Defining moments?

I don't know if you've been watching Celebrity MasterChef recently?

Danny Crates MasterChef

For me, the star of Round 1 was Parlympian Danny Crates. He may have gone out, but his Cod with Chorizo en papiot at least looked delicious on the telly!

I confess I'm biased.

Danny is a great friend of Park House. One of the greatest in fact. He's spoken inspirationally at two Prize Givings and, prior to London 2012, worked alongside our students to produce a brilliant 'Living the Values' Documentary.

Danny Crates Park House School Prize Giving
Danny Crates Park House School Prize Giving
Danny Crates Living the Values
Danny Crates Living the Values
Danny Crates

This has gone onto shape much of our approach to personal development through an Olympic and Paralympic Values-themed Tutorial Programme.

Two years ago, I was privileged to be asked to review Danny's Autobiography for Athletics Weekly...

Danny Boy Book Cover

In it, he describes his life's defining moment. The moment when, as a promising County standard rugby player he lost his right arm in car crash at the age of 19 whilst travelling in Australia.

Rather than allowing that moment to define him negatively, Danny was determined to move forward from it and channel his energy and spirit into becoming the greatest Paralympic athlete in the world.

He succeeded. The only athlete to be simultaneously a Paralympic and World Champion, and World Record-holder. No wonder given this unprecedented dominance over 800m, he given the honour of being Team GB's Flag-bearer at Beijing in 2008...

Danny Crates flag bearer 

Seeing Danny again on TV, and preparing my end of term assemblies, has led to my own reflections on Defining Moments - both of this year at Park House, and more generally in 'circle of school life'.


The last three weeks has seen two of them.

Our Year 11 and Year 13 Proms. A celebration of the end of the journey.



New Year 7 Induction. First steps. A new beginning...

Year 7 induction 

The of start of secondary school is I suppose one of those 'defining moments' which unite us all in what is both a collective but also uniquely individual memory.

The new Department for Education term for it is 'secondary readiness'. I seem to recall beginning to feel suitably 'secondary ready' in about 1975! A sense that something new and exciting lay ahead. And a certain wistfulness about what had gone before.

Odd and apparently random things bring back those memories now...


A completely incongruous mix of songs...


And my first 'proper' pair of football boots, with screw in studs...

Adidas Beckenbauer Super.

Adidas Football Boots

They were a birthday treat bought with money from my Nana and Grandad. And  I'm forever grateful to my Mum for traipsing all the way around London on a sweltering day in August to finally find a pair in size 4 at Lilywhites in Piccadilly Circus...

Defining moments.

So, as write this last blog of the academic year, I'm simultaneously trying to choose my final assembly moments; moments that capture another amazing year at Park House, made all the more special by the incredible young people I'm privileged to meet on a daily basis.

I'm failing. Gloriously.

Follow the link to the latest edition of Personal Best, and you'll quickly understand why...

Personal Best - Issue 32

No one defining moment.

Just hundreds of magical memories that together continue to shape us as a learning community...