21st January 2022

A word from Principal, Richard Settle

Principal Richard Settle, Weekly Word, Sancton Wood


“I’d like to flag that it was the UKs so-called ‘Blue Monday’ this week, it is claimed that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. It was named by a UK travel company in 2005, who claimed to have calculated the date using an “equation”. Their formula uses many factors, including weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since new year’s resolutions have been broken, low motivational levels, and the feeling of a need to take action.

Those of you keen on maths, science or any kind of logic will recognise that the issue here is that no units are defined; the lack of any explanation for what is meant by “weather” and “low motivational levels” means the resulting formula cannot be assessed or verified, rendering it totally meaningless. Unsurprisingly, many have dismissed Blue Monday as silly, baseless pseudo-science. Clearly, as we live through the cold, wet, dark and dismal January days, which just seem to be never-ending we can all suffer somewhat. Therefore, it is, most likely, an excellent time to advertise a lovely, sunny, summer holiday. Personally, I prefer to keep my associations with Blue Monday firmly rooted in the Hacienda nightclub circa 1988.

One other way of looking at it has been provided by The Samaritans who have a great idea; they want to turn the third Monday of January into something more positive: ‘Brew Monday’; encouraging people to make a cup of tea and have a chat with someone they care about. That could be face-to-face or equally, it would be as valuable on the phone or online.

The Samaritans believe that there is no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ – citing that ‘we all have our good days and our bad days, and those aren’t for the calendar to decide.’ They are keen to stop this myth about Monday being ‘blue’ and instead start a conversation over a brew! Encouraging people to ‘reach out and connect with family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.’

We were keen to echo this in school and I was delighted that our Head of Senior School, Mrs King took time out on Monday to speak to all year groups in the Seniors about the need to listen to each other and to value friendships and be kind and patient to all. In the Prep school the students have been reminded of our Friendship Bench, Worry Boxes and the need to be kind and considerate to their friends.

Generally, whilst it’s clear that things aren’t as bad in January 2022 as they seemed in January 2021, we aren’t out of the Covid woods yet and it would be understandable if people did feel that, at this time of year, there wasn’t a great deal to look forward to. We are feeling the effect of the full omicron effect and staff, pupil and student attendance continue to be impacted. Be reassured that we all soldier on in school and I would like to say thanks to the team here, they remain very positive and willing to support each other; certainly more ‘brew’ than ‘blue’ when it comes to Monday mornings.”

Richard Settle, Principal



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