Headmaster’s Letter to Parents and OWs


Dear Parent and OW

I’m going to roll back just before half-term and share with you some highlights of a musical feast.

I am currently Vice-Chairman of the Grammar School Heads’ Association (for my sins). Heads receive an annual invite from the Friends of Grammar Schools to a reception in the House of Commons. This year, RGS was invited to provide the background music for the reception, so I leapt at the opportunity. Many thanks to our quintet, comprising Will Rose, Jethro Reading, Varun Dinesh, Hugh Laughton and Kian Pourkarimi, fortified by the direction of Mr Venvell. I received many positive comments about the music – ‘the best ever’, said one Headmaster. Whether he meant it or says the same every year I accepted the compliment with pride and, of course, agreed.

This was the night before our Autumn Recital – an evening of first rate solos, ensembles and choral music. Music and sport are similar in a school context, as the high performing senior players are very often manifesting themselves in the lower school. So, for example, watching and listening to our 70 strong Junior Choir and Second Wind Band leads to older boys being skilled practitioners and team players in the form of the latest incarnation of our senior a cappella group ‘Singers Limited’. Going back a stage further, I was delighted to be invited to a concert given by Chiltern Music Academy, in which 250 children from local prep, primary schools and Year 7s from grammar schools and upper schools played together a piece composed by Andy Rogers, the Principal. It was an exhilarating experience and a really high-quality, musical performance. Of course, Team Venvell (Messrs and Mrs) were in the thick of it along with a number of our own
boys who supported and coached some of the ensembles. There are far too many comments in the press, often supported by musicians who should know better, that music is dying in state secondary schools. I’m sorry to disappoint them, but it’s alive and kicking at RGS.

A most successful trip to America took place – here is Mrs Forster’s report:
Over October half term the Biology Geography Trip to the Western USA travelled to San Francisco, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We took 30 boys, and also visited the Hoover Dam, the Atomic Testing Centre, and Alcatraz and saw a Cirque de Soleil show. Each and every boy was amazing. They all embraced every element of the trip, and they were curious, positive and perfectly polite throughout; it was an absolute pleasure to travel with them. The boys were given guided talks at various different points, and the RGS staff supplemented this with outside teaching at almost every opportunity. It is all credit to your sons that they embrace learning whenever they can. Thank you for your support in making this trip possible.

I have just returned back to my Headmasterly ‘pad’ in School House, a bright Autumn day, having watched our U15 (29-13) and 1st XV (26-23) teams win in the second round of the Nat West trophy. Both tense games, but well deserved wins in both cases. Here’s to the next round.

Mr Honeyben, our Head of Rugby and 1st XV coach has written a short piece for me about our team’s performance at the prestigious St Joseph’s Festival.

A young 1st team squad took part in St. Joseph’s rugby festival during half term. The players showed superb effort and commitment during an intense weekend, finishing third in their group on the first day, which sent them into the plate competition on the Sunday.

After drawing a competitive and exciting game against Hurst School in the morning, RGS were narrowly beaten in their second game of the day, meaning they just missed out on the Plate final. It was a valuable experience for this team, who will be able to use this as part of their development moving forward.

You will recall that the Eton Fives Association gave us a grant to replace the roof of the Fives courts. We held an opening ceremony this afternoon for that and we were delighted that a number of dignitaries from the Fives world, including the EFA and their charitable trust were able to join us. My thanks to Mr Silvey, Master in Charge of Eton Fives, for his enthusiasm in leading a burgeoning sport.

Our Upper Sixth students are looking ahead to their university life through the preparation of their personal statements. A useful guide, on the BBC website, can be found here. I would urge parents to support staff here in chivvying their son along with his personal statement – experience tells me that some boys have a habit of waiting until the last minute before submitting them to school and then become impatient for a response, perhaps not aware that there is a back-log caused by many boys doing the same. Forty or so boys have been sitting University Admissions Tests today – I trust all went well and we look forward to hearing some good news in the coming weeks.

The new gates to Fraser Youens, the Quad, School House and Chadwick Street are now in operation.

Pedestrian Gates from Chadwick Street and Hamilton Road will be locked at 08:45, after which students will need to press the buzzer to gain access. Sixth Formers will have a lanyard and badge so that they can have some freedom during the lunch hour.

Parents are requested to use the visitors’ gate (to the right of the vehicle exit gate) and then sign in at Reception. Arrangements will be made for events. There will inevitably be some inconvenience as we bed in the new arrangements, but I trust that you all appreciate my view that the school’s site was far too open.

We are now sending the ‘Headmaster’s Letter’ to OWs. I write a ‘catch all’ letter, never more than two sides, every ten days or so to parents but also designed with staff, governors and, now, OWs in mind. We very much hope that you will enjoy reading news from where you were once educated.

Please do join us if you can on Friday 10th November for our annual Remembrance Service. Hopefully the sun will indeed shine on the righteous and we will be able to hold the service outdoors. The service, consisting of a short address, hymn accompanied by school orchestra, readings and a two-minute silence, commences at 10:45, with coffee in the Queen’s Hall afterwards. I hope that all boys will wear a poppy in the coming days.

Philip Wayne


RGS Remembrance Service: Friday 10 November 2017

To OWs and Friends of the Royal Grammar School

You are cordially invited to join us for our

Annual Service of Remembrance

and observation of the two minutes’ silence


Friday, 10 November 2017

in the Quadrangle

10.45am – 11.15am

Tea & Coffee will be served in the Queen’s Hall after the service

11.15 – 12.15

(Please arrive by 10.40am)

Please note:

There will be no car parking on the school site.

In order to get the boys into position, it is essential that all visitors enter the school grounds via the glazed doors facing Amersham Road.

The viewing area for visitors will be in the lower Quadrangle area.

If the weather is inclement, the ceremony will take place in the Queen’s Hall.

Jazz in the Quad: Sunday 2 July 2017

You are warmly invited to this year’s ‘Jazz in the Quad’, on Sunday 2 July 2017, to be held in the Main Quadrangle, starting at 5.00pm. As always, the various jazz bands of the school will provide the backbone to the musical feast that is promised, with contributions from the First Wind Band, Singers Ltd, The Trad Jazz Band, and assorted groups, including the Dave Wilmott All Stars Staff Band! All welcome, very family friendly and informal!

Come rain or shine the Friends of Music will be running a superb barbecue and a cash bar selling Pimms, wine, beer and soft drinks. Don’t forget to bring rugs and chairs to sit on, and please note the early starting time of 5.00pm. – we always finish about 9.00pm, before the evening chill sets in.

Further information on ordering tickets will be published nearer to the time.

Duncan Moore Cricket Match: 29 June 2017

OWs are warmly invited to attend the annual Duncan Moore Cricket Match on Thursday 29th June at 2.00pm.

Duncan was a very talented RGS cricketer who played at County level. He was in the same year group as Luke Donald.

Each season several cricketers including those who played cricket with Duncan compete for the Memorial Cup against the school 1st team.

If you would like to attend or play please contact OW David Stone via the form below


RGS OW Dinner: Saturday 30 September 2017

The Old Wycombiensians’ Club and Royal Grammar School request the pleasure of your company at the Old Wycombiensians’ Club Annual Dinner on

Saturday 30 September 2017 at 19:30


The event will be an occasion for RGS Old Boys to revisit the School, meet the Headmaster, Philip Wayne, take a tour of the grounds or just relax in the company of fellow OWs.

Tours begin at 18:30 and we request that guests are seated for dinner at 19:45

You can purchase tickets by cash or cheque

Please note that partners are warmly invited this event.

Booking Form 2017


OWs lend support to RGS Sportsman’s Dinner

RGS celebrated in style at its Annual Sportsman’s Dinner to support RGS Rugby. Some 400 guests, including parents, friends and old boys were treated to an entertaining evening.

Sean Fitzpatrick and All Black legend spoke about his life and experiences with the most successful sports team in history, which was rounded off with a haka! To which he received a standing ovation.

The Headmaster’s welcome and the presentation of representative shirts and 1stXV Captains Cap by Sean Fitzpatrick to some of the senior RGSHW players was truly special. It was amazing and humbling to see so many of our old boys in the room supporting the current crop of RGSHW players, including OW Nick Heath and now renowned rugby commentator.

Barry Williams the master of ceremonies conducted an auction with some fantastic prizes before leaving the room in stitches after his comedy set.

The school would like to thank everyone who made this event such a success.

Desert Island Discs: Kirsty Young interviews OW Jimmy Carr

Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the comedian and television presenter OW Jimmy Carr.

Despite being dyslexic, he got good enough A levels at RGS to study at Cambridge University. In his interview he mentions two inspirational teachers who taught him here at school, Mr Tim Claye and Mr Roger File.

After graduating with a degree in Political Science, and working for a major multinational company in London, Jimmy had what he calls an ‘early midlife crisis’, during which he lost his Catholic faith and was generally unhappy.

He attended lots of therapy courses in an attempt to find out what would make him happier and eventually set out on the road to becoming a comedian.

He quickly got a reputation for his fierce work ethic, heading up annually to the Edinburgh Fringe, touring with a new show virtually every year, and hosting many a Channel 4 panel show. Click here for his interview.

RGS Sportsman’s Dinner: 30 March 2017

Friends of Rugby are delighted to announce the details for the 2017 Sportsman’s Dinner which will be held on Thursday 30th March 2017 in the Queen’s Hall at RGS. Further details on the attached flyer.

 This year All Black legend, Sean Fitzpatrick will speak at the 2017 dinner. With The British & Irish Lions touring New Zealand next summer, nobody will be better placed to highlight the challenges the team will face on this most demanding of assignments. We are also delighted to welcome back the incomparable comedian and long standing friend of the school, Barry Williams, as Master of Ceremonies.

 Ticket prices remain at £75 per head, full tables of 10 or 12 may be booked for £750 or £900 respectively, and reserving a smaller number of places is absolutely fine as you can join another similar table. Demand is likely to be exceptionally strong, and therefore an early indication of interest would be much appreciated.  Once we have received your request we will send details of how to confirm your booking and send payment. To reserve your ticket please contact Mark Iliffe via e mail markiliffe@btinternet.com or call on 07740701606.

 Huge thanks on behalf of all at FRORGS for your continued support for rugby at RGS, and we look forward to welcoming you on March 30th.

OW Matthew Kaner is Radio 3’s new Composer in 3

The RGS musical community are very proud of their alumnus, Matthew Kaner, who left in the early 2000s, as he has been showcased by the BBC in their celebrations of Radio 3’s 70 years of existence. As part of the anniversary, the BBC decided to choose a young composer to be their “embedded composer” for 70 days, or 10 weeks, during which time the composer has to write a short piece each week, to be aired on Breakfast on 3 and In Tune, the early morning programme and the drive home programme.

Matthew already has several impressive composing credits to his name, including works written for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Sinfonietta.