Headmaster’s Newsletter – 28 February 2020

Dear Parents,

This week Founders’ Hall has resounded to flutes, oboes, bassoons, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, euphoniums and massed cellos over four evenings of Showcases with over 120 performers taking part.

The importance of our showcases is that every pupil has a chance to perform, whether a quite early beginner or one of our wonderful advanced pupils.  The joy of music is to play to other people and here it is not only the parents who come to listen but the other pupils listening to their friends performing for pleasure, and perhaps discovering a piece they would like to try for themselves, which is so important. The regular class concerts during class music lessons add to this richness of experience.  Even more impressive are the wide range of ensembles where the shared experience of concentrating to perfect a performance, in which the input of every member of the team is vital to the success of the endeavour, is a skill which will be useful in every aspect of life.  This coming week on Tuesday there will be a violin and piano showcase for Mr Lau and Miss Haney’s pupils. On Wednesday it is the turn of some of our guitarists and the following week pianists and more violinists.  Do come and support them and enjoy their music making.

Our weekly Assembly is of course the chance for all the pupils to perform in front of the entire school be that through reading, singing, playing or acting. Who could fail to be excited this week by the enthusiasm of Upper Kappa and Delta during their rendition of the Photosynthesis song?

Congratulations to Dimitry Shestakovsky who has won first prize in the national Young Art Competition, Year 4-6 category. The award is sponsored by the Victoria and Albert Museum who will provide a workshop for him and his class at the museum.  He will be awarded his prize on Wednesday 29 April at the Royal College of Art where his picture will be on display.

This coming Thursday, 5 March, is World Book Day. There will be a number of events taking place throughout the school to celebrate this important event. In Cadogan Gardens and Small School all pupils are being invited to come to school dressed as a character from their favourite book. This is always a fun time for all our pupils to celebrate reading and the richness it brings to life. If past years are anything to go by then many of the staff will also be celebrating the day with élan. In Main School, whilst the pupils will not be dressing up they are invited to bring an accessory of or to represent their favourite character. There will also be a second hand book sale in Main School. All books will cost £1 and proceeds will go, as they have in previous years, to the London-based charity The Children’s Literacy Charity. Please see the attached poster for details.

A reminder about the presentation in Founders’ Hall on Thursday, 5 March at 6pm by Richard Cairns, the Headmaster of Brighton College, and Tara Reeve, a Housemistress at Downe House in Ascot on modern boarding. Brighton is a co-ed school and Downe House is one of the leading Girls’ schools so you will have the perspective of both the mixed and the girls’ only environment.  They will outline the choices between full boarding, weekly boarding and flexi boarding all of which are now available in a range of schools within easy reach of London.  If you have never thought of boarding at 13+, or have limited experience of the many advantages a boarding school can give to a teenager, this will be an evening for you. There will be ample time for questions.  On this occasion  sons and daughters are welcome to join their parents and put their own questions to the two speakers. I would recommend this evening to all parents in Upper School and above, although of course all year groups are most welcome.

Mufti Day before Half Term raised over £1,600 for Winston’s Wish. Thank you for your generosity.

The ongoing situation concerning COVID-19 or Coronavirus is being monitored daily by the school and we are being led by the advice we receive from Public Health England and the Department for Education. Please refer to the emails you received on 24 and 25 February for further information. Rest assured the school is being proactive behind the scenes and taking all precautions that are necessary and if the medical advice changes then we will inform you straightaway. An example of this is the email you were sent on Tuesday, which was sent within half an hour of the school being informed of the change in official advice. Speculation and rumour is unhelpful and should be avoided.

Best wishes,

Richard Townend