We end the week amid a party-like atmosphere, the school bedecked with bunting, Union flags and the splendid sight of our students and colleagues proudly sporting outfits of red, white and blue. Our Junior School assembly this afternoon focused on the symbolic events that represent the crowning of a new monarch in Westminster Abbey tomorrow – the meaning behind anointing our King, receiving the Sovereign’s Orb, coronation ring and sceptre, being crowned with the majestic St Edward’s crown and being blessed through the ceremony. Our students and staff singing the national anthem evoked feelings of patriotism amongst us all, reminding us of the glory and richness of our shared heritage. Charles will sit on the same throne that King Henry VIII, King Charles I, Queen Victoria and the late Queen Elizabeth II were all crowned on. 

Such traditions in our history anchor us to the values of unity and freedom that our country represents. Yet it has been purported that we should expect a scaled back ceremony, lasting less than 90 minutes, with a congregation of 2,000, compared to 8,000 at Elizabeth II’s. It is likely to be less formal, with morning dress replacing robes for many attendees. There will be more young people, and much more diversity, with different faiths represented; women bishops are also likely to play a role. Charles’ official accession to the throne is an important symbolic moment in his reign and for our country – with an important nod to radically changed times. 

And as we wake up to the additional bank holiday to mark the coronation, we are encouraged to spend the day taking part in The Big Help Out – volunteering or doing something to support our local area. So whilst the pomp and ceremony is exactly what we need as a nation facing straitened times, and whether you are a Royalist at heart or not, our connection with each other and the impact we can have on improving life experiences is being given the rightful emphasis it deserves, as we mark this significant milestone in our history.

The week was lifted by further celebration upon receipt of the news that our Junior School has been shortlisted as Independent Prep School of the Year in the Tes Schools Awards 2023 – the ‘Oscars’ of the education world. These awards cover all school sectors and age ranges, recognising the very best across the UK. Our nomination acknowledges the rich tapestry of wide-ranging heritages from the diverse cultural backgrounds of our student community. We have been commended for making a meaningful difference through The Abbey’s educational experience, founded on a desire for students to be ‘world-ready’ – no matter their country of origin or indeed their aspirations. The judges endorsed our commitment to offering a unique Early Years and Primary education based upon our Human Intelligence curriculum – nurturing students to be caring, reflective, open minded, balanced, knowledgeable citizens of the world. We have championed our success being measured through how outward-looking our students are – this is so much more relevant to today’s world than academic outcomes alone. We are applauded for how we track personal development outcomes based upon mutual respect and a deep desire to develop international mindedness – how principled are we in our thinking and communicating, how willingly do we take measured risks and how authentic is our inquiry for learning? The professionalism and high standard of the judges and their process has established these awards as a well-respected achievement for any school chosen as a finalist winner. The recognition through this nomination has brought big smiles and we share this honour with every member of our community – teachers, non-teaching support colleagues, students, parents and Governors alike. And so, in the words of one of our favourite hymns which raised the roof in our Celebration Assembly on Wednesday: Jubilate deo!

May the long weekend bring you joy in whichever way you choose to celebrate this fabulous week.

Nisha Kaura, Head of The Abbey Junior School