Headmaster's Weekly Blog

The Happiest Man Alive

Dear all,

In Monday’s assembly we heard about the extraordinary life of Matthieu Ricard, often referred to as the 'happiest man alive.' Here is a copy of the reading:

'Matthieu Ricard was born in France in 1946. His father was a renowned philosopher and his mother was a painter. He enjoyed a privileged early life amongst leading French intellectuals and initially chose a scientific career path, achieving a Ph.D. in molecular genetics at the prestigious Pasteur Institute. He chose a very different life shortly afterward, however, deciding to become a Buddhist and moving to the Himalayas, where he has now lived for 50 years in pursuit of a profound and sustained source of contentment.

He was labelled the ‘World’s Happiest Man’ after a University of Wisconsin neuroscience study that measured gamma waves, which are associated with happiness. The researchers found that his brain produced the highest levels ever reported.

He has written books and given many seminars on happiness, emphasising the importance of looking beyond material possessions and measuring success by external factors, and instead focusing on finding true happiness from within ourselves. 

One significant ingredient of happiness, according to Matthieu Ricard, is serving others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. He fully subscribes to the belief of Mahatma Gandhi that ‘the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’.

He also advises a balanced approach when it comes to the benefits of technology and our wellbeing, with sufficient time away from electronic devices in order to unplug, meditate, and connect with nature.

Finally, he also teaches the importance of cultivating inner values. Being kind, compassionate, and empathetic both improves our relationships with others and nurtures our inner happiness.'

Matthieu Ricard is firmly of the opinion that happiness - like most other things in life - is a skill that can be learned and developed by practising the techniques he has mastered, the chief of which is helping others. One of the best things about our House system is the range of good causes it supports which, as Monday’s reading suggests, helps those who take part as much as those to whom we offer support.

There are other books and organisations that claim to offer the means to improve our level of happiness and contentment. They include Project Bold Life, which identifies seven pillars for a successful and fulfilling life, one of which is giving back. You can read more about it here if you’d like to learn more.

Have a great weekend

Best wishes

Michael Bond

Important Notices

Considerate Parking

We continue to encourage parents to drop off and pick up away from the main school sites, to reduce congestion, but the School is in receipt of a number of complaints from local residents, especially those in Shenfield Crescent, concerning parents blocking access and obstructing traffic flow while waiting for children at the end of the school day.  Please be conscious about where you wait. In particular, parents are asked to be considerate of private residences, not to arrive too early, and to avoid obstructing traffic. Thank you to the vast majority of parents who park considerately.

Christmas Fair - 12th December 2023

Dear Parents,

Once again this year the Houses at Brentwood School are holding their traditional Christmas Fair, aiming to usher in the festive season and raise money for a local charity. Earlier last month, in order to select a charity to be supported through this event, the captain and vice captains of each House were required to pitch for their chosen local cause. South’s pitch was successful which means that all monies raised at the Fair will be donated to “Gold Geese”, an Essex-based charity which supports children with cancer. More information about the charity can be found here.          

As you may be aware, we employ a cashless system for fundraising events so card machines will be available at the Fair and pupils will be required to use bank cards in order to take part in the games, raffles and fun activities offered on each house stall.

The Fair will take place in the Tuck Shop on Tuesday 12th December between 12:55 and 1:55 and is open to all students in the Senior School. 

The House staff and I are greatly looking forward to this event and we thank you in advance for your support of the charitable efforts at Brentwood School.

Kind regards

Laetitia Dearmer-Decup and the House Team.

Religious Services

Chapel Services 2023-24

Throughout the year, there are regular Sunday Chapel Services which are open to all within the wider community of Brentwood School. Most of the services begin at 10am and are suitable for people of all ages.

The details of all our services for this academic year can be found in our Service Booklet which is attached. If you are planning to attend, I would appreciate a short email so that I can cater accordingly for those who come. I look forward to welcoming you to our Services.

Revd. Adrian McConnaughie

[email protected]

Muslim Prayer Space

Brentwood is an inclusive school with a Christian Foundation where students and staff of all faiths and none are nurtured.  As part of our commitment to this aim, we have recently established a Muslim prayer space throughout the week for our students to pray and a space each Friday for prayers which are led by one of our members of staff. This has proved to be beneficial for a number of our students to date.

If you would like your son or daughter to have access to this space for prayer at lunchtime then please contact me directly by email and I will pass their details to the staff members who will oversee the day-to-day supervision of these spaces. If you have any queries about this prayer space then do not hesitate to be in touch.

With every blessing and good wish

Revd. Adrian McConnaughie


[email protected]

Match Day Programme

Click here to view this Saturday's Match Day Programme. 

Learning Community Parent Events

Elevate Education: How To Help Your Child Alleviate Stress

Elevate Education is holding a series of webinars to help students become more effective learners and Brentwood School parents have exclusive access. 

Find out more about time management, effective preparation and gain practical strategies to help your child get - and stay - motivated while studying.

Event: How To Help Your Child Alleviate Stress – 12/12, 6pm-7pm

Please reserve your place here or contact Elevate directly: Call 01865 987 732, Email [email protected] or go to

Ultimate Activity Camps

In 2024, Ultimate Activity Camps will again be hosting their exciting Ultimate Survival Camps at Brentwood School during the Easter and Summer holidays. Don't miss their Ultimate Christmas Offer for significant savings, available until 3rd January. After that, please check their website for early booking discounts and special offers.

2024 Dates:


  • Easter –  Tuesday 2nd to Friday 12th April 2024
  • Summer – Monday 15th July to Friday 23rd August 2024


  • Summer - Monday 29th July - Friday 16th August

Ultimate Christmas Offer

Save £50/week off their standard weekly rate and £8/day off their standard daily rate.

This exclusive offer is available online. Simply visit to book your preferred dates, whether it's for a single day or an entire week. Plus, should you need to change your dates, you can do so free of charge up to 14 days before your camp's start date, subject to availability. For added convenience, they accept all childcare vouchers.

Don't forget to follow them on social media to stay up to date with their news and offers throughout the year.

Blog Archive

The Happiest Man Alive, Friday 8th December 2023

Less is more - the Bauhaus Movement, Friday 1st December 2023

The missing Chemists, Friday 24th November 2023

The Friendly Floatees, Friday 17th November 2023 

Skeuomorphism, Friday 10th November 2023

The art of letter-writing, Friday 20th October 2023

Razor and Rules (for life), Friday 13th October 2023

I know why the caged bird sings, Friday 6th October 2023

What's in a name?, Friday 29th September 2023

Healthy Competition, Friday 22nd September 2023

There's no such thing as multitasking (...says Daniel Levitin), Friday 15th September 2023

The Tortoise and the Hare, Friday 8th September 2023

Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues, Friday 7th July 2023

‘Regrets on parting with my old dressing gown’, Friday 30th June 2023

Climate Change Protestors, Heroes or Villians, Friday 23rd June 2023

Harald Blatan and the origin of Bluetooth Technology, Friday 16th June 2023

Success lies upstream - we never float there, Friday 9th June 2023

They Birth of Chess Queen, Friday 26th May 2023

They have no need for our help..., Friday 19th May 2023

The Psychology of Monarchy, Friday 12th May 2023

The Real-Life Tony Stark? David Aguilar Amphoux, Friday 5th May 2023

We can't all be pandas- The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, Friday 28th April 2023

'The things we take for granted, someone else is praying for' (Unknown), Friday 21st April 2023

The curious case of the QWERTY keyboard, Friday 31st March 2023

The Story of the 17 Camels and Three Sons, Friday 17th March 2023

The Law of Names, Friday 3rd March 2023

An avoidable disaster? The story of the Space Shuttle Challenger, Friday 10th March 2023

Why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, Friday 24th February 2023

It has to be Heniz - but why?, Friday 10th February 2023

'Behind the lens' - LGBTQ+ History month (February 2023), Friday 3rd February 2023

Dame Stephanie Shirley: A life well-lived, Friday 27th January 2023

Blue - or Brew - Monday?, Friday 20th January 2023

'One language sets you in a corridor for life; two languages open every door along the way' (Frank Smith, Canadian Psycholinguist), Friday 13th January 2023

The Spirit of Christmas, Friday 16th December 2022

Nikolaustag, Friday 9th December 2022

Making the impossible possible: The story of the Thai cave rescue, Friday 2nd December 2022

The Beautiful Game?, Friday 25th November 2022

The World's Nicest Prisons - madness or common sense?, Friday 18th November 2022

The tragedy of war, Friday 11th November 2022

The twins who saved South Africa, Friday 4th November 2022

The partially-filled coffee cup, Friday 14th October 2022

The Danger of a Single Story, Friday 7th October 2022

Socrates and 'The unexamined life', Friday 30th September 2022

An extraordinary occasion: saying goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II, Friday 23rd September 2022

Her Majesty, Friday 16th September 2022

Her Majesty, Friday 9th September 2022

The man (or woman) in the Arena, Friday 1st July 2022

'Form ever follows function', Friday 24th June 2022

Valuing others, Friday 17th June 2022

'Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common ...celebrate it every day' (Winston Churchill), Friday 10th June 2022

To speak another language it to posses another soul, Friday 27th May 2022

The Power of Forgiveness, Friday 20th May 2022

The Bystander Effect, Friday 13th May 2022

Food, glorious food..., Friday 6th May 2022

Winning or Losing - the two imposters, Friday 29th April 2022

Invest in our planet, Friday 22nd April 2022

A day for fools, Friday 1st April 2022

Standing up for the truth, Friday 25th March 2022

Heroes and Villains, Friday 18th March 2022

What is winning?, Friday 11th March 2022

The Romantic Movement, Friday 4th March 2022

Silent Spring, Friday 25th February 2022

Mary Anning Rocks, Friday 11th February 2022

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted (Aesop), Friday 4th February 2022

Finding hope where there seems to be none, Friday 28th January 2022

Exercise Rattlesnake, Friday 21st January 2022

The Importance of Small Steps, Friday 14th January 2022

The Story of the Two Wolves, Friday 7th January 2022

Brentwood Stories