Friday, 5th October 2018
This week we had a wonderful visit from a colourful group of Chinese pupils who came to sing and dance for us. The troupe came from a group of government-sponsored schools known as Cathay Future. They could not have been more flamboyant; they were dressed in dazzling colours with exotic headdresses from which emerged huge feathers which shook as they danced. Accompanying them was a self-effacing man called Mr Zhou, their Headmaster. I explained that we were a small school and enquired as to how many children were in his. Softly spoken and charming, he explained that he had a number of schools and all told, he had in these schools approximately 100,000 pupils. It took me a little while to recover from this intelligence as I took in the news that he was in charge of approximately the same number of children as live in the City of Oxford. But then I learnt that his city, Tianjin, has 15 million inhabitants. It was hard for me to imagine such a set of schools and I marvelled at how he manages to do his job. I suspect there is no expectation for him to know all of his pupils! There is an article about Cathay Future’s visit to CCCS in today’s Oxford Mail if you would like to read more.
It was a great pleasure to have visiting this week the Precentor of Westminster Abbey, the Revd Christopher Stoltz. An American by birth, he decided quite early on that he wished to come and live in this country. It was lovely to walk with him through the streets of Oxford and show him all the glories of the City, by which he was completely transfixed. It is always worth remembering how lucky we are to be surrounded by such exquisite buildings and glorious streets, so many of which one just takes for granted; I pointed out the tower of Magdalen College from which their Choristers sing every May Day morning, which was completed in 1492, since which date it has not changed at all; that is exactly the same year as Columbus landed in the Americas and therefore the year in which America was discovered. How extraordinary that this graceful Tower, a building which seems both always to have been there but equally just to have been built, is as old as the history of European engagement with a continent. Next September I will have lived in Oxford for 20 years, a moment I will celebrate with great happiness. I cannot imagine anywhere more wonderful to live or more healthy for the spirit.
In his address in our Cathedral Assembly, the Revd Stoltz asked pupils to recall their favourite moment in recent years. Answers varied from visiting Alton Towers to eating pizza to acquiring a new bicycle – so far, so expected. It was Michael’s answer which took us all aback. He said that his favourite moment was the day when he helped his mother “all day long”. If I was asked for my favourite moment in recent times, I think it would be hearing this. Please remember that next Saturday was are holding our Open Morning. All our Prep school pupils will need to be in School from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm – thank you very much – and please do encourage anyone you know who might be interested in sending their child to the School, to come along. I hope you have a lovely weekend.