Mention ‘meetings’ to many people and they will sigh, groan or comment that meetings are a waste of time and that they wish they didn’t have to attend them. But every human encounter we have is effectively a meeting.

Looking up a definition of the word clarified this for me - the sigh response probably relates to “an assembly of people for a particular purpose, especially for formal discussion”. Many of the accompanying pictures showed men in suits around a board table looking at a screen. Perhaps these are the meetings that elicit the groans. Whereas meeting meaning “a situation when two or more people meet, by chance or arrangement”, sounds much more appealing.

I was reflecting this week on the importance of meetings, recalling that seeing fellow human beings face-to-face is quite a different experience from ‘meeting’ them on a screen. Many of us found during COVID that although we could use Zoom or Teams to communicate, to teach, to stay in touch with people, it just wasn’t the same. Yes - it was an essential way of doing these things when it wasn’t possible to meet up, but it felt different and many of us were relieved when we were once again able to meet in person.

In my job, I have many meetings with many people. I hope no adults reading this will take it personally when I disclose that the ones involving Carmel students are often my favourites. For example, I enjoy hearing about the Bar and Bat Mitzvah experiences of the Year 6 and 7 students, listening to accounts of which relatives flew in from over east or overseas, which Parsha reading was practised and (inevitably) what amazing feast was prepared. Some of the details provided occasionally require editing to ensure that no family issues are aired unnecessarily, but it’s always great fun to hear about which part of the celebration was clearly most important to the boy or girl involved.

My favourite meetings this week were when Mr Shadgett and I met with the 2023 scholarship winners to check up on how they are finding Year 7. It really is gratifying to hear of their progress, of what they are enjoying and whether there are any areas in which they think they could improve. I was impressed by their ability to self-reflect and to suggest ways in which they could enhance their own performance – a useful skill to already be developing at that age.

I also enjoyed a lunchtime meeting this week with a group of students who have arrived in Year 7 new to Carmel School. I wanted to hear about how they have settled in and the differences between Carmel School and their previous primary school. It was lovely to hear the range of subjects that different students listed as their ‘best’ ones (happily no learning area was left out!) and to listen to the students themselves describing all the new subjects and opportunities that they are enjoying at the School.

Parents will this week have received an invitation to a meeting with Glen Gerreyn, who has been invited to speak at Carmel School on Monday April 3rd. This is a significant event for both students and parents and results from this year’s strategic focus on wellbeing.

Glen is renowned as an excellent speaker on the independent school circuit and is presenting to our senior students during the school day, then to parents from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Glen’s message is of hope, resilience and motivation. He has a remarkable effect on the students to whom he speaks and schools who book his services ask him to return year after year.

You can read more about him and his institute here (the spelling of hopefull is to emphasise ‘full of hope’ – it isn’t a typographical error!): and

Other interested adults in the community would be welcome to attend the parent seminar and should make contact with Lorraine Regan if they would like to book a seat. Glen’s presentation will be relevant to both High School and Primary School parents and I urge you to attend if you possibly can. I predict it will be a meeting well worth your time.


Shabbat shalom.


Julie Harris