Headmaster’s Blog 12.03.21

There has been such a positive atmosphere in the School this week and we have enjoyed welcoming the boys and staff back.  The good humour of the boys as we settle back in has almost erased the memory of the last few weeks of lockdown.  A particular mention goes to the Year 11 and 13 who have returned to assessments to help build the evidence we need for the summer.  There have been many comments about the professional and serious way they have approached them and I am very impressed by their positive response to the unusual circumstances.  All in all, it is good to be back.

Of course, whilst in almost every way the School has settled back to normal this week, we have continued to test in the new location of the drama studio.  The boys have become old hands at it and it has continued to work smoothly.  This is in no small part down to the squad of parent volunteers who have processed swabs and recorded results with enthusiasm.  I am so grateful to them all for giving up their time to help with this.  It has given the staff the chance to focus on settling the boys and delivering the lessons which is so important after their time away.  Thank you all – not every Head and school are so fortunate.

In spite of the challenges of finishing their school career in such unusual circumstances I am pleased that the UCAS offers continue to come in.  Since we returned Year 13 pupils have received offers from Bath, UCL, Durham and Queen Mary, including the second medicine offer in the School’s history.  That the boys are picking up offers from such competitive institutions in such a challenging year is a testament to them.

We have marked International Woman’s Day in assembly today.  In recent weeks Year 10 and 11 have had workshops from Beyond Equality (formerly known as The Great Men Initiative) and several boys from those year groups chose young female role models whom they admire and presented about them to the School.  Before the end of term, the boys will have a talk from a positive male role model, Willem Marx, a foreign correspondent for NBC News, as part of the Great Men Lecture Series that was cut off after one session by the pandemic.   Actively challenging bias and stereotypes will be something I return to as we have recently received the results of the survey the School carried out to reveal the community’s understanding of the issues that surround race. The survey results underscore the strength and understanding that has grown in our multi-cultural community and has identified ways in which we can help boys respond to racism when they encounter it and understand the nuances of this important topic.

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