Headmaster's Blog: A time of hope and new beginnings

Front cover of Pocklington School Eco-Committee magazine, Go GreenPhoto: The front cover of the first issue of the GoGreen magazine

Christmas is coming and right on time, our new Chaplain, “Rev Bill”, has arrived. Bill comes to us having spent time in churches and communities across the country. He hasn’t always been a Chaplain. Indeed, for a time he worked as a forensic scientist and before that on ensuring the hulls of submarines were as stealthy as they could be. His first sermon was all about the coming of Jesus and how the Old Testament signals and prepares his way over thirty-nine chapters. To deliver his sermon, Bill made use of the pulpit (a rare event!) and imagined a cosmic conversation between God and Jesus and how Jesus’ arrival on earth would lead to new beginnings and sacrifice. His telling of the story touched on the themes of love, sacrifice and relationships but his overarching theme was that of hope.

Hope is in great supply at Pocklington this term. Our pastoral care structure of Tutors, Housemasters/mistresses, Heads of Division and other staff in charge of pupil welfare are focussed on ensuring pupils can draw on strategies and resilience to get them through times that, occasionally, appear “hopeless”. Our peer mentoring system, led entirely by students, is thriving and offers much hope for the future.  Staff are equally well equipped to deal with challenging situations as our fabulous “5 Ps” training, delivered by our two in-house clinical psychologists, demonstrated. The “5 Ps” model is a structured and practical method of conceptualising an individual’s mental health. When seeking to support a student, teachers at Pocklington will consider various factors that might affect mental health. These are:

  • predisposing factors (that contribute over a period of time)
  • precipitating factors (that trigger a response)
  • perpetuating factors (that maintain symptoms),
  • protective factors (that prevent or lessen distress)
  • presenting factors (that show obvious signs of symptoms).

Indeed, there are few words in the English language that can be more disheartening than “hopeless”. To find oneself in a hopeless situation or to be told that your efforts are hopeless can be destructive. Recent climate change news about the ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere was an example of this. It was therefore with great joy and deep satisfaction that I read our first “GoGreen” magazine, one of the many initiatives from our Eco Champions and their committee of students. Full of hopeful and clever ideas, it is available in digital format via https://www.gogreenmag.co.uk/

Its focus on sustainability at Christmas very much reflects the work of our Project Green student led body. They are helping our community understand the problems affecting our planet and offering ideas about how we can help solve some of these issues. This, in turn, will be one of our own strategic objectives and hopes for the future as we turn our attention to the next five years, and beyond, at the Pocklington School Foundation. Here’s wishing you a very merry and very hopeful Christmas.