As I head into the Carol Service…

…I wonder where has the term gone?  It seems like only yesterday that we were worried about ‘our new shoes’.

Pupils and staff that joined at the start of term have settled in very well and it feels as if they have always been part of the FSM family. 

I am staggered by the children’s achievements this term; on the Games field, in the Music Department, on stage as well as in the classroom.  Significant contributions from children of all ages and abilities and, judging by the end of term reports, a tremendous amount of hard work and effort.

I have enjoyed all of the events this term including the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (which was a great success), the poignancy of the Remembrance Service (always special) and, more recently, the Pre-Prep Nativity and FOSM Night!  The Year 8 Sketch this year was simply sublime and will remain with me for many years to come.

My thanks, as ever, go to all the staff here at FSM – both teaching and support – who always give of their best to enable your marvellous children to make the best of all the opportunities on offer.

I wish you and your families a very peaceful, happy Christmas and a  prosperous New Year.

Mr Hartley


Back to school

How were your holidays?  I hope you all had a marvellous time – I certainly did.  A chance to recharge the batteries and reflect on the last academic year.  However in the last couple of weeks I have been in “back to school” mode.  In our first assembly of the year this morning I asked the children about their “back to school” preparations; new uniform, new haircut but the most prominent answer was new shoes. This was an excellent answer as it led me on very nicely to an analogy about new shoes and starting something new written by The Revd Alan M Barker.

We thought about new shoes for a while – how do they make us feel? Shiny, new shoes can make us feel very proud; we’ve grown up!  On the other hand they can feel a bit strange, perhaps a little uncomfortable until we break them in a bit and we may long for our old shoes back as they were comfy and familiar (even if they were a bit smelly!) 

Going back to school can make us feel a bit like this; a little uncomfortable, nervous maybe, about what the new school year may have in store and maybe a yearning to be back in the year below, or our old school, where everything was comfy and familiar.  As I said to the children, “you may wonder if you will ever fit into your new class but that feeling will soon pass; don’t forget, your old shoes used to feel a bit strange to begin with but very soon became so comfy that you forgot all about them.”

Of course, it’s not just the children that may feel nervous, but our new staff as well!  Before too long, however, it won’t be new anymore, just normal…as normal as life at FSM can be!

Mr Hartley

(“New Shoes” by The Revd Alan M Barker)

Welcome to FSM School

Forres Sandle Manor is an independent school in the New Forest, Hampshire, where we welcome boys and girls from rising 3 to 13.  From Year 3 we also welcome children as boarders.

You may find some blog entries on here from our Head, Mark Hartley, commenting on educational issues of the day, however you are more likely to find up to the minute info on one of our other blogs that we are currently setting up; The Boarding Buzz, Music Notes or Sports News.  So why not head over to one of those and see what we are up to.  Or visit our website for the latest news and information.