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Time for a break!

The summer term is often seen as quite chilled, once the public examinations are over.

There’s time to draw breath and enjoy the summer, especially in such glorious weather as we’ve been having.

Here in the counselling department, however, things are as busy as ever, if not more so. Boys who have been sitting on a problem for a long time can see the summer holidays looming and panic – how will they cope for seven long weeks? Or they flag up a problem, knowing they won’t have to actually address it for a few weeks, which makes it bearable. Or they are downright exhausted and everything that they were just about managing, suddenly seems too much.

I have seen a number of boys in the last few weeks complaining of a loss of motivation; a feeling that they can’t be bothered. These are usually boys who have taken public or Lower Sixth exams. They are worried that there is something wrong with them but the likelihood is that they just need a break!

We can easily overlook the fact that life at Warwick School is very demanding, especially for conscientious boys. Many boys travel long distances to school and do lots of sport and co-curricular activities. As the years go by and the homework mounts up, it can get to the point when there aren’t enough hours in the day for any real leisure and that’s often when boys start skimping on sleep. No human being wants to work for all the hours they are awake: everyone wants and needs some downtime. I’ve done it myself – you stay up late to do the stuff you really want to do, that you haven’t had time for – and gradually feel more and more out of sorts. I mourn the loss of a clear Sabbath which made sure the vast majority of us had a day off, once a week. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that our mental health has deteriorated in recent years.

You would not have chosen Warwick School if you didn’t have a profound belief in education. There is a temptation, however, to cram our children’s holidays with worthy, educational activities and to encourage them to carry on working, employing tutors, sending them on exchanges, or just encouraging them to ‘do a little work every day’.

Some boys WILL need to do some work over the summer. Boys who have not done as well as they expected to in the Lower Sixth exams may well need to do some more reading and study before September - but even they must have a really thorough break! Their brains are still developing and it’s vital that they get the rest they need – which is more than adults do.

This then, is a plea to make sure that your sons have a really good break, with heaps of fun and leisure and sleep – so their minds and bodies have the best chance to recuperate before September.
Thank you very much!

Meg Harper