BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
I sat in Chapel yesterday listening to Elgar's 'Nimrod' played sublimely by our Organ Scholar at the end of Evensong. During the prayers we were invited to remember in silence the 156,000 British, US, Canadian and French service who personnel landed on five beaches in Northern France on 6 June 1944. Having reached the crescendo of Nimrod's rousing theme one felt immensely privileged to be sitting in the magnificent surroundings of St George's Chapel reflecting on the bravery of those who have gone before us, both in conflict and peacetime.
"All societies draw on memories that extend further back than the lifetime of its present-day members. The more remote past is not confined to history books and archives; it is present also in popular consciousness" (John Tosh, The Pursuit of History)
Education - the word comes from the Latin 'to lead out' - means that our young people are being prepared for a highly complex world. This is far more complex, we like to think, than the world of our generation and the generation above us. Far from being a binary world, we are preparing children for times of great opportunity and challenge, but also layers of cultural complexities. Having a strong understanding of what is right and wrong will, it can be argued, steer our pupils to making a valuable impact in the world they will inherit.
In reflecting on how our pupils can develop the right knowledge and attitude to be a force for good, a solid base in understanding history and possessing a set of underpinning values is a good starter for ten.
Apart from an inspirational A level teacher, my love for history stems from reading 'Our Island Story', by H.E. Marshall. Written in 1905, the book is a narrative that documents the history of Britain in chronological order from the first Roman Invasion of 55BC to the reign of Queen Victoria. It brings history to life for children, and afford them the opportunity to understand how transformational events over the past 1000 years link together. Extending beyond our shores, an understanding of the Crusades and Holy Wars; the contribution of the Ancient Greeks to shaping society today; American and African History; the Cold War; and other genres relating to different cultures and societies, can be such a rich basis of knowledge to satisfy the immense curiosity our children have. Whatever their chosen paths in life will be (and I know our children will all make exciting and valuable contributions), an understanding of past events - whether this be learning from triumphs, mistakes, blunders, influencers, as well as some of the more obscure figures from our past - will make a small, but not insignificant contribution to shaping their lives and wider contribution to society. Some of you might have listened to a recent episode of 'Desert Island Discs', during which Sr Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:
The reality is that the world is changing very rapidly and the best way to cope with these changes is if we have a very broad foundation. I believe that all science students should learn history, should learn languages and I believe that humanities students should learn a certain amount of science all the way through school".
The other dimension is developing a deep understanding of a set of values. The leading educationalist, Dr. Kurt Hahn, is an example of someone who created an education system (first Gordonstoun, then the 'United World Colleges' and now the 'Round Square Group of Schools') that essentially focused around creating a set of 'ideals' by which pupils learned by:
"I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible denial, and above all, compassion" (Kurt Hahn)
Kurt Hahn's belief that the greatest way to prepare pupils for life was to face life directly, links with the recent publication by the 'World Economic Forum' into the top skills needed to 'future proof' our pupils: 'emotional intelligence, cognitive flexibility, negotiation and service orientation'.
As the organ in St George's Chapel faded away in the last, sober bars of 'Nimrod', my mind wandered from the events of June 1944, to the potential of our girls and boys, and how they will become part of history.
Those of you who have seen the play 'War Horse' might recall the words from the song that begins and ends the production. It is called 'Only Remembered', a song by the folk singer, John Tarns:
"Only the truth in life we have spoken; Only the seed that in life we have sown; These shall pass onwards when we are forgotten; Only remembered for what we have done".
Seventy-five years after D-Day, there is such hope that our children will be remembered for truth, integrity and for sowing true seeds of peace.
We much look forward to seeing many of you at our Fair tomorrow. The Parents Group have worked extremely hard to prepare for what will be an immensely happy day for us all, and our thanks to all our volunteers.
Wishing all St George's families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
Head Master's Commendations
Many congratulations to the following who were awarded Head Master's Commendations in Assembly on Monday:
Jimmy N: for working consistently hard in Music.
Bikram H: for determination and consistent effort, persevering for 18 months in Gym Club learning the 'through vault', which he achieved just before half term.
It has been exciting to watch the work progressing on the new pavilion, with the foundations and main structure up and roof trusses lifted on to the wooden frame over half term. Unfortunately rain stopped play on Friday, but when the weather permits, the roofers will be fitting slates and the windows will be going in soon after, allowing wiring and plumbing to start in earnest. The finished building will be clad in Windsor oak sourced from the Great Park, and the aim of the current schedule is for the building to be complete by the end of term. Keep everything crossed for some good weather to keep this on track!
Our U11s hosted St Piran's on Wednesday and displayed a great competitive game of cricket across both matches.
The U11As produced some excellent powerful bowling which prevented runs being scored. When batting, the girls' good communication and decision making within their pairs led to many runs being scored. Special mention goes to Annabel P and Lucy K for excellent batting and fielding on the day, great positive spirit and their encouragement of other players.
The U11B team also had a very competitive game with some good fielding from Cara V and India K making many catches and demonstrating good concentration on the ball. Great batting from Ally AD and Matilda A led to many runs being scored for the team. Well done to all players!
Well done to the U10 cricket team who were positive throughout their game. Some good batting and decision making throughout the innings resulted resulted in many runs. Special mention goes to Bea A, who displayed excellent batting and was consistently focused when fielding.
The 1st XI (U12) enjoyed a friendly match against Daneshill School during a very busy assessment week. They clearly enjoyed the opportunity to clear their minds of exams and focus on the developing their cricket skills for an afternoon. It was a pleasing performance by all involved and a special mention must go to Tristan U-I for his efforts as captain.
Colts A entertained Bishopgate in a T20 game hosted across the road at Windsor CC. Bishopgate won the toss and put St George’s into bat on a good track. Monty S held his bat finishing the game 26* and precious lower order runs were added by J Evans (15) batting number 11 before STG were bowled out for 69. St George’s bowling attack performed well with a special mention to Harry E, James J and Kyle M, who bowled a consistent line and length. However, they were unable to take the early wickets required to affect the game and Bishopgate won comfortably.
The Colts B travelled to Bishopsgate this week and were excited to take part in the T18 format of the game. Bishopsgate elected to field first, leaving the boys to score an impressive 101 total. Special mention must go to Tommy H who was retired after scoring 25*. The opposition had to start scoring quickly, but struggled due to the outstanding level of bowling from all the fielders and some very consistent wicket keeping from Max C. This was truly a team win and all the boys should be very proud of their performance.
The Colts C side, captained by Jimmy N, had a very close game against Bishopsgate on Wednesday. Both sides bowled very well and kept the run rates low. Despite the best efforts of Owen H and Benji S who ran extremely well between the wickets, the boys ended up five runs short of their total. They should be very proud of how well they bowled and fielded. The aim for the next match is to ensure we are looking to hit the ball into the gaps in the opposition's fielding positions.
Colts Development had a thrilling game against Bishopsgate and ended up four runs short of the total after two hours of cricket. Mr Nicholas was particularly impressed by the improvements to both bowling consistency and running between the wickets.
Fencing Assessment Day
During Half Term Alexander L, George H and Freddie C attended a Fencing Assessment Day in London. The boys take fencing lessons at school and all were thrilled to be awarded a grade passing criteria set by British Fencing. George and Alexander achieved Grade 2 and Freddie achieved Grade 1. Well done to all three!
Pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5, the Chamber Choir, the Choristers and individual instrumentalists have been working very hard to prepare for the Gala Concert on Thursday 20 June. Tickets will be available from the School Office by the end of next week.
Second-hand Uniform Sale
While half term may have been a relaxing affair for some, or a time of balanced revision and fresh air for others, the St George’s Boarding House was busy undergoing a transformation: the junior boys’ beds, mattresses and furniture have been replaced with fresh, contemporary new fittings. We are so pleased that the boys are delighted with the new beds and layout, and look forward to further improvements on the way. If anyone would like to have a look at our new look dorms, please be in touch with Mrs Onions, who would be delighted to show you around.
Many Happy Returns to Millie C, Oscar McD, Alexander B, Cecily M, Edith R, Harry M, Harrison B, Arnav K, Eva R and Summer E who all have birthdays in the coming week.