The best days of your life...

I first listened to this in Year 11. The 5th Year, in old money...

'Oh what fun we had.'

I think I was then just about old enough as a student to reflect on the reasons why, in fact, those days were indeed so very special. I think I just about appreciated how brilliant school was. I began to realise how I was part of a community.

I think I'm now mature enough as a Head to reflect on what it is about school ethos and culture that creates that specialness.

You can't measure it.

You'd never want to.

But you do want to build it.

It's the passing comment with a student in Year 7, whose sister's now in in her third year at university.

'No. Never. Surely not!'

It's the ex-Sixth Form Art student that volunteers to paint a special picture for you.

It's about a 'feel'. Recognising and valuing the holistic experience of young people and their families as you work together with them over time.

I really think it does have something to do with time. The longer that you are in a community, the more you understand and appreciate what links it together. Relationships build and develop. Whilst never complacent, you begin to feel totally at ease within it.

Two events, bringing together past and the present, got me thinking this week.

On Wednesday we welcomed newest members of the school community, Year 7 students and their parents together for the first time for a simple Cheese and Wine Evening. Nothing sophisticated, but it was just lovely to see everyone mingling together and young people who, a month earlier, had never met before playing together spontaneously.

They really have already gelled, helped, undoubtedly, by the previous weekend's team-building activities at the Bushcraft Centre. And the goal-setting and values day with Paralympic Judo Gold Medallist Ian Rose on their very first morning...

Paralympic Judo Gold Medallist Ian Rose

Ian Rose with Year 7 Park House Students

And then on Saturday, I had the pleasure of showing around a group of former students who attended the school from 1982-87 as they gathered for a reunion.

They wanted to come back, as a community, to their community.

I know Park House gave them the best years of their lives.

I hope, and trust, that in 30 years time class of 2014 will be saying the same thing...