The Headmaster's Weekly Routh Address




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19th February

Last Updated: 19/02/2018 15:16:49

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 19th February 201
8

Reading - Excerpt from ‘Red Dog’ by Louis de Bernieres

It was a red-hot day in February, which in Australia is the middle of the summer. … Even the red earth looked less red.

Through this ungentle landscape galloped Tally Ho, raising his own little plume of red dust in the wake of the greater plume raised by Jack Collins' car. His whole body thrilled with the pleasure of running, even though the day was at white heat, and even though he had to blink his eyes against the dust.

He was young and strong, he had more energy than his muscles could make use of, and the world was still fresh and wonderful. He understood the joy of going full tilt to achieve the impossible, and therefore he ran after his owner's car as if he could catch it with no trouble at all. As far as he was concerned, he really did catch it, because after seven kilometres there it was, parked outside the caravan, its engine ticking as it cooled down, having given up the chase, too tired to continue.

As for Tally, he could have run another seven kilometres, and then another again, and caught the car three times over. When he arrived home he came leaping through the door, headed straight for his bowl of water, and slurped it empty. Then, his tongue hanging out and leaving drips along the lino, he went back outside and lay down in the shade of a black mulga tree.

Thought For The Week
Welcome back to the second half of the Lent Term and special good wishes to those who celebrated the Chinese New Year over the break. As many will know, last Friday saw the start of the latest Year of the Dog. The dog being number eleven of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac calendar. Like all the others, the dog is said to have certain characteristics that are imparted upon people born in that year. For example, those born in the Year of the Dog will – apparently - be very loyal people. Unlikely to ever abandon their friends, family or work. Honest and just. Popular in social circles.

Whether you believe that, whether you believe that one 12th of the world’s population share the same characteristics because they were born in the same year, is a matter of personal opinion.
No different than whether you believe that one in 12 of us all are the same because we were born in the same monthly star signs of the Western zodiac. I once had a friend whose Friday afternoon task as a reporter for a small newspaper was to invent the weekly horoscopes for the Sunday edition of the paper. And invent, she did. She didn’t know astrology from astronomy, but took great delight in telling Virgo or Scorpio what their week ahead held. Her editor’s instructions were “just keep them vague, positive and flattering.”

Back to the Year of the Dog though. Regardless of whether you believe in such things, there is no doubt that certain animals do display particular characteristics. Or at least, we have a slightly arrogant habit of imposing what are purely human behaviours onto animals. What is called anthropomorphism – giving animals human traits. Word for the day.

So we say that cats are aloof, rats are cunning, donkeys are stubborn, and dogs, as you heard in the reading, are tenacious. The heroic Red Dog, Tally Ho, chasing his master’s car relentlessly through the burning heat of the Australian desert. Never giving up, never believing he wasn’t actually going to win. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the word we use for such persistence is “dogged.”

Which prompts me to tell you of a dog I once knew. I could say that Tipsy belonged to a mate of mine but in fact, I don’t think she really “belonged” to anyone. She did her own thing, it just happened to be in our company. The most ungainly animal you have ever seen, she was a mongrel, a bitser. Jet black. My friend used to tell people she was called Tipsy because the very tip of her nose was white. The truth was, we called her Tipsy because she ran like she had been drinking.

We used to run a lot back then, my mate and I. And Tipsy came with us, loping along, cannoning into things. Lampposts, rubbish bins, cars, old folk in walkers, she careered off things like a drunk staggering home from a party. She was such a menace around suburban streets that we took to running with her in a nearby forest. Which was less of a threat to innocent civilians but soon became just as much of a nuisance because Tipsy did her own thing. While we ran along the narrow forest trails, she hived off into the bush and disappeared. No amount of whistling would bring her back. She had things to do that didn’t involve us and we were made to wait.

So my mate invented a solution. It was called the floating anchor. He fixed a long rope to Tipsy’s collar and on the other end, he tied a heavy branch. As she ran along the trail, this just bounced along harmlessly behind her. But as soon as she shot off into the undergrowth, the anchor became tangled in the bushes and she had to stop until we unhooked her.

Now, before you start accusing me of animal cruelty, I need to say that Tipsy actually quite enjoyed the floating anchor. Or she looked like she did. Anthropomorphism perhaps? Just like Red Dog in that reading, she genuinely seemed to think we were making things harder for her as a challenge. As a mark of respect for her abilities. She seemed to run harder dragging a log behind her. She would bound along as close as she could get to the edge of the path, testing where the limits were before she got fouled up. It was a genius solution. Until one day.

A day when we were running up in a part of the forest which, unbeknownst to us, was being used by the Army for training exercises. Here we are, labouring up a hill, Tipsy out of sight ahead of us. We reach the crest, all low scrub and thick gorse. We stop to catch our breath. Suddenly, an entire platoon of heavily camouflaged soldiers rises up from concealed positions in the bushes around us. A sergeant asks my mate whether we’ve seen the enemy patrol they are waiting to ambush. Then suddenly, there’s pandemonium. Soldiers yelling commands, diving for cover. Guns are trained down a heavily forested slope where something is coming straight for them. They can’t see it, but it’s big and, even though its coming uphill, its fast. And its cutting metre-wide swathe through dense bush as it advances. You can see ferns, bracken, even small trees, slapping down behind it. Disappearing in a straight line, as if some maniac in a miniature bulldozer is on a suicide mission towards them. Fingers are on triggers, the squaddies are petrified and, in the tense silence, my mate says “Please don’t shoot my dog.”

As much as she exasperated me, I have always admired Tipsy’s tenacity. She simply never gave up. Obstacles were just a new game to her. There are times in our lives when we could all do with some plain, simple doggedness. These coming weeks may be just such a time for you. Sixth Form, facing important mocks that call for the hard grind of unrelenting revision.

Sportsmen and women, nearing the end of your seasons, needing to plug on despite injury or tiredness. Or those battling with a musical instrument that seems too hard to master. In an age of overwhelming temptation and distraction, you would do well to find the self-discipline to just stick at something until it is complete. Because sticking at something is more than half the battle.

Success at school and, indeed, in life, has less to do with intelligence and more to do with perseverance. So this week, I say, make use of the new Year of the Dog. Become dogged in all you do. Be persistent and tenacious and believe that you can actually beat the odds. Horoscopes and star signs and zodiacs offer the seductive promise that you have certain attributes by virtue of when you were born. The truth is far simpler – and harder. You can be anything you put your mind to. Keep that in mind when the going gets tough this term.

Presentations/Announcements
House Music Competitions
An impressive 78 of you took part in the House Music Competitions. A superb day of music-making with all of the Houses being represented great skill and aplomb. It was a particular pleasure to see so many pupils and staff there in support and I commend you all for attending.
The prizes were awarded as follows:
Ensemble Competition
3rd place School House
2nd place Hazeldene
1st place Housman Hall

In the Solo Competition
3rd place Mulan Yang of Oakley
2nd place Vincent Li of Lyttelton
1st place Jude Wynter of Walters

Rugby
Congratulations to our U16 rugby team for their victory over Solihull school, winning the North Midland U16 Cup final. It was a game which hinged on some heroic defence, with the boys finishing deserved winners 19-12. Well done and I invite the captain forward to receive the trophy.

Cricket
Well done to the Girls cricket team who finished runners up at the County indoor finals. There was an excellent team spirit throughout the tournament with exceptional fielding to run several opponents out. I would like to invite the captain to receive the trophy.

International Honours

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the following have been selected to represent their country.
Morgan French selected for the England U17 rugby squad,
Oliver Lawrence selected to play for England U20’s vs Scotland this Friday night (possibly televised).
Sam Osborne selected again to represent England in Marseilles in April.
Siena Horton who has not only been chosen for the Great Britain ski team she has also been selected for the England U16 hockey squad.

Review
Biology
Congratulations to Nikita Bedov has made it to the next round of the Senior Biology Olympiad (top 400 students in the country)

Chinese New Year
In a nice touch of cultural sharing, UIV pupils learning EAL went to Bromsgrove Pre-Prep and Fairfield First School to present Chinese New Year to year 2 to 4 students.

Basketball

Unfortunately, the 1st team lost narrowly 61-56 against Alcester Grammar School in the last 16 national cup match. A disappointing result but well done to the team in reaching this stage.

Cross Country
At the prestigious King Henry VIIIth relays the boys team finished 33rd out of 50 teams. Whilst pride of place goes to the girls’ team who finished 4th just missing out on a podium place. Congratulations to Abi Saker who recorded the 5th fastest time overall.

Congratulations also to the following who have been selected to represent Herefordshire and Worcestershire at the English Schools championships. Natalie Hatfield – Junior Girls; Orla Walker – Inter Girls; Abi Saker and Anastasia Korovina – Senior Girls and Charles Sapwell – Senior Boys.

Hockey
Congratulations to the Girls U15A team who beat Hurstpierpoint College 3-0 in the ¼ final of the Independent Schools cup. They now play Reigate Grammar School in the semi-final.

Netball
Well done to the U14 A, B and C teams who recorded wins in the matches played against Kings High Warwick.

Squash

The senior team beat St Edwards School, Oxford 4-1.

Swimming
Well done to Seb Perry who won a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle at the County Championships.

Preview
Mock examinations this week for UVI, LVI and V Form ALP students.

We have a visiting speaker from Leicester University on Tuesday 20 February. Learn more about a great local red brick university from 1.25-2.00pm in the LRC Lecture Theatre. Please email Mrs Ashcroft for a seat.

We are looking forward to the Cultures Connect concert on March 3rd more acts are needed. Please contact Mrs Boonnak.

Would you please stand as we say together the Grace.




5th February 2018

Last Updated: 05/02/2018 16:35:47

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 5th February 2018


Reading
An excerpt from ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’, by Jon Ronson

Well, I’m not fine,’ Justine said. ‘I’m really suffering. I had a great career and I loved my job and it was taken away from me and there was a lot of glory in that. Everybody else was happy about that. I cried out my bodyweight in the first twenty-four hours. It was incredibly traumatic. You don’t sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night forgetting where you are. All of a sudden you don’t know what you’re supposed to do. You’ve got no schedule. You’ve got no…..’ she paused, ‘….purpose.’

I’m thirty years old. I had a great career. If I don’t have a plan, if I don’t start making steps to reclaim my identity and remind myself of who I am on a daily basis, then I might lose myself. I’m single. So it’s not like I can date, because we google everyone we might date. So that’s been taken away from me too. How am I going to meet new people? What are they going to think of me?’

Thought For The Week
The words you just heard were spoken by a young woman named Justine Sacco. The name is probably not familiar to you now, but I’m almost certain you would have known it once. Just five years ago, in fact. December 2013, when Justine was not that much older than you are now. She had left school, studied hard, worked her way into a dream job with a PR company. She had a good life, friends and a supportive family. Some of that family lived in South Africa and so, for the Christmas break, she was flying to visit them.

Like most of you, Justine had a social media presence. Instagram and Snapchat were fairly new in 2013, so apart from Facebook, Justine’s main platform was Twitter. She was in PR, so it served her well. Not that many people read her tweets. She only had 170 followers, mainly friends and work colleagues.

Her tweets weren’t anything special. Let’s face it, very few are. I’ve read a selection of hers, mostly they were attempts to be wry or funny. As with most people, the things Justine posted online were intended to get people to like her, to think her funny and clever and worth following. Nothing wrong with that, we all want to be liked. Although if you seriously believe that someone you have never met clicking a button called LIKE actually means you are liked, you probably need help.

Anyway, like many people, Justine tried to be sharp and acerbic and witty. That dry, deadpan, type of humour that people aim for on Twitter. She was flying from New York to Cape Town and I suppose what she really wanted was for everyone to know that she was a successful young adult who was actually still a bit excited about going on a long haul flight. But rather than just say so, she was tweeting the odd comment along the way. Little jokes, intended to be clever observations whilst still reminding people where she was.

On the first leg from New York she saw a German man and tweeted “Weird German dude: you’re in first class. Its 2014. Get some deodorant.”

She landed at Heathrow and tweeted “Chilli - cucumber sandwiches – bad teeth. Back in London.” Not particularly funny, a bit unkind. But just the sort of throw away remark millions of people post every hour of every day, right?

And then, as she was waiting to start the final leg of her journey, she tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white.” And pressed send. Half an hour later, slightly disappointed that her little joke had drawn no responses from her friends, she boarded the plane for the long flight to Cape Town.

A journalist who interviewed Justine later wrote:
“I imagined her feeling a bit deflated about this – that sad feeling you get when nobody congratulates you for being funny, that black silence when the Internet doesn’t talk back. It was an 11-hour flight. She slept. When it landed she turned on her phone. Straight away there was a text from someone she hadn’t spoken to since high school. It simply said “I’m so sorry to see what’s happening to you.” She looked at it, baffled.”

And then her phone started to explode. As she sat on the runway at Cape Town Airport, a second text popped up: “You need to call me immediately.” It was from her best friend, Hannah. “You’re the number-one worldwide trend on Twitter right now.”

We hear the phrase “went viral” all the time today. That’s exactly what happened to Justine’s tweet as she slept, off-line and oblivious. Remember her 170 Twitter followers? By the time her plane’s undercarriage hit the tarmac in Cape Town, retweets were in the millions and responses exceeded 100,000.

As you might imagine, they weren’t pleasant. In fact, I worked hard to find even a small handful that I could even consider sharing this morning to make my point.

“How did Justine Sacco get a PR job? Her level of racist ignorance belongs on Fox News. AIDS can affect anyone.”

“Die, you racist *bleep*” was about as tame as they get.

Most are so much worse. Death threats, graphic descriptions of violence against her. Against her family. Angry, outraged, obscene. Tens of thousands of people who didn’t know her and were never likely to, saying profane and terrifying things. In public. As for the few that did know her personally:
“I am employed in Justine’s company and I don’t want her doing communications on our behalf ever again. Ever.”

Then, from her actual employers, on the company’s official site: “This is an outrageous, offensive comment. Employee in question currently unreachable on an international flight.”

Which sparked a new huge outpouring of voyeuristic glee as people tweeted from all over the world at what was about to happen when she landed.

“Fascinated by the Justine Sacco train wreck. Its global and she’s apparently ‘still on a plane’.”
“All I want for Christmas is to see Justine Sacco’s face when her plane lands and she checks her inbox.”
“Justine Sacco lands in about 9 minutes, this should be interesting.”

“We are about to watch the Justine Sacco *bleep* get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.”

More frightening still, the boundary between the virtual and the real world got crossed. Twitter users in America started calling for users in South Africa to go to the airport for her arrival. To post photos of her reaction. To shame her even more. Some did. A Twitter user called Zac posted her photograph with the caption: “Yup, Justine Sacco HAS in fact landed at Cape Town International. She’s decided to wear sunnies as a disguise.” That image went viral too, as did every photo that had been publicly available on her Facebook, and those tagged on her friends’ Facebook, and her LinkedIn, and her company’s website. In 11 hours Justine Sacco had gone from being a nondescript, relatively unimportant and anonymous young woman to being one of the most hated people on the planet. All because of one idle, spur-of-the-moment tweet.

Now, let’s be very clear. What she posted was appalling. Whether she was trying to parody racism, be ironic or just trying to shock a few friends with an attempt at edgy humour, she was way out of line. AIDS is a global tragedy, racism is abhorrent. Her tweet wasn’t funny and it wasn’t excusable.

But who amongst you, sitting here this morning, can honestly say that they have never sent something risqué or in bad taste or simply WRONG to friends online?

A search of Google AdWords will tell you this: In October 2013, only 30 people googled Justine Sacco’s name. In November 2013, she was also only googled 30 times. In the 11 days from her flight to South Africa on 20 December until New Year’s Day, Justine Sacco was googled 1,220,000 times. As she returned home to face the New Year, her life was in tatters.

She was smart enough to do the right thing as soon as she saw what was happening online. Straight away, she tweeted repeated apologies:
“Hey Guys, just landed in South Africa. I sincerely apologise for my ignorant tweet and hope you guys can forgive me.” And then:
“I was stupid for posting that tweet and beg all of your forgiveness. I tried to make a joke but it back-fired on me.” And then:
“Again, I apologise to anyone offended and I didn’t mean for this to get so big. I will take the consequences responsibly. Sorry for everything.”
But to no avail – the outrage and abuse kept flowing. Later, when she had returned from what must have been the worst holiday ever, she was still tweeting, but now it was:
“Just stop. Please. I am sobbing right now through trembling fingers. I. Am. Finished.” And:
“My family is done with me. I’m just alone in my hotel room with nothing, Absolutely nothing. I’m done. I’m shot. I’m finished.” And:
“I’m seriously having panic attacks wondering if someone is going to harm one of my family members. My life is ruined already. Are you happy?”

You get the message. Losing her job (she was immediately fired), her reputation, and the support of friends and family was the least of her worries.

As you heard in the reading, she cried constantly, suffered anxiety. Her identity was gone, she could not even date without fear. The torrent of hatred and online abuse took a huge toll on her mental health, which in turn affected her physical well-being.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 6th February, is Safer Internet Day. Most years, we focus on keeping yourself safe from dangerous people online. Predators, who pose as boys or girls you may fancy in order to prey upon you. The perils of sexting. Fraudsters engaged in identity theft. The usual suspects, people who aim to do you harm.

This year, I say, think about the harm you can do to yourself, without any evil monster lurking in the shadows. Think about the way that the anonymity of the internet gives strangers the power to attack your self-esteem if, in an unguarded moment, you give them licence to do so.

Think about the fact that a moment of impetuousness, a bad taste joke, or a regrettable comment that doesn’t really represent the real you, can be taken out of context and shared with an exponential number of people around the globe.

Think about the reality that what you say to anyone online, you say to everyone. Do not be seduced by the promises of privacy statements or auto-delete, nothing, NOTHING, is ever private online.

We use Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat to try and amplify the best bits of ourselves. But the internet is a megaphone without a filter. It will just as happily amplify your failings too. You can be liked, but you can be hated too. So tomorrow, even just for a moment, give some thought to how it would feel if your name was Justine Sacco. A name that everyone suddenly knew, for all the wrong reasons. Be safe.

Presentations/Announcements
Senior House badminton:
Senior Boys A competition:
2nd equal - Elmshurst and School
1st place - Housman Hall

Senior Boys B competition:
2nd place - Elmshurst
1st place – Wendron Gordon

Senior Girls A competition:
2nd place – Hazeldene
1st place – Housman Hall

Senior Girls B competition:
2nd place - Oakley
1st place – Mary Windsor

County Badminton Finals

Our Boys U16 Girls U16 and Boys U14 teams represented the district in the county finals. Congratulations to all three teams who won the tournament and will now progress to the regional finals.

Physics Olympiad
Congratulations to Youyang Zhao who achieved a Gold award for placing in the top 50 of the British Physics Olympiad.

House Cross Country
Junior Boys:
3rd – Wendron Gordon
2nd – Walters
1st – Lyttleton

Junior Girls:
3rd – Oakley
2nd – Thomas Cookes
1st – Hazeldene

Senior Boys:
3rd – Walters
2nd – School
1st – Wendron Gordon

Senior Girls:
3rd – Oakley
2nd – Thomas Cooke
1st – Mary Windsor

Bromsgrove Service
The following pupils are invited to come and receive their Tennis Sports Leaders’ award:
Joe Colebrook, Seb Atkinson, Thomas Reynolds, Will Upton, Edwin Wagstaff, Pearce Childs

Swimmers
Our elite swimmers competed in the Warwick 100's, a tough competition with 8 schools competing. All swam well, with the performances of the afternoon going to Oliver Brown in the U14 100m breaststroke and Paulina Geus in the U18 100m butterfly, who both overcome strong opposition to attain gold. 

Debating
On Friday evening, Madelaine Barber-Fray and Matthew Hegarty competed in the regional finals of the Oxford University schools debating competition. Following challenging debates in which the team had to justify both banning private schools, and legalising all drugs, Madelaine and Matthew qualified for the national final to be held next month. An outstanding evening of debating.  

Review

Music Department
Two more successful concerts last week, the first on Tuesday featuring a first outing for our superb Girls’ Choir’s. If you missed it, you missed out – but do not worry, our YouTube channel is already offering you the chance to catch up.

And then on Friday, a productive String Chamber Workshop ended in a performance of trios and quartets demonstrating all they had learned. Well done to all who performed.

Flourishing Fiver
The Valentine’s Roses sale has raised over £300 for Primrose Hospice. Thank you to all the romantics amongst you who supported the their fundraising.

Robotics

Well done also to the Robotics team who did very well on Wednesday, reaching the semi-finals of the regional competition. That being the best result we have had in the last three years.

Turning to sport:
Badminton
The Senior Girls’ team narrowly lost against Cheltenham Ladies College.

Basketball
Well done to the U14 Basketball team who finished 3rd in the County finals. The U16 team performed extremely well, only losing narrowly to Nottingham Academy. Meanwhile, the U18’s beat Sir Thomas Rich’s School 45-37.

Cross Country

Our cross country runners all ran well at Worksop on Saturday afternoon, but particular praise must go to the Girls’ team who finished as follows to win the competition – Emily Gittoes 13th, Lena Siller 9th, Orla Walker 4th, Abi Saker 3rd and Natalie Hatfield 1st.

Fencing
At the West Midlands Age Group Epee Competition, Artem Veprev fenced well all day making it all the way to the final of the under 16 boys event. He finished 2nd in a strong field. Meanwhile, Ada Tylove attended her first competition and finished 3rd. Both Artem and Ada therefore qualify to the British Youth Championships National Age Group Finals in Sheffield in May. Congratulations to you both.


Football
In the weekend matches against Princethorpe we enjoyed a good 3-2 away win for the U15A, whilst the 1st X1 had much the better of a 1-1 draw in a very good game of football.

Hockey
The U14 team beat Malvern College 2-0.
Well done to both the U16 and U14 Boys’ teams who have qualified for the Midland finals.
The U16A and U14B teams beat Denstone College
The U15A team also won against the same opposition in the National Independent Schools Cup.

Netball

Some good wins midweek against Solihull school and five teams all won their matches in the block fixture against Oundle.

Preview
Lupton are holding a charity cake sale today in the LRC.
Remember that tomorrow period 1 is the Whole School Eucharist, with the U6th attending normal lessons.

This Thursday sees the finals of the House Music Competition. A 4.00pm start for the ensembles and groups category; then 7.00pm for the soloists. All performers need and value your support – please speak to your Houseparents about obtaining a ticket to come and watch.

Student Magazine
The new issue of 201 is out soon; another excellent production. The team is now looking for contributions for their next issue, with the theme of Equality and the prompt, ’What does equality look like?’ Please send your contributions to Alia or Aled before the end of February.

Would you please stand as we say together the Grace.



29 January 2018

Last Updated: 30/01/2018 14:58:54

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 29th January 2018


Reading (Katharina Knopp)

From Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence
by Debbie Ford

How many times have you felt yourself shrink?

How many times have you made yourself small enough to fit into some role that you wanted no part of?

How many times have you kept your mouth shut when you wanted to scream loudly, or handed over your power to someone who didn’t have your best interests at heart?

How many times have you succumbed to an impulsive or addictive behaviour rather than making a clear-minded choice?

How many times have you told yourself, "I can't. I'm not strong enough. I'm not courageous or confident enough to be all that I desire to be?"

Every day we are confronted with hundreds of choices that either make us feel confident, strong, and worthy, or rob us of the things we desire the most. Paralyzing fears, repressed self-confidence, and untapped courage are the obstacles that prevent us from making powerful choices—choices that are in concert with our best interests and deepest desires.


Thought For The Week

Good morning.

It is the start of another busy week, in which you will each make a thousand decisions about what to do or say, or not do, or not say. So, for a moment before it starts, let me invite you to consider acts of courage. Not the big ones, not even the middle sized ones. Just the small, seemingly minor, everyday ones. Acts of courage so small that if you didn’t take them, nobody would really notice or care.

Courage is often associated with high drama and the risk physical pain of course. I grew up on a diet of war movies, books about wilderness adventure and tales of polar exploration. In the mind of a young boy, courageous acts tended to involve strolling calmly out into heavy machine gun fire to retrieve your hat. Or crossing a swirling river on a raft made of live alligators. Or eating your own frostbitten fingers in order to survive in a snow cave. Boys’ Own sort of stuff.

Courage wasn’t courage unless it involved the certain prospect of mangled bones and rivers of blood. If you died in the process, that just made you even braver. My mother despaired when my brothers and I limped in with endless injuries. We just wondered why we weren’t greeted as heroes.

I don’t mean to make light of acts of physical courage. Every year, we commemorate brave men and woman in the armed forces who put their lives on the line for other people. Five Old Bromsgrovians won this country’s ultimate badge of courage – the Victoria Cross – during the World Wars. We honour their courage and so we should. But the reality is, few of us today will find ourselves in those types of situations, where needing to bravely risk life and limb will be called upon. The big acts of courage don’t come our way often and thankfully so.

I suppose the closest to opportunities for physical courage that ordinary people like you and I might face occur in sport. The fly-half who spies some slobbering, 18 stone opposition forward thundering down the paddock and lines him up for a tackle, knowing “this is going to hurt”.

Or the Hockey defender, rushing out to block a short corner penalty, knowing they risk a high velocity shot at close range, with nothing but a face mask and some lycra to protect them.

Basketball lay-ups risk collisions, gymnasts risk torn muscles, runners risk exhaustion. Sport often calls for physical courage.

But there are more ways than the physical to get hurt, aren’t there? In our modern world, threats to our reputation, our career, our friendships, pride or emotions; all can be equally painful.

The first young actress who stood up and accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse knew she was putting her entire career at risk. The senior journalist who challenged the BBC over a lack of pay equity not only risked her job, she ended it, when she resigned in protest.

For many of you, taking a stand can be socially dangerous. The courage to say no when everyone else is saying yes can lead to being ostracised. It takes courage to take a risk but sometimes it takes even more courage to say no to risky behaviour. Who is braver, the person who accepts the dare of trying something illegal or immoral, or the person who refuses, knowing the social stigma that might bring?

Those in leadership roles know what I’m talking about. House or School Monitors, who have had the courage of their convictions to uphold the School’s values and expectations, even if it risks making them unpopular with their peers. So too, those of you who have stood up to a bully, or called out racism, or refused to blindly turn away or passively accept something you know isn’t right. That all takes courage.

Our courage is most often challenged when we are forced to react. Making a tackle, fronting a bully, saying no to something illicit; the risk is immediate. The choice confronts us and we have to react, make an instant call.

But there is another type of courage, the smaller, less immediately threatening sort. That is the choice to proactively step beyond where you are comfortable, without being forced too. And those small opportunities for courage present themselves daily.

Like the sixty-one Fourth Formers who competed for their Houses in House Drama last week. I watched you with great respect. Some were known performers, but most were simply ordinary pupils willing to take a risk. People brave enough to put aside their natural fears of being embarrassed or laughed at, to have a go for their House.

Mark Twain once said, “Courage is not the lack of fear, it is the acting in spite of it.” He meant acting in the wider sense of course, but on the Routh and Cobham stages last week, I thought that quote was pretty accurate.

It is no easy thing to stand on a stage and perform, especially if acting is not your passion. It’s amazing how self-conscious even the most confident person can feel when standing in front of an audience. Think how you felt during House Song, and you were in a crowd. Each of those Fourth Formers could just as easily have kept their head down when their House Parent called for volunteers. Yet they exercised a small but significant act of courage and for that, I commend each of them.

Those same small acts of courage offer themselves every day in a thousand ways in this School. We also enjoyed the superb Scholars Recital concert last week, where even seasoned performers took risks in selecting risky pieces to play. One wrong note and their credibility as a scholar was threatened, yet they pushed themselves.

Many seniors will debate for their Houses today, even though they may not be natural public speakers. That takes courage.

There are those amongst you who are naturally introverted, who don’t like the spotlight in a class, yet who force themselves to ask questions or offer answers because they know that’s what they must do to achieve their academic goals. That takes courage.

So to each of you, at the start of another busy Bromsgrove week, I say look to take the chances you will get to be courageous in your choices and respect others when they do the same.


Presentations/Announcements

House Drama:
To acknowledge the end result of those courageous and entertaining performances then, the excellent adjudication of Mr Dinnen saw a special Award to Dan Goodwin, Best Actor Awards to Kiera Hughes and Frankie Mellor, and Runner Up House Award to Oakley.

This morning I would like to re-present the ultimate award, that for Best Play, to Hazeldene and I invite the Hazeldene Drama Captain to receive the trophy.

Swimming:
On Friday we held our largest invitational swimming relays to date. 86 teams competed for the titles. Bromsgrove competed well making all finals. However, the performance of the day has to go to the Senior Boys in the 4 x 50m freestyle relay where we won gold.

I would like to invite the team forward to collect their medals and trophy.

Netball
Yesterday we hosted the West Midland netball finals, with our teams having qualified in all three age groups. The U16’s played well but did not progress from the group stage where they finished third. The U14’s won their group, but unfortunately lost in the semi-final to a strong Wrekin College team. The U18’s won their group and semi-final, before going on to beat Wrekin College 18-10 in the final. Which means they have been crowned West Midlands Champions and I would like to invite the team forward to collect their medals and the trophy.

House Table Tennis:

Senior Boys' competition
A competition:
3rd place – School House
2nd place – Wendron Gordon
1st place – Housman Hall

B Competition:
3rd place – School House
2nd place – Lyttelton
1st place – Housman Hall

Senior Girls' Competition
A competition:
3rd place – Thomas Cookes
2nd place – Hazeldene
1st place – Housman Hall

B Competition:
3rd place – Hazeldene
2nd place – Mary Windsor
1st place – Housman Hall

A clean sweep for Housman Hall and I invite the captains forward to collect their trophies.


Review

Scholars’ Recital:
Last Thursday, we enjoyed the annual Music Scholars’ Recital. A thoroughly enjoyable concert thanks to the quality of our scholars and the fabulous acoustic of the Concert Hall. My congratulations to the performers, each of whom thoroughly deserves their title.

Football:
A very even block fixture for the footballers against Clifton College; 3 wins each and a draw. An impressive 5 goals to Dan Meredith was a highlight of the day.

Hockey:
There were very good wins for the U15A, U14A and U14B teams in the matches against Millfield.

Netball:
There was a reduced programme of matches against Trent College due to our teams competing in the West Midlands Finals. Out of the remaining 7 matches that were played, the School won an impressive 6.

Table Tennis:
A number of our students competed in the Worcestershire Individual competitions. Congratulations to Karen Chu who was crowned U19 Individual Champion and Vladimir Averin who won the U16 Boys. Both now progress to the national finals.


Preview

The Flourishing Fiver are selling roses for Valentine’s Day, with all the proceeds going to the Primrose Hospice charity. If you would like to buy a rose (or a bunch) it is important to get your orders in before the closing date of Wednesday 31st January to avoid disappointment.

On Tuesday 30 January, the Army Careers Adviser will be available to talk about university, Gap year and career opportunities within the Army. Please email Miss Leech if you are 5th form and above and wish to make an appointment with the adviser.

Also tomorrow, the next lunchtime is being held in Routh, starting at 1.20pm, audience to be seated by 1.15pm please. This week we host the Senior Girls’ Choir and soloists again from both Prep and Senior Schools. All are welcome to support friends and enjoy.

On Thursday 1 February, University of the West of England, Bristol will be talking to students about life and study at the university. BUWE (b-you-ee) is a very popular choice with Bromsgrove students. Please see the invite from Mrs Ashcroft and reply for a seat.

On Friday, the music department is organising a String Chamber Workshop from 11am until mid-afternoon, ending with a concert at 4.15pm in Routh of what has been learned during the day. All are welcome to attend.

The debate this Friday lunchtime will be on the motion that ‘This House believes that Communism works’.

Our very popular cookery class with executive chef Chris Prosser is returning on Saturday 3 February, places are allocated on a first come first served basis. The session is from 9-12-30 – you will learn how to prepare and cook a meal, which you can then sit down and enjoy with your friends. Look out for the email from Miss Leech.

Some advance warning that the finals of the House Music Competitions will be held next Thursday. Ensembles are busy practising, as are the soloists in each House, and they would all appreciate your support for this hotly contested event.

Would you please now stand as we say the Grace.



22 January 2018

Last Updated: 29/01/2018 09:31:03

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 22nd January 2018

Reading - From the diary of Anne Frank:

5th April 1944
“I want to go on living even after my death!
And that’s why I am so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s in me.
When I write I can shake off all my cares; my sorrow disappears; my spirits are revived.”

15th July 15 1944:
“It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death.
I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions.

And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more.

In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I’ll be able to realize them.”

Thought For The Week

Those words from the diary of Anne Frank serve as a reminder that next Saturday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A memorial acknowledged around the world every year on 27 January. That being the date in 1945 when the largest of the Nazi concentration and death camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by the Red Army.

Holocaust is just a word, but it carries an awful weight. An ancient word, from the Greek, ‘Holos’ meaning ‘whole’ and ‘kaustos’ meaning ‘burnt.’ Since the Middle Ages, it has been used to mean destruction or slaughter on a mass scale. Yet since the Second World War, the word Holocaust has been preserved almost exclusively to describe the attempt by the Nazis to eradicate the entire Jewish race. Another word for that is genocide. The deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group.

Nazi perpetrators had other words to describe it and we should not forget that their so-called “Final Solution” also included the destruction of the Romani people, wiping out those with mental and physical disabilities and eradicating all who were homosexual.

Nor should we forget that, sadly, International Holocaust Remembrance Day recalls not only the six million Jews and millions of others killed in Nazi persecution, but also millions more murdered in subsequent genocides. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the world’s peoples formed the United Nations and vowed never again to allow the attempted eradication of an entire group. Yet tragically, in the years that followed, genocide has been attempted; in every decade and on nearly every continent.

Dismal though it may be, wars seem to be an inevitable part of humanity’s existence on this Earth. They bring great suffering and senseless destruction, yet we somehow rationalise their necessity by saying that we must protect our lands, our interests, our religions or our friends. We take up arms to defend things.

That is all well and good, but how do you go one step further and justify the deliberate slaying of an entire race of people? And more importantly, even if you can justify it to yourself, how do you make that happen? One person with a weapon; a knife, a gun, a bomb, even a missile, might kill a few others. Even many others. But one person alone cannot wipe out an entire race. To do that, you need help. So how does that happen?

Like so much else in humanity’s history, good and bad, it is started with words.

Genocide is not done with gas or guns, starvation or stealth fighters, napalm or nuclear bombs. They are just its tools. Genocide is done with words. Written, spoken, printed, chanted, tattooed in slogans, sprayed on walls, dropped on leaflets. I guess in this day and age, also tweeted and texted. Subversive or stirring. Offensive or inspiring. Words which are hollow and cunningly deceptive or brutally honest and deeply resonating. It is words that inspire the best in us and it is words that unleash the worst that we can be. As Lord Byron once wrote: “A drop of ink may make a million think.”

There has been a resurgence of interest in one of the great wordsmiths of the Second World War recently. Perhaps you have watched the movies? ‘Churchill’, ‘Darkest Hour’, ‘Dunkirk’. Even the series ‘The Crown’ features Winston Churchill’s stirring speeches. His words inspired the British people in their darkest days.

Meanwhile, in Europe, another great orator also roused his people’s passions. A leader who wrote "I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great orators and not to great writers." I’m not so sure I agree, for plenty of written words have also caused nations to rise up. Witness the Bible and the Quran.

Nevertheless, in more than 5,000 persuasive speeches, the man who penned those words bewitched his audiences, promising them that his empire would reign for a thousand years. One of the world's most influential orators, he created the largest German political party ever, conquered a dozen nations, and convinced his followers to slaughter nearly 21 million people during his brutal 12-year reign. Adolf Hitler understood the power of words.

Hitler understood it and so too have others who were able to make the unthinkable sound reasonable. In the Seventies, Pol Pot used words to convince the Khmer Rouge to murder 3 million Cambodians. In the Nineties, the Hutu government used words to persuade soldiers and civilians to wipe out 70% of the Tutsi people. That same decade, Serbian commanders found the right words to permit the so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Bosnia. And even into the 2000’s, the government of Sudan has plucked the right words to encourage the eradication of all non-Arab tribes. No matter the language or dialect, every vocabulary contains the mix of words that can seemingly justify the unjustifiable.

The great modern writer Paulo Coelho said: “Of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible - and the most powerful - was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.”

Perhaps, but words do leave clues as well. We have heard that this morning, in the diary of a young woman, whose prose lives on to teach us lessons from the past. If you haven’t read Anne Franks’ diary, you should. And we should be thankful for her vocabulary.

I have spoken to you before about my belief in the power of your vocabulary. You are living in an information age. Daily, you run the risk of drowning in words. More ideas, written and spoken, flow across your personal screens each day than the wisest people of old ever read or heard in their entire lifetime. Which ones sway you? Which do you chose to believe? To repeat?

Two things matter most. The weight you give those words and which ones you chose to utter yourself. Hitler’s spoken words had atrocious effect. The written words of Anne Frank live on, just as she had hoped, to remind us of those atrocities.

Those were momentous times in the history of the world, yet they had their beginnings amongst ordinary people, in the same way as you send and receive words today. The theme of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day is the power of words. As we remember that bleak time in human history, I implore you to arm yourselves with a rich vocabulary and then use your words wisely and well.

Let me leave the last words to writer Suzy Kassem: “We cannot control the way people interpret our ideas or thoughts, but we can control the words and tones we choose to convey them. Peace is built on understanding, and wars are built on misunderstandings. Never underestimate the power of a single word, and never recklessly throw around words. One wrong word, or misinterpreted word, can change the meaning of an entire sentence - and even start a war. And one right word, or one kind word, can grant you the heavens and open doors.”

Presentations/Announcements

Oxbridge Places:
Continuing our recent encouragement of your academic aspirations, some proud news with regard to this year’s university offers. For many of you, your academic ambitions involve aspiring to study a competitive course at a top class university and this month the vast majority of the Upper Sixth have had confirmation of offers in the universities of their choice. Whilst there are a many outstanding universities in both the UK and internationally, Oxford and Cambridge are often seen to be the pinnacle and an offer to study at either is, in itself, a considerable achievement. Therefore, I invite forward for our congratulations:
Henry Stone Classical Archaeology & Ancient History, Magdalen, Oxford
Natasha Durie Human, Social & Political Sciences, Murray Edwards, Cambridge
Roger Youyang Zhao Engineering, Magdalene, Cambridge
Nikita Bedov Natural Sciences (Biological), Pembroke, Cambridge

Review
Music

The first lunchtime concert of 2018 was held last Friday, featuring a fantastic variety of performances from Prep and Senior school including the school’s Wind Band, which opened the concert. Congratulations to all who took part. The next lunchtime concert is on the 30th January.

Cross Country:

It was good to see so many of our runners competing in the County Championships in Sanders Park or in the League match at Welbeck College. There were many impressive performances in very testing conditions.

Football:
Won 2 lost 2 matches vs strong Bristol Grammar School opposition. Playing their first match the U15A team won 7-0 (hat trick for Roman Gurung) whilst the 1st X1 fought hard for a 2-1 victory.

Hockey Indoor:
The U14 Girls team played in the County Indoor festival they played well winning all three games
Hockey:
The U15 Boys team, beat Rugby School 3-1 in the first round of the National Cup.
In the matches played on Saturday vs Bristol Grammar School, Bristol managed to get the better of the results but there were good wins for the U14B and U16A teams.

Netball:
There was some very good netball played against a strong Rugby School with good wins for five of our teams, including an impressive 54-48 victory by the 1sts.

Rugby:

Well done to the U16 Boys who beat Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School 17-11 in the Semi-Final of the North Midlands Cup.

Preview
AEO grades published today – treat these with the attention they deserve. A quick glance before ignoring them not only disrespects the people who awarded them, it also overlooks your opportunity to know where and how to improve academically.

Marmite Gifted and Talented seminars for LVIth will recommence today. All seminars are at 12.50pm, at 5 Conway Road. Lunch is provided. If you would like to start attending, or want to return to seminars, please email Dr Ruben.

Tuesday Vth Form Mock examinations results published. Again, I encourage you to review them carefully.

All the best to those students sitting the 16+ scholarships this week.

This Tuesday evening at 7.00pm, students will compete in the Fourth Form House Drama Competition. Come and support your House in Cobham Theatre - please speak to your Houseparent for allocation of tickets.

I would also like to announce the launch of this year’s Senior House Drama competition for the Fifth and Sixth Form, which will take place on Thursday 1st March. Each House needs to organise a representative for this event and that person should get in touch with Mr Norton or Ms Bradford by email before the end of this week. Again, your Houseparents will have further details.

This week sees the annual Music Scholars’ Recital on Thursday in Routh Hall – we anticipate a good audience, but support from the Houses would be a bonus to witness our best young musicians gracing Routh stage in solo performances. All are welcome for a 7.00pm start.

Finally, a reminder that the Sixth Form course information morning will be held on Saturday 27th January. This is an important event for all of you in the Fifth Form as you plan your future choices. Remember also that we are joined by a number of prospective families so please do your best to make them welcome.

Would you please now stand as we say the Grace.



15 January 2018

Last Updated: 29/01/2018 09:30:56

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 15th January 2018

Reading
Quotes from great sportswomen:
“I believe we have a journey. I was once a small girl from Sheffield, dealing with bullies and normal teenage insecurities, but I always believed. And when you do that, life can get unbelievable”
Jessica Ennis-Hill, Olympic Champion

“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”
Mia Hamm, Soccer Champion

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”
Serena Williams, Tennis Champion

“My motto has always been that you can’t say, ‘Oh, it won’t happen to me.’ You have to say, ‘That can happen to me.’ So always be aware that things can happen.”
Venus Williams Tennis Champion

“My coach said you run like a girl. I said, if he ran a little faster, he could too.”
Mia Hamm

Thought For The Week

Good morning.
As you will have guessed, I wish to make reference to sport this morning. A fitting moment to do so, given the highly successful start to the new season in so many codes last week. In fact, let me review the past week now, just to make the point.

Review
Badminton

Saturday saw an impressive number of girls playing Badminton, some representing the School for the first time. The overall result may have favoured Malvern St James, but the commitment of our teams was heartening.

Basketball

Our rising basketball stars in the U14A team beat Alcester Grammar School 48-24, gaining inspiration no doubt from the example set by the senior team.

Football

Then, last week, the football season began and positively so, against opponents St Edwards, Oxford. A draw for the 3rd XI, a win for the 2nd XI, and a comprehensive 5-2 win for the 1st team that included a hat trick from Joe Downes.

Hockey

The boys’ teams started their season with a block fixture against Repton School and plenty of promise being shown early on, with good wins for most teams.

Netball
Also an outstanding start in the regular Netball season for all of our teams. In our tri-angular fixture against Cheltenham College and Malvern College, we lost only two of the 22 matches played.

Squash

Both the senior squash teams won against Stowe 5-0

Table Tennis
Both teams played superbly, with the girls making it through to the National B qualifier and the boys winning to be named Zonal champions and now moving on to the National A qualifier. A superb achievement.
So, a very promising start to the season in all codes. Undoubtedly though, the highlight last week was the inclusion of our U18 Girls Hockey team in the Finals of the National Indoor competition. It was our privilege to host the tournament in this Arena, so many of us were able to attend and watch all four games.

As an aside, I would like to commend all who did so and thank you for the hospitality you extended to teams from 20 other schools who competed here over the weekend. I was quietly proud to hear visiting coaches and players speaking with awe about our facilities and, more importantly, about the warmth of your hosting. Well done.

For those who did come and watch, you will have seen a Bromsgrove team who had achieved remarkably well just to have made it into such a prestigious final.

They were up against the nation’s elite Hockey Schools, many of whom unashamedly attract top players by offering large financial scholarships. That is not our way. We play the cards we are dealt, grow our own talent. Our girls got there on their own merits. I doubt that there are many of us in the Arena this morning who could claim to be amongst the ten best of anything in the country.

Theirs is a very young squad for an U18 competition and that can only bode well for the next few years, as their talents and teamwork strengthen even further. If the levels of determination, sacrifice and unselfish play that we witnessed continue, I have no doubt they will be back in the National Finals again. Well done, ladies.

Yet those girls are just the vanguard of the largest number of female sportswomen this School has ever known.

There is currently an 85% participation rate of girls playing sport at this School. Last year, our sportswomen played nearly 600 fixtures.

In traditional codes, like Hockey, Tennis and Netball - don’t forget that we were crowned double national champions in Netball last year. But also in sports that were once the sole domain of males: athletics, swimming, volleyball, basketball, squash, football equestrian, triathlon, table tennis. Indeed, it warmed my little New Zealand heart to see a squad of girls training for rugby with Miss Popescu on Friday afternoon.

You may think that is normal – I certainly did. But Ruth Holdaway, who is chief executive of Women in Sport, spoke recently about the disengagement of girls in sport over the past decade. Apparently, research conducted by her organisation shows that girls begin to lose interest in sport when they are as young as six.
She said “For girls, around the age of six or seven they are starting to drop out of sport. What is particularly interesting is that this is the same time that boys start doing more.”

“What seems to be happening is up until that age, boys and girls feel the same - they just run around, they don’t think about what they are doing, they will explore, they will climb. But there is something going on around that age that boys start to understand sport is something they should be doing, they can do, they get recognised for, and they get encouraged to do.”

She went on to say that teachers should not make any assumptions about which sports girls - or boys - would like to play. She said, “It is all part of the same issue - if the boys get to play football and cricket and the girls play rounders and have a dance class - you are not offering girls the same opportunities."
Well, that may be the case elsewhere, but thankfully not at Bromsgrove. I think the girls in this School could very easily reassure her that they have just as many opportunities as boys and you prove every week that you are just as successful.

It doesn’t hurt us to reflect regularly on issues of equity though. There has been much in the media in recent months about gender disparity. Rightly so, for the debate has shone a light on practices in some parts of society that are, frankly, shameful. Harassment of women by men in power, unequal pay for men and women doing same work, casual sexism and the use of biased language, all deserve to be called out. It is right that we should take stock.

But in all of this heightened awareness, one other story caught my attention recently which felt like a step too far. This time, it was a former Government Advisor speaking to the annual conference of the Girls School Association last month. Her message was also about matters of gender equity in schools, but her advice was more vexing. Put simply, she advocates that teachers should not refer to pupils as “girls" or "ladies” because, she says, it is patronising and means that they are “constantly reminded of their gender.”

The same, she said, was true for the words “boys” or “gentlemen”. She added: “I don’t think it is useful to be constantly reminded of your gender all the time and all the stereotypes that go with it.” Her speech went on to say that using the term “girls” can evoke a sense that they have to do everything perfectly which can “create a lot of anxiety” in children and teenagers. Meanwhile, the term “boys” carries connotations of “being macho, not talking about your feelings, being told to man up”.

I felt quite affronted when I read this, because I, like many others in the Common Room, will regularly greet you as girls, boys, ladies or gentlemen. I certainly mean no offence by it. I wondered how, in fact, I might be causing any with such an innocent and obvious greeting. Concerned, I read on and here is what she said next. She told the headteachers: “If your narrative is saying girls don’t get angry, or boys don’t cry, or girls aren’t allowed to do this, or boys aren’t allowed to do this, then that is potentially going to have an impact on their well-being”.

My narrative. I’m not sure when we stopped saying “what you believe” and started saying “your narrative.” However, that is the flaw in her argument right there. Because those stereotypes are most definitely not my narrative. Actually, when I say “Hello girls” I’m thinking more about the attributes of my daughter when she was your age. Who certainly does know how to get angry. Who feels no pressure to conform.
Who was a Hockey goalie when she was at school, drove the tractor back at home, could debate the leg off a chair and who is about as far from a meek and biddable stereotype of a helpless female as you could possibly get.

Likewise, when I call you “ladies” I’m thinking of my wife, who is strong and resourceful, independent and capable, every bit my equal. Who finds no conflict in being feminine and feisty, compassionate and confident. I’m thinking of the women I work with, who are far from shrinking violets and whom I hold in equal esteem to my male colleagues. And I’m thinking of examples like the U18 Hockey team, who played with as much spirit and commitment as any male sportsman would. Just as competitive, just as tenacious, just as upset to lose. When I said “Well done, ladies” earlier, those were the images I had in mind. That is my “narrative.”

I could say “Good morning Bromsgrovians” every time I pass you in the grounds I suppose. That narrative is equally admiring of you all, but it’s a bit of a mouthful. I think I will stick to an acknowledgement that conveys my respect for both sexes. For the sporting week that has just passed is surely proof enough that we value our young women exactly the same as our young men.

This School is daily proof that girls can be, and are, every bit as capable as boys. On the sports field. And on the stage. And in the classroom. And in a CCF squad or a debating team or a Science Olympiad. There is equity in this place for the simple reason that it is not your gender which defines you, but your actions, your values and your beliefs. Or your “narrative” if you prefer.

So well done to you all, girls and boys, ladies and gentlemen, sportsmen and sportswomen, for a great start to your season and for demonstrating the mutual respect that helps make this place unique.

Presentations

I would like to invite the following on stage to receive Associated Board of Royal School Music certificates
Emily Evans, Organ grade 5 with Distinction
Isobel Scott, Piano grade 5 with Merit
Elyzia Wong, Violin grade 6 with Merit
Isabel Kemp, Piano grade 7 with Merit


Preview

All the best to those students who will be sitting the Drama, Music and Art Scholarships this week.

UIVth Parents evening on Wednesday

With a rapidly evolving world and the ever so distant future blending into present: What will 2050 look like? This is the prompt for 201’s next issue, the theme of which is Time. Accepting a wide variety of contributions up until 26th January. Email Aled or Alia to get involved or come to our meetings on Wednesdays at 1:20 in the library.

There will be a lunchtime concert this Friday in Routh – all are welcome to attend this short concert featuring the Windband and some soloists. Come along – 1.15pm start time.

National Citizen Service will be hosting a stand on Friday lunchtime (19th January) to tell you about their Easter programme. Pop along from 1.15-2.pm to find out more in the LRC Foyer.

Would you please now stand as we say the Grace.


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