Skip to content ↓

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

Our new Sports Pavilion - 14th June 2024

What has happened to the weather?

Our Summer seems to have eluded us and we only have three weeks of term to go. I am so very sorry that we have had to postpone our Sports Day but the forecast is such that it is almost inevitable that Merton Field will be extremely slippery tomorrow morning. There was a certain degree of irony in the fact that the moment the email announcing the postponement had been sent off, the sun burst out – and indeed it is shining now as I write, but the Games staff have returned from the field this afternoon telling me that it was hammering it down and that the ground is now very wet. Tuesday, on the other hand, is set to be fair so I very much hope that as many of you as possible will be able to be present, though I know that work will sadly mean that some of you will not be able to join us. There are many advantages to living in England, but reliable weather is not one of them.

One of the most exciting aspects of the day will be – and I did not expect that I would ever say this – the absence of a pavilion – our old pavilion has gone. This has only been made possible because the old pavilion will be replaced, imminently, by the new one. You can find out more details about our new Sports Pavilion here. The area where it will be built has now been fenced off – another indication that dramatic things are about to occur. I will be in touch the moment I see earth moving. I look forward hugely to being able to celebrate the opening of the building with you in the very near future.

It was a great honour to have Ms Elizabeth Stone speaking to us in the Cathedral today. Ms Stone is the Headmaster of Winchester, the first woman to have held this role in the School’s 650 year history. She is in her first year in that role so it was particularly kind of her to visit us. She showed us a photograph of an enormous stone circle with a hole in the middle, probably about the same height as a person, and asked us to identify what the circle was. As ever there were many ingenious suggestions put forward by the boys but it took surprisingly little time for someone to guess the right answer – money! This vast stone object was a piece of currency used on one of the Pacific Islands a long time ago. By society agreeing that this was money, it became precious, “Thinking made it so”, to adapt some of Shakespeare’s words. Ms Stone’s point was that this is rare as normally, thinking does not make something happen but it’s a good first step to take a position on something, but to make a thought or desire a reality, one needs to undertake a great deal of effort. It is through effort and hard work that achievements occur. This is something that it is worth us all remembering.

Oxford is of course, a beautiful city – indeed I think it has more mediaeval buildings than any other city in the country of comparable size. Oxford has a particularly lovely combination of buildings and gardens and, at this time of year, to walk around one of the Oxford colleges is one of the most exquisite experiences available as colourful flowers ornament beautiful Cotswold stone walls. However, this comes at a price - traffic - and in its wake, traffic reduction measures. We are very aware that the Council will be introducing traffic filters or bus gates, as they are more commonly known, in the late Autumn. I know that many of you already come to School by bike or on foot. Nonetheless for some of you, these are not options. I will be in touch with you next week about the bus routes we will be operating next academic year, to help you to navigate the new, more complex, transport world of Oxford City.

As ever, lunchtimes have provided me with much excellent conversation this week. “Sir!” I was asked with great enthusiasm, “Which is your favourite battle?” It’s not the sort of question, I have to confess, that I ask myself every day. But then I’m not a military historian. I suspect that one of the school’s pupils might become one - if he is not already!