Head’s End of Term Blog

14th December 20

As I sat at my desk this week writing the end of term letter, I was reminded that this will also be my last blog of 2020 – a year which presented us all with the most unexpected challenges. Reflecting on this term, I was struck by the boy’s resilience, patience, kindness and impressed by their continuing hard work. They have maintained the customary Wetherby good humour in spite of bubbles and constraints in how we could all move around the School. I am also very proud of our wonderful teaching staff who have risen to the challenges they’ve faced while continuing to offer great clubs and activities for the boys.

There was much to enjoy at the end of term with the Sixth Form play, a topical monologue by David Hare about his own experience of contracting COVID-19,  the Christmas Concert, an excellent showcase of the music at the School (both are still available on YouTube) and finally the traditional Staff Panto, with the lucky Year 7 boys enjoying the live performance.

Both the boys and the PTA have been actively fundraising over the last few weeks and I greatly enjoyed the raffle draw live on Instagram yesterday afternoon.  In total the raffle raised an impressive £5,760, which when combined with the sale of wreaths and the pledged donations rises to £6,720.  When this is put alongside the very generous donations made directly to the Gold Standard Charitable Trust, the parents have raised in the region of £16,000 for the bursary fund. Thank you so much to those people that donated items for the raffle, bought tokens or made donations to the bursary fund.

The boys have also been fundraising by selling and wearing Christmas jumpers and this morning, the Christmas shoeboxes were delivered to West London Mission.  The taxi was so full it took Mr Underwood and his helpers 25 minutes to unload.  Again, thank you to all of you who have supported this very worthwhile cause.

After assembly today, I was pleased to meet a number of boys from various year groups who have all achieved 25 Gold Notes or more over the course of this term.  This is a real achievement as Gold Notes are often hard won, and I enjoyed talking to them about their work this term and the areas in which they had been awarded these notes. Another great example of the Wetherby spirit!

I hope that you all enjoy a restful Christmas break and wish you all the best for 2021.



Head’s Blog 04.12.2020

7th December 20

And so we stand on the cusp of the final week, which for many pupils is an exciting week as they look forward to the holidays and the different events that take place.  This time of the year is also when those boys who have applied to Oxford and Cambridge attend interviews.  As with everything else this year, it is all taking place online.  This year two boys have been “invited” to Oxford or Cambridge for Geography and Psychological & Behavioural Science.  I am also pleased that two boys who have applied for some of the most competitive and challenging courses, Veterinary Science and Medicine, have received invitations to interview at the Royal Veterinary College and the University of Glasgow respectively.  I wish them all luck over the next week and hope that others who have applied for Oxbridge and medicine will get good news shortly.
 
But for the rest of the boys, there is much for them to enjoy this week.  On Monday evening at 6.30pm, David Hare’s response to the pandemic, Beat the Devil, will premiere on the School’s YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/g2ja_E_0nTw).  The play, a monologue, has been divided between a number of Year 12 and 13 boys who rehearsed and filmed their sections apart from the others.  I have no doubt that the need to physically distance (I am trying not to use the phrase socially distanced any more, we are still a community) has removed some of the camaraderie that goes with putting on a play but I am grateful to the boys, Miss Twomey and Mr Tibbles, for all their hard work in pulling it together.  It is not the approach the Drama department would have liked to take, but the end result will be another example of the versatility of the School’s actors and directors.

On Tuesday evening, the Christmas concert will also be shown via our YouTube channel (link to follow).  Mr Martin and Mr Repa have spliced together performances by ensembles and individuals as well as a number of readings by Year 11 pupils.  It will be sad not to have the atmosphere of the Hinde Street Chapel but I hope that, nevertheless, it will start to get us all feeling a little bit more Christmassy.

On Thursday, we will have our Christmas lunch followed by the boys taking part in different charitable activities and the Staff panto, Rich Whittingdon, will also be recorded to share with the boys on Friday morning (no matter how much anyone might ask, it will not be on the YouTube channel!).

With best wishes for the weekend,

Seth


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