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I’m conscious that, by the time I write my next blog, offer letters for 11+ will be winging their way from schools across north London, and most minds will be turning to choices. Open mornings will allow parents and carers to refresh their understanding of the inner workings of the schools they had visited so many months before, and schools will be shifting from big picture vision pitch to granular detail. At the same time, by the same post, a second tranche of letters will be going out bringing post-interview bad news. And, all the while, families are discussing the choices – endless chatter face-to-face, endless chatter online, and the best one can say about the process is that it makes a break from Brexit!

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I haven’t yet read Engines of Privilege: Britain’s Private School Problem by David Kynaston and Francis Green (it comes out in February), but I was diverted by Kynaston’s article about his book in The Guardian: he (and his book) come across as measured and thoughtful, and he invites genuine dialogue which steers clear of grandstanding. While he levels some criticism at grammar schools, he is most concerned by the effect of private schools, such as Highgate, on social mobility.

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, you will normally see me jogging up St Michael’s School path to make it into school in time for our 8.15 staff briefing, regretting the extra slice of toast or longer ruminating over the newspaper which has made me late. I encourage colleagues to meet face-to-face at least twice a week, and not only to cut back on the number of emails we send each other. One way we make the interruption to the early risers’ working morning more agreeable is to hold exhibitions in our staff common room, to which teachers and support staff contribute: holiday snaps, for example, or, as with last week, a competition to match up names with photos of teachers as toddlers.

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In the febrile political climate which is gripping the UK, Highgate’s Music Department is exploring ‘Rebels, Romantics and Revolutionaries’ of the musical world in its Michaelmas concert this week (Thursday 29/11, 7pm, Junior School Hall), and catching early sight of the programme, I wondered what our aspirant instrumentalists made of their musical preoccupations: after all, to attend rehearsals, they forego the pleasures of a Dining Hall lunch and hang on after school has long since ended for everyone else. So I made my way to the Tuck Shop to put some questions and, having swallowed a very toothsome macaroni cheese, interrogated my unsuspecting blog victims.

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You may have spotted the haunting silhouettes of infantrymen around our Senior School: as part of the nation’s commemoration of the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, the Royal British Legion has encouraged businesses, local authorities and individuals to display silhouettes as a reminder of the sacrifices made during the First World War. Thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of Highgate School (a charity set up in 1947 to provide support for bereaved families, to assist families in hardship and to support education more widely at Highgate School), we were able to buy several of these poignant silhouette statues as part of our acts of remembrance.

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