I reported in my previous letter about the House of Commons visit – I have included one of the photographs above, for your interest.
Mr Yeates is not well at present and may be out of school for a few weeks. Miss Munday is endeavouring to arrange cover for his lessons, always a challenge as qualified German teachers are as rare as ‘Hennezähne’. We all wish Mr Yeates well and we look forward to his return soon.
As ever this was an excellent event but with an added dimension this year. We were very pleased to welcome a number of OWs, together with family representatives of the late Frederick Youens and Ian Fraser (both VC) OWs to dedicate memorial stones in their memory. They are now in pride of place beneath the Hartwell House chapel crest on the landing to the Queen’s Hall. Many thanks to Ben Parker, a local stonemason, for giving of his time to install them professionally.
Following this we had the annual outdoor Service of Remembrance which was (on a warmer than usual, bright day) a true reflection of the seriousness with which boys and staff take this important occasion. You may like to look at my Twitter account @RGSHW for some stunning photographs. We were also delighted to be joined by a record number of guests and parents. Thanks to Wing Commander Mark Dunlop who laid the wreath and to Andrew McDonald, our Head Boy for his introduction and reading of the Kohima Epitaph and our Hon Chaplain, Mr Booth, for leading the prayers for both events. I am glad that we have our own Chaplain as Vicars can be hard to pin down midweek because of their other commitments – the crematorium usually gets in first! We were pleased, however, to have the Vicar of the parish of Terriers, who takes a great interest in the school, as a part of the platform party – A former parent, Canon Tony Dickinson will be taking up a post in Italy early in the new year.
This is an annual event kindly hosted by Wycombe Abbey School. It gave our students the opportunity to engage in subject-based academic discussion and debate and is an ideal opportunity for those looking at competitive universities or those who just enjoy talking about their subjects. Those aspiring to study medicine also benefitted from an MMI preparation session, run by The Medic Portal. The evening finished with a most enjoyable meal attended by students and staff of both schools. This is also a good ‘co-ed’ learning and social environment (though I am quite certain that most students from both institutions are perfectly capable of arranging the latter themselves!).
DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD
The Deputy Headmaster and I have been very pleased to present Duke of Edinburgh Bronze awards to groups of boys over the last few weeks. I am aware of the commitment, on the part of both staff and boys, to achieve these rewards and it was a pleasure to commend them in person. I did try a little quip about the Duke of Edinburgh having retired so this ‘Philip’ would have to do, but the reaction was such that I don’t think I’ll take up comedy for a living.
ROLL UP, ROLL UP
Click on this link and you will be greeted with an autumnal colour palette. This serves as the flyer for the Parents’ Association Autumn Fair, which takes place on 25 November 2017. Please do support this important fundraising event. The PA would still like to hear from you if you could bake a cake for the cake stall. Please contact them at RGSPA@hotmail.co.uk if you can help. There are many other ways to support the event including buying raffle tickets or booking sessions for the Archery and Zorb football activities via ParentPay. There is also a Bag2school collection arranged for the day of the fair. Bring your bags of second hand clothes, shoes and soft toys along with you when you come to the fair.
SIXTH FORM OPEN EVENING
I shall look forward to seeing Year 11 boys and their parents at our Sixth Form Open Evening, about which there is more detail here. This is a super opportunity to hear about what the sixth form has to offer, our approach to the balance of independent learning with guided study and the breadth of facilitating subjects which open, rather than close, doors to the future. I believe that we are moving apace with our direction in the Sixth Form, subjects and HE/Careers, with the result that boys can work hard, play hard and benefit from a plethora of opportunities to develop workplace, social and leadership skills as well as good results.
Our Master in Charge of Rowing, Mr de Kock, has prepared some ‘oarsome’ highlights for you.
“Competing at many events so far this season has seen The RGS rowers move forward while achieving well at local events. They most recently competed at Reading Small Boats Head where the U/15 A quad boys put in a strong performance to pick up 3rd place overall. At the same event the 1st Quad of Ben Hinves (Year 12), James Forster (Year 12), Toko Avaliani (Year 11) and Duncan Huntley (Year 11) raced to a fantastic 1st place winning their category.
Over the half term break Ben Hinves (Year 12) and James Forster (Year 12) were invited to GB junior training camp at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. Over the four days the boys were given time to train with some of the best rowers and coaches from around the country. They used this time wisely as an opportunity to increase their training knowledge on and off the water. The same two boys will be competing at the early identification trials in Boston on 18 November.
Henley long distance sculls over the past weekend (4 Nov) was a successful outing for RGS rowing with three U16 singles competing to a very close finish with the U16 quad putting in a strong row. Undoubtedly, the event of the weekend must go to the U15 boys who were able to row to a 1st and 2nd place in the U15 Quadruple sculls with the distance between the two boats being less than a second.
Rounding up the racing before the cold of winter kicks in is the Fours Head of the River where the top senior quad will be competing on the tideway in an event that is a backwards version of The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. This is considered a highlight in the rowing calendar and certainly makes for some exciting racing before the holiday period.”
It will not surprise you to know that we take a dim view of any form of bullying. All surveys of RGS boys indicate that bullying is mercifully rare, but there is never room for complacency. An excellent assembly led by Callum Hart and Jamie Wren, with a frank film by way of illustration started the week off. Mr Wallace followed up with a clear message about words which have fallen into the lexicon of young people such as ‘snake’ and ‘snitch’. This reminded us all that we should ‘do the right thing’ and inform a member of staff of any concerns. The ‘MUFTI’ day on Friday, for which all participating boys should please donate £1, will go towards Anti-Bullying charities and Children in Need.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR
We aim to be good neighbours, so may I please, in support of Chris Hall’s letter last week, respectfully ask all those who convey their sons to school by car to drop off and to park with consideration for local residents. The Estates Team has been working on signage for Saturday fixtures, which seems to be working well. It has now taken two years, and the patience of Job on the part of Chris Hall (Finance Director at RGS) and Colin Clark (former parent), to finally get what is, I’m afraid, an eye-wateringly expensive, impossible to meet quotation out of the council for some sort of traffic calming measures in Hamilton Road. I am not quite at the stage where I shall buy a pot of white paint and create a zebra crossing myself as my resilient team are continuing to rattle cages to ensure the safety of your son as he crosses the road to Uplyme and back.
Tomos Miller was selected to join the Welsh Rugby Union Exiles U15 Squad last Thursday in North Wales. The Exiles played three games against the North Wales Regions and won all three matches. Tom scored three tries in his first match.
I was delighted to meet Ruben Kapoor, Cameron Sloan, Gavin Harries, Zaahir Ali, Chris Goede, Sam Dobey and Abdulhaseeb Atif for their excellent work in biology. Please see the photograph above. This was a classic example of ‘going the extra mile’ with boys having spent many hours on some excellent models of the nervous system. One model required an elder brother’s assistance to carry it to my study.