Looking ahead to next Monday, it’s marked on the world’s calendar as the International Day of Happiness. Whilst too many marked occasions can lose their meaning, they are still timely reminders for us and they do usually have an interesting history associated with them which gives them meaning.
The International Day of Happiness was introduced by the General Assembly of the United Nations during 2012 and was celebrated for the first time in 2013. Through seminars and educational tips and tools, the aim is to educate and increase public awareness of the benefits of happiness.
The original idea came from the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayan region of Asia. There, the population is thought by many to be among the happiest in the world due to the holistic approach to life and the amount of importance which is placed on the wellbeing of people and communities, as much as material wealth.
For everyone, the day is a useful reminder that in general happiness does not necessarily come from buying and consuming, or from being famous or glamorous – but often from friends, family and emotional wellbeing. We see the levels of happiness among the student population each day, there are not many occasions when entering the dining hall at break time or lunchtime when you don’t hear the sound of students engaging with each other meaningfully and enjoying mutual company – laughter is often a feature too.
Seeing the students in their final stages of rehearsal in preparation for next week’s production of ‘BISS Puxi’s West Side Story’ was wonderful – they have clearly been on a journey together and emotions were running high – but there was an overriding sense of togetherness and joy in what they were producing. This is what will make it a success and in a few weeks’ time, those students involved will reflect upon a shared experience that they’ll remember well into adulthood. I very much hope that you are able to support the students by coming along to watch the show.
These types of shared experiences, where students support each other as they face a challenge together, are found in many different aspects of school life, and their wellbeing and happiness is central to their success in these ventures. Our FOBISIA team returned from Jakarta at the weekend having achieved real success and a wealth of medals: together, as a team. They’d spent hours and hours preparing with each other and through the support of coaches and parents alike. Building team spirit and ensuring their levels of wellbeing remained balanced was achieved through team talks, breakfasts together following early morning training and of course the right amount of sleep. Well done to all of the students who took part.
Finally, a thought for our senior students as they are immersed in the shared experience of preparing for their exams. We know that we set challenging academic targets for our students to be the best that they can be. One of our three promises is Academic Achievement and we want our students to be ambitious. Our well-being programme and our pastoral system are there to support and encourage our students so that they can develop resilience when faced with exam pressures and coursework deadlines. As we move ever closer to exams for Year 11 and Year 13 students we must all continue to support, encourage and engage with them, both at school and at home.
Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary