Friday, 7th October 2016
It was with great pleasure that I was able to announce the names of the new Heads of Houses and the Head Boy for 2016 in the Cathedral this morning. This year we have taken a rather different approach to prefecting and have not appointed boys to become prefects automatically. Instead, at the end of last year, anyone who wished to apply to become a prefect was interviewed. All those interested in the role had to write an application. The prefects were then chosen following this process. Being a prefect is a position of real importance; all prefects are expected to behave in a mature and responsible manner and to set an example to the rest of the pupils. They are also given duties which they are expected to fulfil reliably and responsibly. All those who were chosen for the role were therefore told that if they failed to live up to our expectations, they would lose their positions. Equally if pupils were not initially chosen, they would have the opportunity to be made prefects during the course of the year if they proved themselves appropriately responsible and helpful. My hope is that, by the end of the year, everyone in Form 8 will have become a prefect but this will not be automatic. Following the Dean's sermon this morning, we applauded all those boys who had been appointed prefect. They were: Zephyr, Sanuda, Louis, Harry, Jamie, Magnus, Hugo, Jay and Ross. I was also able to announce that owing to his outstanding attitude during the course of this term, Miles had subsequently been added to their number.
Following this, the Heads of Houses were announced, namely:
The Head Boy was then announced as Harry. Very many congratulations to all those boys and I hope that all the pupils will ensure that they give them all the support that they will need in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
May I thank you all very much indeed for your support over Open Day on Saturday. It was a very successful day and so many of the parents who came round complimented us on the boys they had met and seen during the course of the morning. I am aware that it is an inconvenience to bring your sons in on a Saturday morning but it is important to us. The main building looked particularly stunning following the redecoration over the summer. I have spoken about this before but I was particularly struck by the glorious effect that the designers were able to create, masterminded as they were by CCCS parent, Jeremy Garson, and Jane Breaks from Farrow and Ball. I want publically to thank the outstanding craftsmen who worked on the project, often at cost, some giving their labour and some their materials free. Particularly generous was Farrow and Ball who gave all their paint without cost. These tradesmen were able to make the project happen because they were convinced that our school had something special to offer the children of Oxford and that the education we provide here is something worthy of being supported. They worked under huge pressure of time, managing to complete a job which should have taken about three times as long in 6 or 7 weeks. I was very struck by their attention to detail and the pride with which they did their work. As I visited during the course of the holiday, under their careful and expert hands, a beautiful building emerged, more attractive day by day. Having seen what they were able to achieve and having observed the quality of their work, I would like to name them. They are:
Jane Breaks from Farrow and Ball Summertown, Paul Mortimer from Alchemy Painting, Scott Bottrill from Cotswold Electrical Installations, Ric Bee from Cotswold Interiors, Tess Calver from Feather & Black, Paul Champion from Textures Flooring, Brian Gelder from Gelder Joinery, and with thanks to Helen & Douglas House, who have been incredibly helpful, I could not recommend any of these artisans highly enough and the school owes them a great deal. I think the most touching aspect of the whole design is the way in which our beautiful Victorian building has come to life, its lovely details now highlighted, its conception now fully revealed, and it has been a particular pleasure to have seen its fireplaces unapologetically emerge from behind boards where they had been unceremoniously hidden for far too long. And the final bonus is that the main areas downstairs are now in colours taken from the Christ Church Arms.
During half term I will be spending some of my time on our playing fields attending the football course run, as last year, by the inspiring Andy Johnson, former Premier League player. The coaching that he and his team were able to supply last October was brilliant and it was a course hugely enjoyed by those who participated in it. If you are able to enrol your sons on the course, I couldn't recommend it more thoroughly. It also includes lunch in the Great Hall of Christ Church. What an unforgettable combination. The course is open to members of other local schools so do please recommend it to any friends your sons might have in different schools. Please see details elsewhere in this newsletter.
I gave a safeguarding talk on Monday to all the prep school. Important in ensuring that our children are safe is the process of alerting them to the dangers that might confront them and by suggesting ways in which they might prevent or anticipate them. During the talk, I asked whom they might ask if they required any help. The answers for which I was
looking duly came back; the counsellor, my form tutor, a prefect, my parents, a teacher, the Deputy Head...but then I got an answer which I was not expecting - my Constituency MP. I am very pleased to work at a school where our noble system of parliamentary democracy is taken so seriously and where there are still people who are not cynical about politicians!