Head’s Musings – 17th May 2013

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As is usual at this time of year this week has been a very quiet one in School, although there is very much the sense of the quiet before the storm. That said, it probably has not seemed that quiet to those members of Year 11 and the LVIth who have had public examinations. The School has run on as usual but very much in the background as pupils have gone out of their way to keep the building as quiet as possible for the examination groups. There is, however, a certain sense of excitement building in School as next week is Activities Week for the first three Years.  Their disappearance from School will mean that the Year 10s and the Senior Years are free to concentrate on their examinations and the UVIth are free for last minute revision clinics with their teachers. I understand that there is a plan for the leaders of the various Activities trips to provide entries for the Blog during the week so watch this space for further details as they unfold.

What we have been up to ~ We did manage to squeeze two major events in to the week which has just passed. The Annual Music Competition was held throughout the day on Thursday and produced a wide range of impressive performances ~ as one would expect from our School. The results of the competition will be announced later through the Blog. The annual MHPA Quiz Night was great fun even though it involved, as ever, the ritual mocking of the teachers’ team.

Candidates to Bishop 3 ~ Our Confirmation candidates have now entered their last phase of preparation before the ‘big day’ in Westminster Cathedral on 25th May. They made their confessions to the Chaplain in our Chapel on Thursday after Form Mass. The Confirmation Service is going to be an impressive affair with 3 bishops on duty so it would appear due to the large number of people being Confirmed.

No country for polite people ~ I never cease to be amazed at humanity’s power to turn good things to ill ~ I believe that this is probably an occupational hazard for Historians who spend a great deal of their lives studying the mistakes of others and humanity’s tendency to need to learn on a depressingly regular basis that fire burns by sticking its collective fingers in the flames. The Internet would be a case in point. On the one hand it can be the most wonderful repository of knowledge which provides an opportunity to widen and deepen communications between individuals. On the other it can provide experiences which are frankly toxic and corrosive of the soul. The GSA made me aware of one such depressing instance today, along with the recommendation that I let parents know about it and encourage them to get their daughters to steer well clear of it. Ask fm would appear to be a social networking site where people can write anonymous, unregulated things about any other person on the site. Naturally this has produced, in very many cases, a torrent of vile personal abuse from cowardly individuals who seem to think that it is funny to assassinate the self-confidence of others for no other reason than they can. The owners of the site, two Latvian brothers who make money from advertising, take the view that this is not their responsibility and that people do not have to go on their site to read what people have written about them. Indeed they are right and therefore I would urge all of you in the very strongest terms to ensure that your daughters have nothing to do with this, whilst organisations such as the GSA campaign to have the site shut down. The approach which is taken by the owners is much along the same lines as ‘guns don’t kill people: people kill people’ which seems to me a morally bankrupt stance. Teenagers, particularly girls, are, for the most part, massively vulnerable to this kind of exploitative, harmful nonsense and one should not give them access to something which we know will do them harm ~ in the same way one does not give a baby a bag of razor blades to play with. I think that there is a great research paper to be written about the need for socialisation in relation to electronic communications  and how this is not happening at the moment because it is certainly my observation that people will write things in e-mails or, worse still, in forum threads or chat rooms that they would never dream of staying to the person’s face ~ they would be prevented either by a sense of common decency and a knowledge of what is socially correct, or out of a sense of fear of being punched between the eyes. It seems to me that, at the moment, the Internet is confusing honesty with rudeness, and forgetting that politeness is a sign of civilisation.

And finally as they used to say at the end of News at Ten in an attempt to lighten the mood, I will share with you two new, related, facts I learned this week from one of my colleagues. The first is that there is such a thing, in this country, as a snail poacher (and in the Home Counties to boot!). The second is that there is such a thing as a Snail Reserve Warden, which conjures up all kinds of mental pictures ~ as another member of the Common Room remarked ~ Best job, ever!

With best wishes for a peaceful and perhaps summer-like weekend

 Robert Carlysle

Headmaster 

 

In the next three weeks

 

Monday 20th May Activities week starts for Years 7 – 9

Examinations Week starts for Year 10

A2 Revision Clinics week starts for UVIth

Tuesday 21st May  
Wednesday 22nd may  
Thursday 23rd May  
Friday 24th May Activities Week ends for Years 7 – 9

Examinations Week ends for Year 10

A2 Revision Clinics Week ends for UVIth

Half Term Recess begins

Saturday 25th May Confirmation Service, Westminster Cathedral
Monday 3rd June School re-starts

UVIth Study Leave starts

Tuesday 4th June  
Wednesday 5th June GCSE Art marking
Thursday 6th June Year 10 Art Exam
Friday 7th June Year 10 Art Exam
Monday 10th June Start of Internal Examinations Weeks: Year 7 ~ 9

LVIth Work Experience week starts

Year 10 D of E Expedition Week

Tuesday 11th June 4.30 ~ 5.30pm: U12 & U14 Rounders
Wednesday 12th June AS & A2 Art Marking

6pm: More House Singers

Thursday 13th June AS & A2 Art Marking
Friday 14th June AS & A2 Art Marking

Internal Examinations finish

Year 10 D of E Expedition Week ends

 

The Prayer in the Chapel this week.

In this month of May we have remembered particularly the Blessed Virgin Mary through that most powerful of prayers;

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

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