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Welcome Back! I hope you have all had a wonderful first week at Cranford. There is always a special joy attached to the start of a new school year and it has been wonderful to see the smiles and excitement of pupils returning to school to catch up with friends and teachers and share in their hopes for a new year at school. We have all been tremendously impressed by the positive, enthusiastic start made by pupils across the school - their fervour for school life is infectious and I am sure it will continue all year!

A huge thank you to the very many families who have joined us in school this week for our two Welcome Evening events. As well as an important opportunity to share lots of practical information about this year at school, I hope these events have also provided an important forum for sharing and reiterating the core ethos that binds us together as a community at Cranford.

Assembly Today honouring the life of Queen Elizabeth II

This morning, we gathered for a whole school assembly to honour the life of Queen Elizabeth II, a moment of both sadness and a celebration of a truly remarkable individual and of a life well-lived. We reflected together on the values she represented in a reign stretching over seven decades and defined by humility, duty, service and generosity of spirit. I was reminded of her Christmas address in 2016 and shared her simple, but powerful message with the school:

“To be inspirational you don’t have to save lives or win medals....when people face a challenge they sometimes talk about taking a deep breath to find courage or strength. In fact the word, ‘inspire’ literally means to breath in. But even with the inspiration of others, its understandable that we sometimes think the worlds’ problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.”

This is a message that resonates very strongly with our school values, our focus on kindness and generosity of spirit, of thinking of others before ourselves and nurturing a strong sense of community. We talked about the message of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love,” and what this might mean for us in our community at school. It is a message that resonates with me and I think echoes rather perfectly our aspirations and aims for our community Cranford. This is a moment of national sadness but more than that it is a powerful beacon of hope and an opportunity for our young people to reflect on the values that bind us together.

In reflecting on the life of the Queen, I was reminded of the message shared by the school's founder, Miss Laurence, reflecting on the foundation of Cranford on her retirement, “Behind the History of Cranford lies an intangible atmosphere based on a deep concern for people, and the belief that everyone has a contribution to make to the world they live in.” As Head, this is something I believe most powerfully, we can all make a difference to our community, to each other and the communities beyond our school. We reflected as a school on how we can celebrate the achievements of the Queen by living each day according to our school values.

It has been a wonderful first week back, full of opportunity, hope and aspiration and I know that together with our pupils, my colleagues and with you as families we will make this best year yet at Cranford.

With best wishes for the weekend

Dr James Raymond