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

YEARS 3 & 4'S CAMPING TRIP - 21st June 2024

Once every half term, Nursery and Pre-Prep come to Cathedral Assembly.

 Normally they arrive alongside the columns of older boys from the Prep School, who come every week, to hear a variety of external and internal speakers. But today it was different. Today they found themselves in the Cathedral with only a few Form 8 boys to accompany them. The Forms 3 and 4 boys were on a camping trip in Wiltshire and the Forms 5, 6 and 7 boys were on a day trip to the Tower of London, so that just left Nursery and Pre-Prep. But what they lacked in numbers, they made up for in sprightliness. It was a brilliant morning. Everywhere we looked the sun shone brightly so it was particularly appropriate that I had planned to talk about light. Today is the Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Today, in Oxford, the sun rose at 4.43 am and will set at 9.21 pm, more than 16 hours of daylight. Meanwhile, the solstice coincides - for the first time since 1985 - with a full moon ensuring that even during the night there is a great deal of brightness. I told the children that they needed, as St Paul put it, to be children of the light. When I am standing on Brewer Street in the mornings, I notice that if it’s a dark day, people tend to grunt their brief greeting, while if it’s a sunny day, people come skipping up to me greeting me enthusiastically. So to be children of the light was to spread happiness around the world, to allow people to see the beauty that surrounds them. I asked the children in Nursery and Pre-Prep to make sure they made their parents, brothers and sisters happier so I very much hope that you will have a good weekend!

At the end of the talk one boy put his hand up. Something told me that I shouldn’t let him speak – but I did. “Sir! But I can see in the dark!!” came the voice. Bang went the point of my talk!

As you could tell from last week’s Newsletter, I had very mixed feelings about abandoning Sports Day on Saturday but as the rain increased on Friday night and the gales swept through on Saturday morning, it became clear that we had made the right decision. This was reinforced further on Tuesday when the day dawned brightly and Sports Day was hugely successful. It was, of course, a great shame that some parents were not able to come, it being on a work day, but a large number of people were able to attend and the events were superb with some spectacular performances. Everything worked like clockwork – thank you so much to Mr Harrison and Mr Pear for all the work they put into it.

As I mentioned on the day, I have never been as excited by a hole as I was on Tuesday. As we watched the athletic triumphs, behind us the earth was being excavated by a digger. The reason for the excavation is, of course, the Pavilion whose construction is, at last, underway after almost six years of planning and discussion. As the scoop of the digger broke through the turf, my heart leapt. We will have a pavilion early next academic year and we will be in touch with you soon about a launch party which we would like you all to come to. The footprint of the building is now plain to see – it will be a substantially bigger construction than its predecessor.

Interestingly, the foreman saw me looking with intense excitement as the soft black earth emerged. “This is some of the best earth I have ever seen. It’s very pure and looks as though it’s hardly ever been touched.” Clearly the land has rarely, if ever, been tilled. No wonder the turf of our playing fields is so beautiful.

Forms 3 and 4 have just returned from their camping trip. They all seem to have had a wonderful time. I asked one particularly satisfied looking customer what he had enjoyed most: “Orienteering, wall climbing, rafting, den building, kayaking and eating!” Enthusiasm is infectious.