Friday, 24th March 2017
I have been on an inspection in London this week, which has been a very enlightening experience. It was far easier, as you can imagine, to carry out an inspection than to be inspected but it was still a task which required concentration and focus. It was most enjoyable to spend time really getting to know another school and to see how problems, which all schools have, are tackled and how educational goals are achieved. I was also very impressed by the thoroughness and professionalism of the inspectors and the efficiency with which the whole operation was carried out. I am convinced that inspection carried out by people who have a real understanding of independent schools and of the quirk and eccentricities which they inevitably have, is far more valuable than having to rely upon the Government’s inspection regime, Ofsted. I think it is so important not to forget that the independent schools of this country are almost certainly the finest group of educational establishments in the world and one of this country’s greatest draws. Though I well appreciate the extraordinary sacrifices which parents who send their children to independent schools make, I also think very strongly that it is worth it; after all, education really is the most important way of ensuring that adults are happy, can flourish and are able to navigate their own way through life having been given the tools to make choices, and the better the education, the more likely they are to have the ability to achieve all these things.
On the subject of achievement, I am very proud to announce that James has been awarded a Maths Scholarship at Our Lady’s Abingdon – very well done indeed, James.
It was when I had returned to my hotel room that I got a text from one of my sons who is now an avid texter asking me if I was all right given what had happened at Westminster. As it happens I was many miles away in a part of London where the fields of the open countryside spread out on one side of you. To him though, I was in London and therefore in potential danger. It was by means of my son’s mobile phone that I learnt of the terrible events which have recently occurred in our capital. I was listening to the five o’clock news on Radio 4 last night during which the announcer read out the number of victims of terrorism throughout the world during the course of last Wednesday; 5 had died in Mogadishu; another 4 in Iraq. Sadly we have become accustomed to such news, whereas of course those events in London seemed particularly shocking. This tells us so much and really this is supposed to be a short weekly newsletter so I don’t think I am able to properly tackle the subject. However, I think it is very important to say that the fact that the event strikes us as horrific reminds us how lucky we are to live in a country where such events are so rare. I will constantly reinforce at school the importance of living and maintaining a society which is tolerant and where hatred of others is never allowed to exist.
Like Oxford, CCCS is a school which is blessed by the vibrant mix of its pupils and anyone who is educated here could never think it odd to live in a society where everyone doesn’t come from the same place or have the same view. We all live together in great harmony, a small and blessed model of a proper society which every pupil here should be proud of. These are things worth believing in and ultimately fighting for.
We are very much looking forward to seeing many of you at the play tonight and tomorrow night. I would like to thank Mr Richards for the unstinting effort he has put into this production. I am sure it will be a resounding success.