Friday, 17th March 2017
I was showing round a potential parent earlier today. We were on St Aldate's and so entered the school via the keyhole. As the door opened to reveal the lovely keyhole shape, she peered hungrily through, saying, "I've passed this door many times before and often wondered what lay beyond it; now I know".
Certainly the School lies in a charming space and going through the key hole in particular is like going through the back of the wardrobe and entering Narnia, (without the witch) a hidden, magical world. Though this is, in so many ways, part of the school's charm that it is hidden away behind elegant Georgian frontages, it is also somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of getting ourselves known, something which is essential in terms of ensuring that we have pupils! It was a great pleasure therefore to see the school being featured prominently in the website version of the Oxford Times. They had come to hear of our Inspection result – not entirely by chance it has to be admitted – and decided to make it one of the top stories on the website. Good publicity is much to be treasured.
If you are interested in reading what was said, please click here.
Following the refurbishment of the main building, I have really become conscious of what a truly lovely building No 3 is. Its loveliest aspect is, of course, its Brewer Steet façade. It has the appearance, almost of a dolls' house or of a house from a fairy tale, its lovely door neatly set within a tight but welcoming porch. In front of it is a little garden which looks, at the moment, in particularly lovely form, the beds neatly dug through and planted with some charming spring flowers.
Everything looks just as if it had been lovingly tended; and indeed the truth is that it has. The present state of the garden is because of the hard work of one of our pupil's grandmothers, Mrs Irene Hopton–Scott who amongst other distinctions, is a life–long gardener. She has done all the work completely free of charge as well as providing all of the flowers as a gift. It really has been a labour of love and something she has done in return, as she says, for the care which the school has given to her grandson. I wanted to publically thank her for her generosity and hope that you might have time to cast your eye on the garden, which looks charming. It was Voltaire, the great French philosopher, who retired from philosophising to tend his garden as the only thing worth doing when one has finished solving the world's problems.
I remember when I started to teach at a school in Gloucestershire being introduced to an extremely erudite man who engaged me in some elevated conversation about the classical world and its literature. I then asked him what he taught – "Oh," he said, "I don't teach, I'm just the gardener!". It occurs to me that it is the season for gardens and scholarships to start coming into their own. I'm thrilled that our front garden, in its own diminutive way, is playing its part in adding to the City's beauty and providing further stimulus to contemplation!