Friday, 21st September 2018
On Saturday 13th October we have our Open Day, as you may see from the posters around town. Our Open Day is crucially important for us in ensuring that the School continues to thrive. I believe that our School provides an education which is valuable beyond words but which is increasingly rare. So often today education is about the fulfilment of criteria; criteria are standards by which people and institutions are judged. They are very often useful and important. But essentially education is not about conforming to set standards; ultimately education is about understanding individuals, about forming a relationship with individuals, about looking after and loving individuals, about giving them what they need to thrive.
Despite what I have said above, I do also believe that education is about conforming to a set of criteria. However, these criteria are not the result of some Whitehall or Brussels committee but of the wisdom of the ages. They are about ensuring that as a matter of deep, ingrained habit people are thoughtful about others, that they take care about the way in which they approach others and the world around them, that they behave in ways that make them civilised. Schools should not be places where people do exactly what they want when they want; schools should be places where people reflect upon others and how it feels to walk in their shoes, where what they say improves the day of someone else, where what they do transforms someone else’s life. So this is why I would like you actively to support our Open Day.
At one of the schools I used to work at, the Headmaster - as it happens a lovely, kind man - decided that we needed to do something about our public image. His initials were P.R. and I thought that this somehow summed him up…. Public Relations… that this was all he cared for. I knew soon after this ignoble thought that he wished the best for the School, that all the hard work of the teachers deserved to be communicated to as many people as possible. And he was quite right. If you love our School, please promote it with your friends, colleagues and neighbours. You will find a flyer in your child’s book bag tonight. I would be most grateful if you would pass it on to a friend or display it somewhere in Oxford. On the day itself, please support the event by making sure that your son is with us. After all, our best asset and the aspect of our School of which we are most proud is our pupils and we really need them at school that day to properly tell our story.
Today it is St Matthew’s Day. St Matthew has the best story of the four evangelists. He was an ignored and hated tax collector whom Jesus found and loved. This experience transformed his life and caused him to write a narrative of Jesus’s life which, along with the other three gospels, is read by more people than any other work. Please evangelise about our School; knowing as I do the calibre of the people who work here, I am confident that it is a place which can positively change the lives of those who come here. This morning in Assembly Mr Dickinson announced the School officers for the coming year. As my son is in the Form in question, I played no part in the selection process this year. Mr Dickinson made the decisions with staff. We wish these boys all the very best and know that they will be well supported by the other boys in Form 8. Have a good weekend!