Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 22nd October 2021
We had a very enjoyable end to the half-term today, with the boys making their way over to College to observe the triennial inspection of the city walls. You may have noticed that New College has rather large medieval city walls bisecting it, with those walls also lining the fantastic garden. When the land was granted to William of Wykeham for the construction of New College in the late fourteenth century, part of the deal was that the College would ensure the walls’ upkeep, and members of the council still turn up periodically to see that this side of the bargain is being upheld. These days it is as much ceremony as it is H&S inspection, and it is great for the boys to be able to see history meeting the current day. Present in the ceremony is the city’s mace, created at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the gold of which was particularly eye-catching for the boys.
It was, I thought, a fitting conclusion to the end of this half term during which we have been thinking carefully about our place in the world, and our place in time (time which has been contorted during Covid-19). While we are ever forward-looking to make sure that the boys are prepared for a world which we can’t really predict, one way to bolster that preparation is to look backwards sometimes – to see where we’ve come from, what works, and what we should learn from. It is also healthy for us all to see that we are temporary guardians of an institution like New College School, working hard to ensure that it is in great shape for future generations who will also be witnessing ceremonies like the inspection of the city walls in ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred years’ time.
Indeed, there has been a lot of hard work over the past seven weeks. We often describe Michaelmas as the ‘motor’ of the year, as it is during this longest of terms that a significant proportion of the boys’ learning takes place. I suspect we have all been struck by how quickly these first weeks of term have gone, and it is great to see that the school still has the same energy and buzz about it now as it did in the first week. Equally, I am sure that the boys and my colleagues have earned themselves a well-deserved rest, so do enjoy some downtime over the half-term break, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the gate in just over a week, rested and raring to go for the remainder of the term.
Have a great break,