FOUNDERS' DAY 2014
Welcome to the Mayor Cllr Lynne Hack; to Governors and members of the Board of Management with thanks to them for the time they give to this School. Some people are paid to take decisions. Our Governors and Board Members are not paid to take decisions.
Welcome to colleagues teaching and non-teaching for their time above and beyond.
Welcome to parents who have chosen to entrust their children to this School. A decision as nerve-wracking as buying as house or, for perhaps some gentlemen present, choosing a car.
Finally welcome to pupils. It is you who define a School. It is you, your successes and the way you are seen by those outside the School which define 'Royal' and I am very grateful to you for the way that this School is perceived not only locally but also in a much wider circle from which our boarders are drawn.
Today we have two special guests.
Our visiting speaker it James Priory, who the Headmaster of Portsmouth Grammar School. He is also Chairman of Portsmouth Festivities, Governor of a couple of schools, and the leading light behind the HMC magazine Insight.
I look forward to hearing what he has to say to us.
I would also like to welcome Colonel Jean-Xavier Chabane of the French Air Force. Col Chabane is the Headmaster of Ecole des Pupilles de l'Air and he is here today as part of a visit to arrange closer ties between our two schools.
[The Headmaster presented Col Chabane with the Coat of Arms of the School.]
In 1953 Queen Elizabeth was crowned on 2nd June.
A Coat of Arms was given to us on 11th June.
It has been a great 12 months since last year's Founders' Day
We had 55 students in the Upper Sixth and they achieved 39.8% Grade A*-B in their A Levels last summer. Two students went on to read medicine, 46 went to university and 9 are on a Gap Year, studying Vocational Courses and one is a Diving instructor.
On the Sports Fields: We had Netball teams playing with great success in Emerging Sixth Form schools competition, and in the County Tournament.
There was the first ever match for the Duchess of Gloucester Cup V Gordon's School. This put the girls on a par with boys and their Sovereign's Cup for Rugby. And both lost!
The Year 10 Rugby Team won the Surrey Schools County final 54 - 5. But nobody stopped trying.
In Music there have been some superb concerts. The next is on Wednesday and will be "Dusk" at 8.00 pm.
There have been many Drama productions including the Christmas production. There is another on Thursday next week. Recently we have had the Year 11 and Sixth Form Drama Showcases.
Next Friday is Kent House Prize Giving - and we will goodbye to Ian Rowe who has been at this school for 14 years.
The following Monday is the Prefects Dinner. I look forward to new appointing the Year 11 Prefects and Sixth Form Senior Prefects.
I daren't look any further in my diary.................. but I know that this Saturday afternoon there is an Upper Sixth Psychology A level revision session for 53 pupils.
I do look forward to this summer's GCSE and A level results. We have a Lower Sixth of some 80 students compared to 55 in the Upper Sixth - and we have not just quantity but also quality. We have had the disappointment (or perhaps annoyance) of a delay in the building of the Sixth Form Annexe on Elizabeth, soon to be Cornwall. But we are expanding and there is huge demand of Sixth Form boarding.
50% of this year's Upper Sixth are expected to achieve Grade B above in their A Levels. We have had our first ever successful application to Oxford.
Thank my colleagues, teaching and non-teaching staff for the time, energy and enthusiasm they give to our young people.
A brief thought for parents and all the adults present:
Ann Maguire..................... There are mental health issues among young people. We recognise this and offer a counselling service.
Here's a quote about modern youth: "Our youths have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love to chatter in place of exercise. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents and they gobble up their food."
Socrates writing 2400 years ago.
There are three brief lessons for you young people to draw from what I have just said. [The Headmaster then talked through some case studies]
I am delighted that Colonel Chabane and his wife Carole are able to join us today. I was very proud of a group of Sixth Formers yesterday lunchtime when they presented, in French, to our guests. Of course, Col Chabane and his wife actually speak excellent English.
I mentioned the Sovereign's Cup and Duchess of Gloucester Cup which we did not win. But we tried.
I did mention a successful applicant to Oxford but I did not mention that we had a number of other applicants who were not successful.
I mentioned the 46 who are going on to university. For some, they will not be going to their first choice of university.
In all these three cases pupils dared to try, knowing that they could fail.
I remember a young man with French A Level who took a gap year and set off to France.
Perhaps stupid. Perhaps it was a risk. Yes it offered the chance of failure but it also offered the chance of spectacular success.
To The Upper Sixth Form I say thank you for being the ambitious, delightful young people that you are.
To the Lower Sixth and to the rest of the School I say simply; beat them! Aspire. Try things when you know that you could fail.
And that could be your choice of university, your first choice of career because you may well have several, or that dream that you have always had to walk from John O'Groats to Land's End, or to be an international athlete.
Talking of which, one of our PE teachers, Miss Zoe Shimmin has been selected for British Canoe and Kayak Training Squad for the 2020 Olympics. She faces 6 years of training with no guarantee of being selected, let alone of a medal. That is aspiring and she is a great example for all of you.