact that we don't always listen when someone is trying to get our attention for our own good. 

In school, as in life, there are plenty of people who will be calling out your name, sometimes for good things, sometimes to correct behaviour, sometimes to remind you of what you should be doing. By using our name we know the message is for us, as individuals, and not just one of hundreds in our school setting. 

I want to stress to all of you that if your teacher or a member of staff is calling you by name, they want you to do something, and it will always be with the aim of making you better, faster, healthier and more capable than you were before. Listen to what they tell you, there is always a point and no amount of modern technology and global connectivity can change the simple conversation between you and someone who wants to help, even if you don’t agree with them at the time.

Many of you will have just completed your mock examinations. Mocks are one small part of your overall education. They are a way of practising being in an examination space with all the rules and regulations that may bring but, more importantly, they are there for you to learn from. Do not, if you do well, think that is it, I need do nothing more. It would be idiotic in a marathon to stop just before the end because you appear to be winning. More importantly, if you have not done as well as you hoped, then take a leaf out of Samuel's book and listen to those giving you advice. Learn, adapt and change. Think carefully about how you worked, how you revised and how you understood the questions, right or wrong. Most importantly, do not ignore the voice calling you to be better than you are, do not think that it is someone else's job to get you the grades you want or need. It is down to you to answer for your own future.