Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
13 September 2021
Having explained the normal sequence of Routh Assembly to you last week, we are going to break from that pattern today, to observe an important tradition which would usually have been conducted last term. Namely, the commissioning of our School Monitors.
As I say, that would normally have been performed when the new team was announced last Summer, but whilst I was able to read out over Zoom the names of those who had been selected back then, we weren’t able to witness them perform a ritual ancient in the School’s history.
And so, this morning, we will dedicate our assembly to making up the Monitors and announcing the Heads of School, who will lead them, and you, for the coming year.
The selection of Monitors is no easy task and I pay particular tribute to the care and thorough research that senior staff put into selecting the people we will make up this morning. You should know that consideration is given to the entirety of your time at School, not just your Lower Sixth year, so that is encouragement all of you to realise that your conduct today can have an influence on your future. That said, we also understand that nobody is perfect, and mistakes made in the past don’t automatically preclude selection in the future, as long as you learn from them.
When I announced the Monitors last Summer, I made the point that, although being a Monitor required a specific skill set of leadership abilities, there were many more suitable applicants than there were positions. Selections had to be made and just because the top two dozen were chosen, doesn’t mean that there aren’t many others in the 6th Form who have the potential to lead this year.
Like any job, being a School Monitor has a Job Description. It includes upholding the traditions and ethos of the School, and that can be a heavy burden. Like me, the people we make up this morning have now become stewards of Bromsgrove’s 500 year history. Charged with maintaining our standards and reputation.
We will have tasks for them to do, on top of the normal pressures of the Sixth Form, but that doesn’t make them slaves. They will require things of you, in Houses, Chapel, Dining Hall, this Arena, throughout the School. But neither are they slave drivers. Instead, those about to come forward are servants. Servants to you, servants to me, and servants to the School. The difference between slaves and servants is the choice to serve.
These people have accepted a request to serve their School and for that we owe them our respect. It says a great deal about Bromsgrove that the highest honour that we bestow upon you is the chance to serve others.
At this point, I would normally hand over to the Head Boy and Girl to conduct the ceremony. However, as you know, the pandemic robbed us of the opportunity to appoint Heads of School last year, and so I shall ask Mr McClure to step into that role today. He will read the names of the Monitors one at a time and each will then come forward in silence and sign their name this book.
It is the current register of School Monitors and the first entry in it dates back to 1950. There were just five signatories that year, just five School Monitors. If they are still are alive, those men will all be in their Nineties now. Yet they signed the exact same pledge that today’s Monitors will sign committing to serve the School, and those signatures endure.
Once each Monitor has signed that pledge in front of you all, they will shake my hand, at which stage, we will applaud their appointment.
Sebastien Adams L
Ellen Ashton Hz
James Bayliss L
Joelle Booth O
Matthew Burke WG
Alex Collin WG
Hamish Cross Ws
Sophia Eaton OH
Freddie Fallows L
Daniel Goodwin E
Toby Hill Ly
Zoe Law OH
Rafaela Nascimento O
Elisabeth Rieger HH
Arsenii Steshenko WG
Fenella Stone Hz
Lilly Sturz HH
Iris Tang TC
King Sum Tong HH
Ioana Voicu MW
Guy Wagstaff E
Ugo Whoba HH
Chantal Wong O
Brookie York OH
It is now my pleasure to announce the Heads of School, the leaders of the leaders, and to invite them forward for our congratulations.
Chantel Wong and King Sum Tong
Deputy Heads of School:
Arsenii Steshenko and Rafaela Nascimento
Heads of School:
Zoe Law and Hamish Cross
I now invite you to stand as we say the Grace together.