Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 28th June 2019
So, the sun has finally shone back here in Oxfordshire, just on cue for pre-prep’s outing today to the Cotswold Wildlife Park. And judging by all the boys’ excitement as they returned this afternoon, they have had a wonderful time, building on their undimmed enthusiasm for ‘all creatures great and small’. Other year groups have had a head-start on the good weather: Year 8 have sizzled all week in Sicily, where I gather inimitable Italian ice cream mixed well with classical and baroque sights, while the French trip for Years 5 and 6 had just the right combination suitable equally for sightseeing and adventure activities, generally escaping “la canicule” (“the dog days”) which enveloped the south of France. Back in the UK, Year 4’s trip to the Malvern Hills was rather wetter, but I’m told it did not diminish the boys’ good humour and determination. In fact, they rather enjoyed the mud! A bit like the crocodiles who were lurking in wait for Year 3 on their outing to Crocodiles of the World. Apart from meeting crocodiles, Year 3 have been honing their artistic skills in activities ranging from drama to dance, from cookery to ceramics. I think they have especially enjoyed having the run of the playground to themselves and being the senior boys at Wednesday’s lunchtime ‘banquet’ with the pre-prep. (All the boys showed exemplary good table manners at that event: the pre-prep sat quite contentedly at the lunch tables for nearly an hour, enjoying the gastronomic and social novelty!) Year 7 have perhaps had the best of the UK weather with their adventures on the Isle of Wight where their teamwork skills and comfort zones have been put to the test in some glorious coastal surroundings. I am most grateful to teaching and support staff who have taken such care in arranging activities week and ensured it has been such an enjoyable and diversely educational time for the boys. As parents will know, school trips these days are no small undertaking and I want to acknowledge here the dedicated professionalism of my colleagues, which is particularly evident in weeks like this.
And a huge thank you, too, to all parents, boys and colleagues who contributed to such a successful Wykeham Day last Saturday. It was good to hear some of our senior musicians playing with some of our recent Old Boys at an excellent concert in the morning and then to have so many pupils and a good number of families playing cricket on Field, including a finely-attired ‘Edwardian’ Mums' team. I’m glad to report that the Headmaster’s Six won the six-a-side smash, although no thanks to the Headmaster! And the Year 8s narrowly beat the Year 7s by three runs in the final over: a nice victory for our departing year group. Lunch was a delicious barbecue, masterminded by the Bennetts of Sandy Lane Farm and there were plenty of delicious cakes on sale thanks to the bakers amongst pupils and parents. As ever, the boys and their form tutors, generously supported by parents, had come up with all sorts of bright ideas for the fête stalls. The day concluded with the final Evensong of term and the Old Boys’ Dinner in the College Hall, to which it was good also welcome a number of former and current parents. It was a great day thanks to everyone pitching in with their support.