Friday, 27th January 2017
I have just returned from the William Walton Hall where I witnessed a splendid event. Mr Richards has just organised and chaired the first Inter House General Knowledge Quiz. Teams were chosen from the three houses and were then seated at tables where they were presented with buzzers. The teams were asked widely ranging questions which were then thrown open to the floor if they remained unanswered. The enthusiasm was palpable and the breadth of the knowledge extremely impressive. I learnt a great deal I must say. Here are some of the questions which I found myself unable to answer:
Which is the longest month? The answer is October, the month when the clocks go back.
What travels at 299 792 459 m/s? The answer, nothing because it’s faster than the speed of light and nothing can travel faster than the speed of light!
I did feel very inspired by the quality of the knowledge that the boys had. This event very closely followed a wonderful lunch where I found myself sitting next to a group of Form 6 boys. They were interested in the difference between science and religion. One boy proposed that science was a kind of religion. Another boy thought that religions all required faith, whereas science didn’t. There was then a discussion about whether the scientific belief that experimentation and evidence leads to knowledge was a matter of belief. What weighty matters to be considering over a plate of fish and chips!
I was also very pleased to hear that we had another set of very successful football matches winning three out of four of our clashes. Our sport seems to be going form strength to strength. It is fascinating to see the effect of training and of the importance of working together.
I have just come out of a meeting where we have been discussing plans for a “makeover” of the bark area. This part of the school will be transformed into a thoroughly boy – friendly zone with exciting climbing equipment, a colourful and safe surface and a charming area under the tree where classes will be able to sit and read or where teachers will be able to take their forms when appropriate. The plan is extremely exciting and has been made possible through a very generous donation of £10,000 from the Parents’ Association for which we are extremely grateful. The fact that the PA has been able to raise so much is a great credit to their energy and commitment and I am utterly thrilled that they have been able to help us create such a substantial change in our school environment. I would very much like to thank the PA committee publicly for their generosity. I suspect that every sing pupil in the school will benefit from the plan.
At coffee in the Cathedral today I was introducing a new parent to some of you who have been here for rather longer. She was extremely struck by the friendliness of those parents that she met and as they described the things that they did for a living, I was struck very forcefully by the extraordinary variety of our parental body and the fascinating things that people here do. Two mottos sprung to mind – firstly that of our smallest county Rutland, namely “multum in parvo” – I suspect there are only very few of you for whom I need to present a translation!- “much in little” (the other thing we have in common with Rutland is that it does not have a branch of Macdonald’s – Rutland is the only county in England not to do so!) and secondly that of a slightly bigger political unit, the United States of America “E pluribus unum!” “out of many, one” and though the word “many” is perhaps a slight exaggeration, the effect of the glorious variety of our parents and pupils is of a wonderful kaleidoscopic collection of people forming a very close and tight - knit family. Please, though, don’t pass it on to any US official that I have been using the American motto just in case I’m sued for trademark violation (or indeed to anyone on Rutland County Council, though I have to confess I’m slightly less frightened of them!
Have a good weekend.