In my first few weeks at the school a great many things have struck me and these first impressions are important.

The people at Wallingford School are brilliant. The dedication and commitment of the school’s staff to maximising the potential of each of every student resonate through everything the school does. And the students are fantastic: polite and enthusiastic, inquisitive and determined – they are wonderful ambassadors for both the school and their families.

These people make up the “Wallingford culture” which can be felt all around the place. At the heart of this is the school’s House system. Blackstone or Bigg, Matilda or Christie, each member of the school community keenly belongs to their House in the same way that they belong to Wallingford School. I have been warned to be careful to be seen to be absolutely neutral at all times and this reflects the fierce sense of pride and competition which run through and between the Houses. The Houses are also nurturing and supportive, focused on the group but also the needs of the individual and are literally geographical areas of the school where everyone has a place but also a sense of being part of something.

A sense of belonging is important. Students belong to Wallingford School but they also belong to their House and in years to come they will remember the school and will never forget their House. This is important and why the Houses are to be celebrated and cherished. They have certainly made a lasting impression upon me.

Blackstone House Bigg House

Matilda House Christie House