Friday, 9th December 2016
I was utterly thrilled to hear last night that a team comprised of Form 7 and Form 6 boys had come runners up in a Rugby tournament at Cokethorpe School. They lost in the final to the Crypt School, a huge school in the heart of England’s most rugby crazed City, Gloucester. In getting to the final they had to play a number of other schools, most notably local rivals, Summer Fields, in the semi-finals. Our boys played out of their skins, especially given that we were facing an opposition which was far larger to a man than we were. We managed to score a try in the last minute to equal Summer Fields’ score and so pushed the match into extra time. We dominated them during the course of this and, as a consequence, scored quite quickly after a period of pressure, clinching a place in the final. It is exhilarating that we did so well in a tournament which drew many excellent schools from miles around and it’s a great credit to all the boys and to Mr Dickinson and the Rugby staff for coaching so well. This was a thrilling end to a sensational Rugby season and I’m so proud of what our boys have managed to achieve this term. I suspect there are a number of schools locally who are reappraising their attitude to matches against CCCS. The motto of our smallest county, Rutland, springs to mind “Multum in parvo” - “Much in little”!
I attended a concert given by the Worcester boys in Oxford’s oldest building, St Michael in the Northgate at Monday lunchtime. It’s a beautiful church lying at the heart of the City and on Mondays they run a concert series for people to drop into during their lunchbreaks. They do not charge for admittance but ask for a donation to a charity at the end. Our boys were singing alone and sounded as clear as a bell and many of the boys performed solos. The place was packed out and it was lovely to see such a mixed audience; the boys are generally used to singing in front of a congregation comprised of university members and of parents but here they found themselves singing to the people of the City who had decided, for whatever reason during their lunchbreak, to enter this old building which has stood guard over the northern end of the City Centre since Saxon times, to hear something very simple, a group of boys singing together, singing music some of which has been sung in churches in this country since the Reformation. The applause was tumultuous and the collection for charity at the end, the highest that had been taken this year. How wonderful that our pupils were able to bring so much pleasure to such a varied group of people. For some there, the experience was clearly deeply touching.
I found myself covering a Science lesson earlier this week. I was asked whether I was a Science teacher. I was on the point of answering when one of the boys answered for me “ Of course you can teach Science – you are the Headmaster and therefore you must be able to teach anything!” Clearly expectations are high but we have Mrs Stephen for that! Of course one does have to be adaptable in my job but perhaps that’s taking things a little too far. I then asked whether they could tell from looking at me what I had taught before mutating into my present, ever-adaptable form. A few guesses were made. I then asked whether it was possible to tell what people taught just by looking at them. I was told that one might be able to identify a Science teacher because they might be wearing a lab coat and that an art teacher might be identifiable by the amount of paint on their clothes; but by far the most enlightening of the answers was from a boy who said that he could tell if someone was an English teacher because English teachers would always wear glasses. “Sir people who wear glasses are wise and English teachers are always wise.” Given the subject that I did used to teach, I think that’s an almost perfect answer. Perhaps, after all, I should go to the opticians…