Festival season in Brighton brings with it many delights but, for me, there are two key benefits: I don’t have to look far for weekend entertainment for my son; and I don’t have to look far for an apt metaphor for my blog. 

Nestling currently in the Pavilion Gardens is something that fulfils both needs. If you haven’t experienced it already, go and check out the installation, 100 Miles of String. Created by Leap Then Look, this interactive artwork allows audiences to “weave, wind and criss-cross” lengths of string, “creating complex patterns and dense webs” that will transform the space into an “exciting, playful environment”. The idea is that the artwork will change and grow over the course of the Festival. My son was drawn in immediately, engrossed in tying knots, desperate to get his hands on a spool so that he could add to the labyrinthine structure emerging.  Others enjoyed crawling commando-style underneath the lines of string. As a piece of community artwork, this is excellent. Stumbling upon it, as I did, at the end of the Children’s Parade, an event we are proud to be a part of and proud to sponsor every year, naturally made me reflect on the connections we weave, on the networks we create and how these networks transform our lives. 

This notion set us up nicely for the week ahead. It’s been another memorable one at Brighton Girls as we bade adieu to Year 11 and Year 13 and marked their last days of formal lessons. Both occasions were joyful: there was the obligatory signing of shirts for Year 11, and an afternoon tea at The Grand for Year 11.  Ahead, our GCSE and A Level students face a gruelling schedule of examinations, but this week they have exuded calmness and confidence. There was a sense of sadness in the air, but the abiding feeling was one of readiness and resolve. Why? 

Firstly, it is due to the (not unpleasant) change of rhythm that comes with exam season; there is a certain satisfaction to be found in ticking the exams off one by one. Secondly, as many students told me this week: they are feeling well prepared, and ready to get going, the result no doubt of their own hard work but also the guidance and support given by their teachers. 

Finally, and most importantly, their calmness was created (wait for it) by the rich mesh of friendships, memories and connections that they are taking with them. They are heading into their exams supported by one huge safety net that they have been building gradually over time and that will bind them together for evermore.