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Private Independent Day School for Boys 3 - 13 & Girls 3 - 7, Flexi-Boarding for Boys 8 - 13

House Music Competition - 10th May 2024

Our Director of Music, Ms Biddell has not had a minute of free time over the past few weeks.

Every spare moment has been taken up listening to pupils play musical instruments. The more musical instruments one plays, the more merits one can earn, so I was not surprised when one boy arrived a few days ago with six different types of recorders in his bag! This highlighted to me not only the ingeniousness of our pupils, their devotion to their houses which stand to gain from the accumulation of merits but also, the variety of instruments played in the School. By this time next week, we will have enjoyed the House Music Competition. I urge you all, particularly those parents who are new to the School, to come to the event. It is always a staggering display of musicianship in an incomparable setting. I reflect, every year, that if one closed one’s eyes during the course of the playing, one would never guess that the instruments were being played by people so young. The competition will be judged by Sarah Baldock, Head of Music at Winchester College. It will be fascinating to hear what she has to say about our players.

We are having several Stay & Plays in our Nursery this  term. On Wednesday we had 14 families come to visit the School and to spend time playing in the Nursery garden. I was very struck by what a lovely place our Nursery is. Very few Nurseries are housed in such a charming setting, a 16th Century town house with four charming rooms, meaning that the children can choose where to be. The overall sense of the place is one of calm discovery. Miss Helen had laid out several colourful activities including a mud kitchen with pots and pans and cooking utensils, an artist’s studio complete with cardboard paint pots, a garage mechanic’s workshop and a sandpit full of toys – all the children seemed very happy indeed. I am very impressed to watch the way in which, consistent with Montessori principles, children learn through discovery and it is remarkable what they are able to do. I noticed one of the Nursery boys sitting bolt upright at a table, eating his apple in a very elegant manner, rather as if he were eating the fruit course at a five star restaurant. At the end of his repast, he took his plate, mounted a footstool, which raised him up to the level of the sink, and started to wash up his utensils. I know a number of people a great deal older than him who have not yet mastered that talent!

I am delighted that so many of our pupils and staff are taking part in the Oxford Town and Gown Run this Sunday. In fact, this year we have decided to set up a Christ Church marquee on the University parks and the boys have all been given CCCS shirts. I am immensely looking forward to witnessing the spectacle from the sidelines (in order that I can cheer everyone on, of course) and I hugely admire my colleagues who are taking on the challenge of completing the course. It would be lovely if as many families as possible could come and support those boys and staff who are taking part.

It is perhaps ironic, given the exquisite weather that we have been enjoying, that Mme Loyer has sent a message about a ski trip that we are hoping to run next year. The resort is at a very high elevation so that there will be guaranteed snow, despite the fact that the trip will be late in the season. Do consider whether your son might enjoy the experience. It is a wonderful opportunity for our boys to enjoy one of the most exhilarating pastimes with their friends and some members of our outstanding staff.

Mr Rob Jones, Headmaster of Rendcomb College, near Cirencester, came to preach this morning in the Cathedral. He spoke about the foundation of Rendcomb, in 1920, by Noel Wills as a place to educate the whole person in a civilised way in a beautiful setting. Right from the beginning, the pupils had an element of self-governance, they chose teams and made many of the decisions themselves, which were normally made by teachers - an extraordinarily progressive approach for the 1920s, or indeed, for the 2020s! At the core of the founder’s vision was service, something which continues to this day. It was no coincidence then that Mr Jones had chosen, as the reading, the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet – an important act of service. I was standing next to Mr Jones when we were singing the hymn. Half way through he stopped singing. He told me afterwards that he had done so because he just wanted to hear the sound of the boys singing – who can blame him…

Mr Murray