From The Head - Friday 15th December 2023

From The Head - Friday 15th December 2023

Julia Langford, Headteacher of The Ryleys School, a private school in Alderley Edge, Cheshire

The end of the term reached a spectacular conclusion last night with our annual Christmas Carol Concert. The children surpassed themselves with their beautiful performances and there was a wonderful warm, festive glow in the church. Quite how we will top this next year remains to be seen! My End Of Term Address from the concert is included below.

This term is always an exciting and busy one, and once again, an incredible amount of both work and fun has been packed in. Thank you to the staff team for their continued dedication and to you, the parents for all your contributions and support. Thank you also for all your generous and kind gifts - they are truly appreciated.

We now turn our attention to January and all that 2024 holds for us - there is certainly lots to look forward to and enjoy!

From The Ryleys School Team, we wish you all a very Happy Christmas with your loved ones and a marvellous New Year.

Julia Langford

End Of Term Address

"It is a pleasure and privilege to once again be here for our annual Christmas Carol Concert. This evening always feels like the proper start to the festive period and gets everyone into the Christmas spirit. Thank you, for all being here tonight to support this special occasion and to Reverend Pye for loaning us the use of this beautiful venue.

While the carol concert may be rooted in tradition, as the years have gone by, more modern elements have been added to reflect the world we live in and our wonderfully diverse setting, combining the old and the new, and providing something that has relevance or meaning for everybody in different ways.

I am certain that previous generations would never have imagined that Mariah Carey would feature and well done to the staff for being game enough to tackle that one! All the children and staff deserve full recognition and applause for once again providing such delightful performances, and for the time taken to learn carols and lines for readings, and countless rehearsals. All major events and productions take months of planning and fine tuning, and require every member of the school team to play a part in some way. Thank you to all of you - you were, as always, magnificent and we clearly have some shining stars in our midst.

Stars play a leading role at this time of year whether it be the human ones performing on the stage, the star on top of the tree, the ones glistening in the winter sky or the one above the manger. Stars are a sacred and spiritual symbol for many religions all over the world. For centuries, stars have had many different meanings for different cultures, and have been symbolic of divine guidance and protection.

What is very fascinating is that we are all made of stardust. Every atom in our body was made in a star. These atoms were created in the dying stage of an exploding star called a supernova. The elements were flung into space as dust and gas. Because we are made from matter from the Earth, we are made of stardust from old supernovas. So it turns out, we are all bits and pieces of star and cosmic dust.

Everything on Earth, living and non-living, is made of this stardust. Every atom of our DNA is stardust. Every atom in our skin, blood, and bones is stardust. Every atom of the oxygen we breathe is stardust. The basic components of everything within and around us were made in a star and we are deeply connected to all of it: a leaf on a tree, the stone under our feet, a raindrop, animals, plants, a crystal of ice on one of Saturn’s rings, even a piece of dust on the surface of a planet in a galaxy far, far away and everyone in this church and every human being across the globe are all connected in this way.

Yet though we are inextricably interconnected with one another and made of exactly the same matter, mankind continues to struggle to live in peace and harmony. Sadly, we live in turbulent times and it can feel that the human race is becoming increasingly disconnected and intolerant, instead of joining forces for the common good and showing support and compassion. While it may be impossible to change what happens outside of our own lives and community, as individuals we can make a conscious choice to have a positive impact on others with our own daily actions, behaviour and thoughts, and Christmas time and its associations with love, peace and harmony is a good place to start.

A star is a beacon of hope – a shining light that guides the way. It's a symbol of positivity, joy and renewal. Stars are magical and inspirational - who hasn’t looked up at a clear night sky with total awe and wonder?

We have the choice to embrace those qualities and be an inspirational, guiding light to others, and to shine as brightly as we can - after all, deep down, we are all stars in different ways and we have certainly witnessed lots of shining stars tonight - you make us very proud.

Thank you and a very merry Christmas to you all."