Evolution in action

Published on: Friday, May 27, 2022

Yesterday morning 8S gave 18 excellent presentations under the banner of Evolution. They each presented to parents, staff and their peers for about 5 or 6 minutes on questions including: How has the evolution of Coca Cola impacted society?; Which factors have driven the evolution of space rockets since 1945?; How have phones evolved to become an essential part of life?; Should electric cars be part of our future?; How and why have arachnids evolved over time? There were also topics covered such as the evolution of: Disney; Cricket; safety in Formula 1; female artists in the C20th; treatment and prevention of heart disease; Roman Empire; videography; AI; chocolate and so the list went on.

Those lucky enough to be in the audience certainly left the room wiser and fully aware that they had only seen the tip of the iceberg.  The unseen research and filtering of information through a clearly defined process (thank you to those who crafted and supported the framework) provided most of the benefit to the children.  As with most aspects of ‘education’ at this stage it is so much more about the process than the product.  Huge congratulations to all for the quality of the tip we saw indicating that all the unseen work underwater was of a high quality, too.

Talking of evolution, you may have seen the Gazette have published a brief article about 70 years of a school on this site.  Today, whilst Mr Watson gave the children a flavour of 70 years of life with Queen Elizabeth II as our monarch, I shared with the children how the school has altered and evolved over the same 70 years.

All under the banner of King’s College, there have been changes in location for some components, redeployment of space, changes of name, a move to co-education, changes in age range, alterations in boarding offering, all of which are adjustments relative to the situation and all of which have brought overarching benefits.  The school on this site opened in 1952 with about 90 boys in just the main building plus the two quads. Today we have over 300 children with tremendous facilities and, crucially, still all the magnificent space and rural grounds that make for a childhood paradise.  We live in a world of change, the children will see much change in their lives, too, and embracing this reality as a positive thing is not only an imperative for future survival, it is wonderfully liberating and emboldening, too.

Our actual birthday is in October and so, as we did ten years ago, and, I understand, ten years before that, we will have a day focused on our own history and hold a service of re-dedication.

In the present, we salute Her Majesty and look forward to her Jubilee celebrations next week whilst valuing our own past and look forward to future evolutionary change with confidence.

Please click here to see the rest of this week's newsletter


Published on: Friday, May 20, 2022

Mr Biggs, Headmaster at the College, came to take assembly here for the final time as he ends 15 years in the HM Study. He spoke about how former pupils return over the years with much fondness in their hearts, he spoke about his own warm memories of schools he has both studied or been a teacher at and he explained that the word alumnae, often used to describe people who belong to a previous school, derivates from the Latin word alere meaning to nourish. Nourishing, cultivating, feeding, growing ourselves and each other is very definitely a primary focus of our time together at King’s and so he was certainly leaning on an open door and may have spotted several gently nodding heads around the room.  We all need a feeding station and they say you are what you eat.

The Union Flag is flying high on the flag pole and we are a week away from celebrating both our own and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilees after 70 years of service. The Queen’s celebrations will head on into half term and it may be that you are a big part of some plans in your area to mark the record breaking tenure.  89% of the UK population is under 70 and hence have only known life under the reign of one monarch – Elizabeth II is a constant in the vast majority of people’s lives here.

At the very start of their nourishing and tenure here at King’s are the 2 year olds and I was on a walk with them shortly after Mr Bigg’s assembly.  We were out looking for different flower types hoping to match them to the pictures we had. I have to say, there are lots of very beautiful sights around the site with both wild and cultivated flowers really coming to the fore.

There will be more flowers around this weekend when two pupils who have both benefitted from nourishment at King’s get married here.  One went all the way through the whole King’s experience and the other started at Year 9 where they met.  No doubt there will be a large number of former pupils in the gathering and I very much hope they all have fond memories of their time here. We wish them hearty congratulations, a joyous day tomorrow and many happy years together.

We had another former pupil here recently who was in fact a contemporary of Mr Rudkin – another product of King’s. She saw me at the end of her wander around and said how nice it had been to see familiar places and also that “…I bumped into Mr Thomas and Jamie on my way round”.  The difference in what she called them made me chuckle as one will always be a teacher to her and the other just a mate in her year.

Please click here to see the rest of this week's newsletter

The view from here

Published on: Friday, May 13, 2022

We have had a lot of visits this week and I have met a lot of new people – and what a treat it always is.  Greater insights, broader mindedness and an affirmation of purpose here are amongst the benefits.

The visits are the combined result of interviewing potential joiners to the staff team and meeting a lot of prospective parents (plus children obvs!).  There are plenty of the latter booked into my diary for the weeks ahead which is, of course, always a positive position.  In fact, there will be more children here in September than there were when we started last September. For example, the Nursery has very few sessions available even at this stage in the year and it’s looking as if Year 7 will need an extra class in it.

As well as a large number of new children, it is likely we will have up to 10 new faces on the staffing side, most of which you already know and I’ll share a few updates once all is clear. 

There is still a good deal of this year to complete but, rather like Janus at the changing of a calendar year, I have found myself doing a little bit of looking in both directions along a timeline recently.  Whilst we’re proud of the past and the present is to be lived to the full, the view ahead is an exciting one, too...

Please click here to see the rest of this week's newsletter


Published on: Friday, May 6, 2022

In our busy lives it is always helpful to retain perspective and this week we have had a couple of occasions that have provided just such opportunities.

We had the School Council (Governors) with us yesterday and having a set of objective eyes and ears amongst us is so useful – rather like when someone else makes a positive comment about your own children where you may have fallen into the trap of focussing on their shortcomings.  They very much enjoyed time with children, sitting in classes, being in the woods, dining with them and also chances to chat to staff about all manner of things. We have several Council members who are very experienced educators and they bring a great deal of wisdom, common sense and support, yet are not worried about addressing matters for attention through supportive critique. I am very grateful for all they do across our age range 2-18.

Earlier in the week I was at the Heads’ conference for all boarding schools nationally and as with all sectors no doubt, one of the more beneficial components is to exchange views, situations, anecdotes, case studies, trends and generally chew the cud with your peers.  All the time you are subliminally collating intel and also benchmarking against your own setting.  Not denying that in a world of some uncertainties the strains and stresses do not exist, and also fully accepting that it is not always true for everyone, I certainly felt that from all aspects of child, parent, staff and whole school we are in a good place: happiness in the community, collective endeavour, richness of experience, positive outcomes and healthy mental state.

I say again, no organism of human beings is perfect – we are imperfect animals – but it has been reassuring to touch base recently with external sounding boards and sense we continue along the right lines.

Please click here to see the rest of this week's newsletter