Headmaster’s Newsletter – 21 June 2019

Following last week’s publication of the outstanding examination results achieved by the boys and girls leaving us at the end of this year and as we head into the final two weeks of term the school calendar is bursting with trips, concerts and special events throughout the school and, of course, plenty of rehearsals for Field Day. While all the rain has been good for the grass at the Duke of York’s Mr Hastings and the rest of the sports staff are very glad to see that the weather seems to have taken a belated turn towards summer.

Earlier this term we had two very successful courses in Glion with the girls in Upper Transitus. Amongst many different activities girls on the second course sang in the Sunday Morning service at the English Church in Territet and then prepared and served lunch to the congregation. Monsieur Walter Pfister, our chef in the chalet, is also the Crucifer at the church and a member of the regular choir.

The pupils in the Upper Sixth are well into their programme of events following Common Entrance. They have been to the Hogsmill Sewage Works to see how London’s water is cleaned and filtered before being put back into circulation. They have been Kayaking and rock climbing at the Canalside Centre and then the debating finals were held in the Scottish Church on Wednesday. On Thursday they had a workshop from the Bloodhound project, which is pushing the barriers of science to try and make a car that will achieve 1,000mph. Founders’ Hall was filled with fierce competition as the teams built their own mini rocket cars.

The boys in Lower Senior School have been to The Apple Store for coding workshops. They were asked to create some code and then “debug“ it. They were then tasked with making a “Sphero” navigate a maze by programming it with an iPad. This is linking with our school wide Lego coding programme.

The Lower Sixth have been on trips to Box Hill, the Greenwich Planetarium and Maritime Museum this week. There have been three music showcases, including a Swedish Festtag in honour of Midsummer. Last night the Drama Club gave us an evening of delights. The Brass Consort are in Glion this weekend for a number of concerts and next week our guitarists will be in Switzerland.

I would like to draw your attention to the talk that is taking place in Founders’ Hall on Monday at 6.15pm. I am very pleased that Dr Owen Bowden-Jones will be returning to speak on “How to talk to your children about drugs”. Dr Owen Bowden-Jones is one of the country’s leading authorities on the subject and parents who have been before have found it very informative. The talk is aimed primarily at parents with children preparing to move to their secondary schools in the next two years but is open to all parents. I commend it to you.

The final of the Annual Speech Competition will be in Founders’ Hall on Tuesday at 6.00pm. I am delighted that Emma McKendrick, Headmistress of Downe House school, has agreed to come and adjudicate this year’s competition. There are ten finalists who will be speaking on a broad and intriguing range of subjects. Do come and support our young orators. There may be a future Prime Minister among them!

Billings & Edmonds will be setting up their pop-up shop in Founders’ Hall on Saturday 29 June. They will be open between 10.30am and 2.00pm, selling all items of uniform including Field Day t-shirts.

With best wishes,

Richard Townend