This Old House...
Lancing College Prep at Worthing is housed in an old Georgian manor house. I first stood in front of the beautiful façade, with its wisteria in full bloom, in June 1997, having been invited for interview for the post of ‘Head of French, the ability to teach boys games an advantage’. I was entirely qualified for the former and woefully inadequate for the latter. Fortunately, the former carried more weight and I became part of the, then Broadwater Manor, community. In the intervening years it has become of my daily world, acutely familiar, somewhere I belong.
In these days of uncertainty there is a certain comfort in the familiar and in routine. During the school closure I have continued to work on site at school and maintained my everyday routine of arriving at school and entering the manor house via the main front door. It is something I have today calculated I have done almost 4,000 times over the 23 years I have worked here. The familiarity of passing through this doorway to the hall within is tangible, but the hall itself has never been so quiet at 8am. The very stillness and lack of activity to distract me, coupled with the knowledge that, in a matter of weeks, I will retire and I shall walk through the front door for the last time as a member of this community, have recently caused me to pause a while on arrival and look around; noticing the photos of current pupils on display in the poster-sized frames on the walls has, perhaps inevitably, led to a wave of nostalgia and a flood of memories.
So much has changed in nearly a quarter of a century but the foundations and the values are the same. Our current school rules are ‘Love Learning, Be Kind and Go out into the World and do Good’. These only officially became the rules in 2014 when we joined the Lancing College family of schools and welcomed Heather Beeby as Head... but these values have always been present, evident, yet an unspoken identity and at the heart of all that has happened in the school in my time here. My recent recollections have brought to mind so many children who genuinely loved to learn and delve deeper into topics which caught their interest; we have always had children who showed generosity of spirit to each other and who cared about and respected their peers; the myriad of sponsored events and charity donations, the sharing of talents within and outside our community and the desire to make a difference to the environment have always been present.
Broadwater Manor’s motto was ‘per aquam latam ad litus altius’, which translates as ‘through the broad water to the further shore’. It has been a joy to see thousands of children journey through our school and move on to senior schools, confident, engaged, personable young adults ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead. A school which values a passion for learning, kindness to each other and wanting to make a difference will build the best foundation for this move to further shores.
And I have seen how those whose ‘further shores’ don’t take them far geographically are returning with their own children to ensure the next generation experience these familiar values too. This school breeds loyalty, a yearning for the familiar and a sense of belonging. And so, the cycle continues.
In these days of uncertainty there is a certain comfort in the familiar and in routine. When schools reopen fully and what is being called ‘the new normal’ begins, I know that the familiarity and routine of walking back through the gates of Lancing College Prep at Worthing will be of great comfort to the whole community.