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Friday, 11th November 2016

 

Dear Parents,

I found the ceremony of remembrance which occurred in the playground this morning very moving. The school stood in silence for a total of ten minutes, taking the whole occasion very seriously indeed. Of course it is impossible that children of the age of ours can fully appreciate the full horror of the sacrifices made by those who died but it is nonetheless of the greatest importance that they have come to appreciate the significance of such acts, the form that they take, and the behaviour that is expected during their observance. I strongly feel that schools do have a vital role in ensuring that future adults are able to understand how to appreciate certain things. Often one can only come to understand things if one has been taught how to adopt the sort of attitude in which certain thoughts and feelings can be fully appreciated. I am aware that my ability to begin to appreciate what the deaths of those young men meant is partly based on the experience of learning how to properly observe the ceremony. It was very moving that while the ceremony occurred, all the windows of the offices along Rose Lane opened up and the workers stuck their heads out so as to be part of the occasion. During our Cathedral assembly, we were spoken to by a friend of Dr Harskin who had taught in a leading prep school for almost 20 years. After hearing Rufus Shanagher play the trumpet, he remarked to me that in all his time teaching at the other school, he had not heard such a performance. He was also very complimentary about the singing. These are very heartening to hear and reminds us that we must never become complacent about the extraordinary things which occur here.

Well I did point out last week that one of the definitions of the word Trump was a card that beats all others ….. I’m not sure, though, that I fully believed that Mr Trump would live up to his name. Certainly the effect on the school has been remarkable with all sorts of people wanting to talk about American politics. I noticed a very interesting English lesson in which the boys had been asked to write an analysis of one of the glorious photographs of Mr Trump meeting President Obama in the White House. Much had been observed, including the fact that the fire behind the two had not been lit. I anticipate that Private Eye’s next front cover will be that photograph; I am curious to know what the speech bubbles might say? I will set up a competition for the boys next week to see what speech bubbles they come up with. There is of course a great deal that I could say about it all. I suspect that all I should say though is that we are in for a fascinating time and that I hope that our boys don’t come to expect years to be as politically exciting as this one on a regular basis.

There have been elections here in the school. Forms have been asked to elect representatives to the newly created School Council. This has been taken with a varying degree of seriousness. I was very impressed to see a campaign leaflet which one boy had produced to further his campaign. Underneath an extremely elegant picture of the aspirant candidate, there is a brief manifesto. It ends “When you choose me as councillor (a suitably positive start) I will be happy to take in your views since that is what my campaign is based on.” I wonder how many serving MPs would agree with him. Christ Church has produced 13 prime ministers but the school itself has not produced any – at least it hasn’t so far!

Mr Murray


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