‘Concentration is the secret of strength.’ R W Emerson

Concentrate is a dirty word. Or so I reckon, having been trained to drink reconstituted orange juice from some sort of dried powder (yes, I was forcibly trained, as it was a skill). I won’t mention any product names. If you do not know what I am referring to, it is because either you are a lot younger than me or had a more privileged upbringing. Google ‘dried orange concentrate 1970s’ if you do not believe me. There were some great adverts pushing a dubious product. Even now, you can peel between freshly-squeezed juices on supermarket shelves and those which claim to be ‘not from concentrate’.

So do I have your attention now? Do I? Concentrate! This half term as we are replete with sunny boys all ready to learn, we will be talking to them about concentration, or its more gentle bedfellow ‘focus’. It is actually a very special concept: the ability to focus one’s attention on something. Rather than simply write in school reports; ‘he needs to focus more’ we have decided to teach the boys how to do it.

I am confident we will have the full support of parents who, if you are anything like me, are keen to reduce the fragmentation of our lives as well as those of our children caused by a multitude of modern distractions and the pervasive 24-hour streaming ‘bad news’. The benefits to some of working from home will no doubt be offset by interruptions of another kind, even if it is only your pet cat landing on your keyboard, albeit that your children are back to school at least! Of course, some parents have long boasted of their ability to multi-task but there is no replacement, I believe, for devoting quality time to one thing or one person. Such is an obvious benefit of mindfulness. Pause… breathe… focus.

It is truly tremendous to see all of the boys here again and to welcome new families to Rokeby School. Thank you for cooperating so readily with the ‘new normal’ and bearing with some initial hiccups here and there. We look forward to a happy and successful term with the boys, Covid notwithstanding.

J. Peck – Headmaster