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Headmaster's Blog - Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer

The Christmas holidays are upon us at last and we can all kick-back and enjoy everything the season brings. I love Christmas; the food, family and fun, and I throw myself into it every year. Listening to the students around school, it appears that topping the most-wanted list of gifts this year is a Go Pro. Let's hope Santa looks on them kindly!

Of course, I am acutely aware that for many in our community, Christmas can be hard. Though Oxfordshire does not have the worst socio-economic challenges in the country, it is not without its issues, and these are brought sharply into focus over the holiday season. According to the latest official statistics on rough sleeping and homelessness, collected by the Department for Communities and Local Government, there are over 20 rough sleepers in Cherwell alone – growing steadily from 2011 when there were none. Over the past term, Bloxham students have been volunteering with the Banbury Young Homeless Project, a charity which supports young homeless people on the pathway to independence. Bloxham students are trying to raise money for the charity, selling Christmas cards featuring photos of scenes taken around school. Their involvement has been a challenging but important experience, opening their eyes to the issues faced by others in their community, teaching them not to judge people by their circumstance and guiding them to appreciate all that they have themselves.

As a Christian foundation school, we value charity, compassion and community service. We endeavour to instil in our students a sense of responsibility towards those less fortunate, so that when they leave us, they go on to be a force for the good in the world.
I am incredibly pleased by how much our service programme has developed this school year. Along with BYHP, we are also forming good relationships with the Banbury Food Bank and Green Pastures Care Home, whom students visit each week. In the run-up to Christmas, these visits have taken on a distinctly festive air. The students volunteering at Green Pastures have shared a lot of fun with the elderly residents in recent weeks, making Christmas cards and helping to decorate the home's tree. Meanwhile, our Food Bank group have been busy preparing Christmas food parcels, having spent the first half of term collecting donations from around school and packaging them up for the holiday-time.

Christmas is a special time of year, filled with celebration and hope for the future. I hope that by participating in these projects Bloxham students can, in some small part, help to take that message to the community.
However you are spending Christmas, I hope you enjoy it.