The Headmaster's Weekly Routh Address

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12 December 2018

Last Updated: 12/12/2018 14:42:48


Mark Reading
Wednesday December 12th 2018

Good morning and welcome to our Mark Reading Ceremony for this Michaelmas Term. Before I announce the GCSE subject prizes and various other awards, let me commend you all on an excellent term. One in which you have laid foundations for the rest of your year, whether it be your first or your last at the School. At 13 weeks, Michaelmas is our longest term you should feel rightly pleased if have persevered with commitment and a positive outlook right to the end, not wasting opportunities or letting themselves or others down along the way.

I note especially those who have joined the School in the Sixth Form this year, proud to have won a place here and quick to establish their academic career. Likewise, particular praise to those newly arrived in the L4th, who have settled so quickly into Senior School life. It seems a while ago now that you all walked the Malvern Hills in pursuit of your Bromsgrove Badge. You were impressive then and have remained so since. You have come to understand the School’s high expectations and most of you are already meeting and exceeding them.

It has also been pleasing to witness so many of you from all year levels continuing to give of your time and talents to the local community as part of Bromsgrove Service. Don’t ever underestimate the power of those good works, or the reward.

Service also from all those committed to the CCF this term and to the Duke of Edinburgh, which has been equally impressive. More of that shortly as we present a number of Gold awards.

As is to be expected at Bromsgrove, our sporting reputation also continued to flourish this term. Expected, but never taken for granted. I congratulate every one of you who has worn the School’s colours and pride this term. There have been many triumphs in the season and I will not risk causing offence by singling out any one team or code. Suffice to say, your successes haves meant that we remain in a number of regional and national competitions that will conclude after Christmas. More importantly perhaps, each of you will have your own proud memories of your favourite matches of the Winter season. Win or lose, sport has made you all stronger in more ways than one.

So too has our Performing Arts reputation continued to grow. We have enjoyed a feast of entertainment since September, from musical recitals to the wonderful success of this year’s House Song. In Music, so too in Drama, where of course, we have ended the term with the spectacle that was GREASE, delivered with professionalism and great energy in Cobham last week. I commend every person in the cast and crew for setting the bar high for future shows.

The indomitable Chicken also made history this term, becoming nothing less than World Champions. And speaking of history, many of you contributed to honouring the School’s proud past in the creative ways during the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice.

In the midst of this wealth of co-curricular commitment, the School has maintained excellent academic performance, as is witnessed in the fine set of grades and reports that have just been issued. AEO grades continue to help identify more precisely your individual areas of excellence and of opportunity for growth. Never forget that, whatever other triumphs we may enjoy as a School, we are first and foremost an academic institution, a fact we will shortly acknowledge with the presentation of GCSE prizes.
For all that, you have still found time for the best of House life. You have competed; in sport, music, debating, soon drama and the inter-House quiz. Your Houses remain the centre of your School experience, no more so than at this festive time of year, when the decoration of your studies and the traditions of your respective Christmas parties are a tribute friendship and comradery.

If then, at the end of all that, you feel a little tired right now, so you should. And if, having played your part in sport and performance and service and academic pursuits and House life, you also feel a bit satisfied, so too, you should. It is such a cliché to say that you get out of life what you put in, but there is just no avoiding the fact that it is true. Those of you who feel most exhausted today, at the end of this long term, will also be those who have most cause to feel proud. Those who do not, should perhaps be asking themselves “What more could I have done?” And more importantly, “How can I squeeze more out of Bromsgrove when I return in January?”

We move to announcing prizes awarded for best performance at GCSE:
English as a Second Language – Kelvin Liu
Classical Civilisation – Katie Burke
Drama – Patricia Blessing
Art – Tina Cai

Textiles – Fleur Parris
German – Alek Florov
Business – Scarlet Bond
Economics – Vivianne Zhang

Physics – Max Campbell
PE – Siena Horton
D&T Graphic Products – Emma Dolan
D & T Resistant Materials – Arun Bahra
Dual Science – Judy (Haohao) Wu

Multiple winners
English Language and Religious Studies – Jamie Cox
English Literature, French and Spanish – Hannah Pover
Mathematics, Geography and Music – Joshua Osborn-Patel
Biology, History, Chemistry and Latin – Georgia Doohan-Smith
Bromsgrove Service
It has been a busy term for Bromsgrove Service and I congratulate all who have served their community so diligently. There are amongst them two pupils who deserve special commendation for their service work, and I invite Ellen Kitchen and Justus Krauel to come forward to receive awards.

House Competitions
The House Rugby Shield Final for those boys not in school A or B teams has been a new initiative this term. In the final, Lyttelton beat Walters 20-15, so I invite the Lyttelton captain to receive the trophy.

Junior House Table tennis
Girls Boys
3rd Thomas Cookes 3rd Lyttleton
2nd Mary Windsor 2nd Elmshurst
1st Oakley 1st Wendron Gordon

In the junior competition results were as follows:
Cup Plate
3rd Hazeldene 3rd Mary Windsor
2nd Oakley 2nd Hazeldene
1st Thomas Cookes 1st Thomas Cookes

In the Senior competition:
Cup Plate
3rd Oakley 3rd Thomas Cookes
2nd Thomas Cookes 2nd Oakley
1st Hazeldene 1st Hazeldene

The following mathematicians are to be commended for winning Gold in the first round of the Olympiad competition:
Katherine Pu, Johnson Shi, Stanley Cheng,James Pei, Sunny Tang,   Jenna Kam, Murat Shafigullin, Ruby Ngan, Jay Lyu.
Murat, Ruby and Jay also won a “Best in Year” certificate and I invite them all forward to receive our congratulations.

I gave the cast and crew of GREASE a bit of a build up at last week’s Routh and they didn’t disappoint, turning on a four-night season that was spectacular. High energy, popular and professional, it was a show that will be remembered for years to come. The Cobham Theatre is an intimate setting; there is no place to hide on that stage. I commend the entire cast for never once dropping out of character, no matter whether they were in the action or not. It made for a convincing and highly entertaining performance. It also made for a very uplifting end to a long hard term and for that, I would invite you all to join me in a round of applause to thank all who brought us GREASE.

Junior House Debating
Thank you to all the Houses that competed in Junior House Debating this term. The standard of the competition was exceptional, and the two final debates were outstanding. After hard deliberation by the judges, the winners of this year’s Junior House Debating are the team from Oakley House. I invite Ellie and Polly to come forward to collect their trophy.

Duke of Edinburgh Award
Finally, it gives me great pleasure to invite the following to receive their Gold awards.
Heidi Collie James Lord
Matthew Clarkson Emily Lyle
Tom Eaves Will Roberts
Harry Fussell Daisy Scott
Tristan Hall Ben Turner
Grayson Leversha Jess Ward
Christie Lloyd Sophie Ward
Will Ayliffe Georgie Muscutt

Final Address
And so to Christmas. Given all that I have mentioned above, I trust that you will have a restful and rejuvenating holiday. However, I also trust that, although it will be a break from the normal routines of this place, it will not be a holiday completely devoid of all intellectual and creative pursuits. I am not just talking about those in the Fifth Form, who certainly will need to be hitting the books regularly to prepare for their all-important Mocks on the first day back. I am talking to all of you.

By all means swap your textbooks for Netflix for a while. Turn your alarm off. I said earlier that if you have made the most of this term you will rightfully be tired by now. Some downtime in front of a screen or plugged into headphones or just buried in a pillow is fair enough. However, if the next three weeks pass and you have nothing to show for it when you return but bed hair and a few thousand clicks on YouTube, your teachers and I have failed you.

Failed you because our mission is not just to teach you to know, but to do. Yes, you must consume knowledge while you are at school, but so, too, must you create with it. Our teaching is worth nothing if you don’t do something with what you know. It is not enough to learn a Shakespearean sonnet, or a chemical equation, or how to take a short corner or read a compass or a musical score. You need to take that knowledge and act and play and hike and write your own poetry in life. We can make you do that when you are in our care, but what happens when you have freedom to chose how to spend your days? We put pressure on you during term to consume and create. What happens when we’re not there?

The pressure that you experience during term time is not something to be completely avoided at all costs. Neither is it some unfortunate accident. We are not actually hopelessly disorganised, suddenly remembering that we should have given Prep or run a House competition or put on a play or held a debate and then trying to cram it all in at the last minute. Everything asked of you, every term, at every level of the Senior School, is carefully pre-planned.
Neither are we sadists (despite what you may think). The planning I just mentioned is not some evil torture regime, designed to relentlessly keep adding more pressure until you break. Believe me, that are far easier ways to torture you than marking exams and coaching sport on a cold winter’s night. We would just take away your phones if we really wanted to break you.

No, the pressure you experience at Bromsgrove is intended to cause some stress. Which sounds sadistic, because we tend to think of stress as something negative. It is not. Or at least, the right amount isn’t. Without some stress, we wouldn’t be here in the first place. If a single cell amoeba swimming around in the primordial soup on Earth a few million years ago hadn’t felt the stress of needing to survive, human history would be non-existent.

Stress is what motivates us to do things. Good things. Finer things. Stress makes us want to make life better. It is true that too much stress can be detrimental. Make you distressed.
The right amount though, is healthy. It even has a name: Eustress. Eu meaning good. Good stress. Defined as what happens when the gap between what you have and what you want is large enough to test you but not break you.

Hence, we try to create an environment here for you where two things happen. The first is that you experience enough pressure to reach higher, push harder to achieve what you want. The second is to equip you with the skills to allow you to handle that pressure. It is all very fashionable to talk about resilience at the moment. It is the same thing – developing the skills to cope. Those skills include being able to push yourself when no-one else is. To be self-disciplined, self-motivating. So, over the coming break, just because there are no teachers, no timetable, no rehearsals or training or roll calls or deadlines, don’t simply cease to function. You live in the most content rich period in human history. There is more “stuff” to passively consume than any one person could possibly cope with. If you do only that – consume – over the Christmas break, we have taught you nothing.
And by consume, I don’t just mean food, although that is a good metaphor. If all you did was eat and drink, no exercise, no balanced diet, your body would bloat. So too, your mind. Consume nothing but a steady diet of social media, video clips and sleep for three weeks and you will be back swimming in the soup with the amoeba.

Don’t just consume this Christmas, create. Make something. With your hands. Or your body, or your heart, or your mind and soul. It really doesn’t matter. Just create something new each day, something that didn’t exist that morning. Stronger muscles, a diary entry, a new friendship, a smile on the face of your Gran, a Christmas gift for your Dad, whatever. Rest and relax by all means, but keep the pressure on yourself to grow as a person. Do that, and we will have done our job this term. Merry Christmas to you all.

Let us end our gathering with the Grace – please stand.

3rd December 2018

Last Updated: 03/12/2018 10:35:07

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 3rd December 2018

I saw my problems and I'll see the light
We got a lovin' thing, we gotta feed it right
There ain't no danger, we can go too far
We start believin' now that we can be who we are

They think our love is just a growin' pain
Why don't they understand? It's just a cryin' shame
Their lips are lyin', only real is real
We stop the fight right now, we got to be what we feel

We take the pressure and we throw away
Conventionality belongs to yesterday
There is a chance that we can make it so far
We start believin' now that we can be who we are

Grease is the word
Grease is the word, is the word that you heard
It's got a groove, it's got a meaning

GREASE is the word, that you heard. It’s got groove, but has it got meaning? Unless you have been living under a rock for the past term, you will know that the major dramatic production for the Senior School this year is the musical GREASE, opening tomorrow night in Cobham Theatre. GREASE is, of course, one of the most popular musicals of the past 50 years. If you haven’t seen it though, either live or in the film version, you might rightly wonder at the meaning of its title. Indeed, even if you have seen it, you might still wonder.

The plot revolves around ten working class teenagers who attend the fictional Rydell High School in America in 1959. For an upbeat and joyful show, it actually tackles some fairly heavy topics. Not just familiar themes like love and friendship, teenage rebellion and adolescent sexual awareness, but also social issues; class consciousness and conflict, peer pressure, teen pregnancy, and gang violence. Cheery stuff.

Viewed through today’s lens, you might even wonder if there isn’t just a hint of early gender fluidity in there. Macho tough guy Danny gets in touch with his feelings and shrugs off the way his mates objectify women. Meanwhile, naïve feminine cliché, Sandy, ultimately finds her voice and a firmer identity within a rather stereotyped social circle. Then again, maybe I’m just imagining that.

Either way though, the meaning of Grease is still not immediately evident, is it? Even the soundtrack doesn’t give much away. The show spawned some of the best known, most catchy tunes of the era, with a simple blend of early rock and roll standards. From ballads like ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ or ‘Beauty School Dropout’ to foot-tapping anthems like ‘You’re The One That I Want’, ‘Born to Hand Jive’, and of course, ‘Greased Lightnin.’ For those of you who go to see the show this week, they are songs that will stick in your head long after the final curtain closes.

And yet, even after you do leave the theatre, you may still be none the wiser about why it was called Grease. Why Grease is the word, why it has groove and has meaning? The titles of other famous musicals are easier to fathom, aren’t they? ‘The Lion King’ is about a lion who becomes king. ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ is about a guy named Joseph who has, guess what? A coat of many colours.

Even ‘Les Miserables’, once you unpick what that translates to from the French, actually is all about the poor and downtrodden, people whose lives are miserable. But GREASE is not really about grease. For those who know a bit about life in 1950’s America though, you may have spotted the clue in the last song I mentioned. ‘Greased Lightnin’ is a little ditty about the car that the boys at Rydell High are building in their Workshop Tech class. America’s love affair with cars started in the Fifties and young men, especially working class young men, had the greatest obsession with them. Partly because being a mechanic was the best of the otherwise menial jobs available to the lower classes. Partly also because, in a fairly repressive age, having a car meant freedom and independence. Which is, arguably, not too different from today, I suppose.

Anyway, working on cars meant getting covered in engine oil and – yes – grease. Add to that the fact that it was the fashion of the day for cool young men from the poor side of town to slick their hair back with an oily wax. Today, we would call it product. Back then? It was called grease. Hence, the subculture of working class young men who worshipped cars, girls and rock and roll, probably in that order, were known as “Greasers.”

So there you go, social anthropology lecture over. And what’s my point? Nothing really, other than to commend this week’s performances to you. GREASE is a great show, but it will be a hundred times more enjoyable to see it performed by people that you know, and you should go if you possibly can. The cast and crew have put in countless hours throughout this busy term and are looking forward to entertaining you.

I suppose there is one other message there though. To do with not being put off by the unfamiliar. Although it is set in the 1950’s, the musical GREASE came out in 1974. In a time when television had just become mainstream and many feared staying home in your lounge and staring at “the box” would lead to a demise in attendance at live theatre, plays, concerts and shows. Not to mention the downfall of civilised society and a genuine belief amongst some that children’s eyes would go square if they watched the TV screen for too long.

The things that were said about TV then are the things that are said about the internet now. It will stop people going out, make them unsociable. It will lower the tone and calibre of entertainment, with its emphasis on quantity rather than quality.

It will narrow people’s awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the world, as they lazily chose to watch a steady boring diet of the same type of programmes. Or YouTube clips, as it is now, in the digital age. Attention spans will get shorter. The more an audience is able to flick channels or swipe away from digital forms of entertainment, the less incentive there is for producers to invest large sums of money or talent in it.

As far as I know, the advent of television did not lead to moral decay and, although there are some ugly aspects to it, the internet has not destroyed society. However, I do wonder if it isn’t making us all just a little bit narrow in our entertainment choices. Whether we aren’t all guilty of going back to the tried and trusted, the familiar, when we want to relax? If we didn’t have quite so many choices of what to watch or listen to, would we perhaps experiment a bit more? Try new genres? Who knows.

Just in case then, if you haven’t been to live theatre, haven’t been to a musical, haven’t seen GREASE or just simply haven’t got out of the House much recently, I encourage you to try and get hold of one of the few remaining tickets.

Duke of Edinburgh
I would like to invite the following on stage to receive their Silver awards.
Euan Vaughan-Hawkins, Fleur Parris, Ben Hollingsworth, Alek Florov

Well done to all swimmers who participated in the Senior Girls’ House gala. The results were as follows:
3rd place: Oakley
2nd place: Hazeldene
1st place: Thomas Cookes

I would also like to acknowledge impressive achievements from two of our younger pupils this morning.

Firstly, congratulations to Jake Wingfield who took part in the World Scholars Cup, which is a global academic competition. Jake qualified for the final, called the Tournament of Champions, which was held at Yale University and involved the best 1,000 scholars from the Global Rounds. After four days of debating, essay writing and a series of multiple choice tests; Jake achieved a Gold Medal for the Arts and Music section, a Silver Medal for the Science section and a Silver Medal for the Scholars’, a fantastic achievement.

We are also proud of the fact that James Doohan-Smith has recently qualified as a rugby referee and was in action, overseeing three matches in the Prep School on Saturday morning. A significant achievement at a young age and a great example of service to others.

The Senior Badminton team narrowly lost in a good fixture against Abingdon School.


In matches played last week, the U14 team lost narrowly against St Augustine’s and the U15’s had a good win against Waseley Hills.

Cross Country
There were good runs in a Birmingham league match from Ash Kandola 10th, Natalie Hatfield 17th , Seb Purvis 20th and Orla Walker 35th.

The U14 girls’ team played well at the Midland finals but unfortunately did not make the final rounds.
Well done to both the U16 and U18 boys’ teams who have qualified for the Midlands Indoor Finals.
Also to those who won a number of closely fought matches in the block fixture against Repton.

Rugby Union
There were over 200 boys representing the School on rugby pitches on Saturday afternoon in a good fixture against Clifton College. Impressive wins for U14A, 3rd XV and 1st XV who won 28-22. Compliments also to the U15B team, who played a superb match, drawing 26-26.

Well done to our swimmers who won all four matches against strong opposition from Wellington, Marlborough and Winchester Colleges.

Table Tennis
Lastly, congratulations to Jade Ngan who played Table Tennis for Worcestershire against South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire.

And to wrap up last week, yesterday over 200 boarders travelled to Birmingham and enjoyed Christmas shopping and the delights of the German markets. 

Visitors from a Language school, Dice Salamanca, will be holding lectures for pupils studying Spanish throughout the coming week. Houseparents and teachers will relay details of who should be where, and when.

The next Boarders’ Forum will be held this Friday at 1.20 in the Cookes room. Please see your house representatives if you have any additional points to raise.

This year’s IVth Form play is to be performed on the 9th and 10th May, and will be Brecht’s epic drama “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” Which is a gripping story that is, by turns, hilarious and deeply moving. It features a large cast of extraordinary characters, so there are many opportunities for actors, singers and dancers. Auditions will be held this week – further details will be sent to Houses. All IVth form students who are interested are warmly encouraged to attend or to speak with Ms Bradford and Mr. Dinnen.

Finally, on the topic of theatre and as I have already announced, Grease opens tomorrow night and runs through until Saturday. A huge amount of work has gone into the production and it promises to be a spectacular and highly entertaining evening. If you are lucky enough to have booked a seat, please aim to be at the theatre by 6.45pm. If you haven’t booked, there are only one or two seats remaining of each night, so be quick. That said, it is also worth turning up in case there are any last minute returns. If possible, Mr Mullan will find space for you.

Please stand as we say the Grace together.

26 November 2018

Last Updated: 26/11/2018 09:22:11

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 26th November 2018

Match Report for Bromsgrove School’s First Teams:
In a closely fought contest, the 1st XV played some brilliant rugby, with standout performances from a number of players. Always strong in the tackle, the September triplets were also the driving force behind the dominance of the scrum. That laid a solid platform for October to feed quality ball to the backs, where the fleet-footed wingers, the December brothers, were always there to capitalise. However, man of the match must rightfully go to November, whose astute reading of the game as captain reflected the decade of experience he has accrued whilst playing for the School.

Meanwhile, equal success was attained on the Netball courts. September’s superior speed and agility mid-court repeatedly left her opponent’s, June and July, wrong-footed. That advantage was converted into points thanks to the pairing of October and November, whose maturity, confidence and imposing height at Goal Attack and Goal Shoot, made them unstoppable. Meanwhile, their opposite numbers at the other end of the court, November and October, ensured that our own net was tightly defended. The team is to be congratulated on a hard fought victory, especially as their star playmaker, the other September, was unable to play in this match as she had been selected to captain the 1st Basketball team that day. 

Good Morning.
A little bit of maths for you to start with, because I know your brains are razor sharp on a Monday morning and mathematics is good for your soul. If there are 12 months in a year and 15 rugby players in a team, how many of the players would you expect to have a birthday in any given month? The answer, for those of you still secretly counting on your fingers and toes, is 1.25.

Let’s do the same thing for a Netball team. 7 players into 12 months = 0.6. For argument’s sake, suppose we round both those numbers to one. In any given rugby or netball team, there should be approximately one player celebrating a birthday in each month of the year. Obviously that won’t be exactly true for every team, but in general, that is the spread we could expect. Right?

Wrong. As the two match reports that Sakeenah just read to us suggested, the distribution is massively skewed. Those reports were obviously fictitious, but the underlying statistics were not. Half of Bromsgrove’s current 1st XV and two thirds of the Netball A Team, were born in either September, October, or December (9/17 and 6/9 respectively). If it were an even distribution, that figure should be one quarter (3 months out of 12). Before those of you who were born between January and August start writing to the Human Rights Tribunal to complain about discrimination, let me explain a few things. The selection of our first teams is not deliberately based upon the month in which you were born. Not today, anyway. The anomaly dates back much earlier than that, to the day that you first started school. Wherever you first started school.

In Britain, as in most countries, you start school in the year that you turn five. Therefore, in any new Year 1 class there will be children born throughout the year they turned five, with birthdays evenly distributed across all 12 months, just as we would expect. We know that children mature at wildly varying rates when they are that young, so we can expect that Year 1 class will contain youngsters of all different sizes, shapes, abilities, and intelligences.

Which is fine; schools are designed to adapt to each child’s needs, to cater for those who grow up a little more slowly, or more quickly, than their peers. That’s why the curriculum is designed to be very flexible at that age. Learn to read at your own pace, master the art of writing, get your head around basic maths.
After a few years in Prep though, some new things are added into the School mix, including team sport. Sport usually relies upon physical ability and therefore, as there is so much variation in size and height and weight and dexterity, sports teams are grouped by age, so that children are roughly equally matched when they compete.

I say roughly, because the best a school can do is to group by year. It is too complicated, and there are not enough pupils, to have an August football team or a December Hockey squad. Therefore, we have a system that draws up teams based on what their age was on the first day of the school year. 1st September. Under 7’s, Under 12’s, Under 14’s etc. Right the way up to the elite U18 selections.

The problem is, at that young age, a year can still see a huge amount of variation. Meaning that in your Under 7’s team, the boy or girl born in September is almost a full 12 months older than the one born in June, July or August of that same year. Older and therefore possibly taller, faster, stronger, perhaps even smarter. Not by much, mind you, but enough.

Enough to make an initial difference. Enough for the coach of that first U7 team to realise that an older child is slightly more co-ordinated or slightly faster. Enough perhaps, to play them more often, maybe praise them more often. Which then gives that child two slight advantages. The first is, they may get more game time and, as we all know, practice makes perfect. The more you play, the better you get. The whole 10,000 hours to master a skill concept is based on large amounts of practice when we are young.

The second slight advantage is confidence. When we are little, we are exposed to hundreds of new experiences. Those that we stick with and grow to enjoy and love are usually those in which we receive lots of positive feedback and affirmation early on. Loads of people cheering the slightly faster player from the sideline at every game aged 7 will do it.

Now extrapolate those two early advantages forward a few years. Imagine that you were that September baby. Or October, November or even December born. Your first year of sport you got more game time and more praise simply because you were a little older. Something, I might add, over which you had no control.
From then on, each year older you get, other children begin to catch you up in size and ability. By the time you get to the Sixth Form, the only influence that your birth date has on your life is when you can get your driver’s licence or go to the pub. Yet as the statistics of our current teams show, you are still disproportionately more likely to be selected for a 1st team. Not because of your birthday by that stage, but because you are actually the better player. Why? Because you have had the accumulated advantage of years of extra play and praise.

I said don’t start writing your letters of complaint just yet. This is not just a Bromsgrove phenomenon. It is known worldwide, even has a formal name: the Relative Age Effect. First brought to popular attention some years ago by the writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers – the story of success.”

In it, he quotes the story of a Canadian psychologist who was attending a major ice hockey game in the mid-1980’s when his wife pointed out something weird in the programme. Ice Hockey is pretty much a national religion in Canada and players in the national league are revered. Perhaps the psychologist’s wife was an adoring fan reading player stats, or perhaps she was just bored. Either way, she noticed the strange anomaly that nearly five times as many elite players were born in January, February or March than all other months. I should note that in Canadian sport, the cut-off date for age-based sport is 1st January. Different date to 1st September in British schools, but same effect. The psychologist went off to find the reason and after years of methodical research, found that the relative age effect happens all around the world in any sports that begin with age-based selection. Try it on any English Premier League Football team – it works. In fact, it is not just sport. Even in music or academia, the relative age effect sometimes occurs.

This might all be sounding very depressing for those of you not born in a supposedly favourable month, but my point this morning is actually intended to be uplifting. Despite how it might sound, this is not a message about pre-determination. It is not a reason to give up trying because the world is unfair. Quite the opposite. It is proof that practice and praise can accumulate to give you an advantage.

It is true that an arbitrary grouping system at a young age gives a slight, potentially unfair, advantage in an early year. However, it is what happens next that is significant. The two things that advantage leads to, more practice and more praise, are what actually make the difference. By the time you are in your mid-teens, physical differences are not much of an advantage any more. Others have caught up, grown stronger, learned better skills. The only reason those early borns still dominate elite teams is because of an accumulative advantage.

Here is the good news: there are lots of factors early in life that create accumulative advantages. Coming to this School is one of them. You may not even realise it right now, but when you leave this place, you will mix with people who did not have the advantages Bromsgrove is instilling in you. You are already ahead of many others.

It is our job to ensure that you get plenty of praise and encouragement. It is your job to seek out and make use of those opportunities. I said last week that equality mattered, but it shouldn’t come at a cost to others. It should come, not from pulling others down, but from lifting others up. There will always be slight inequities in life, such as the relative age effect. The trick is not to sulk about them, but to understand and take the opportunities they offer. In this case, learn the lesson that practice and praise can give you an advantage in life.

A number of you entered the Mathematical Olympiad for Girls, a challenging paper requiring problem solving and mathematical skills that was attempted by over 1400 girls nationwide.

It is a pleasure this morning to present certificates to:
Tina Cai, Jenna Kam, Lucy Lyu, Helen Wu, Judy Wu
and Distinction certificates to:
Ruby Ngan, Katherine Pu, Nicole Zhou, Dolly Xu - Dolly has also received an invitation to the British Mathematical Olympiad next week.

Congratulations to the U19 netball team who were crowned county champions on Thursday for the third year running. They won all of their 6 matches and in the process scored 111 goals and only conceded 22. They now go forward to represent Worcestershire in the West Midlands finals in the new year.

Girls' Junior House Swimming

Congratulations to all the girls who competed in the Junior House swimming competition. There were some excellent performances with only 1 point separating the top two Houses. The results were as follows:
3rd place- Oakley
2nd place- Thomas Cookes
1st place- Hazeldene

UIVth House badminton

Runners up – Mary Windsor
Winners – Oakley
Runners up – Wendron-Gordon
Winners – Lupton

Big Band
Finally, our congratulations to the Big Band, who won Gold yet again at the regional National Concert Band Festival in Cheltenham. We wait now to see whether their score was high enough be invited to the finals in Manchester next April, but in the meantime, I invite Archie Batham-Read forward to collect their award.

Congratulations to Senior Mathematics Challenge Team: Stanley Cheng, Kenneth Liu, James Pei, Murat Shafigullin for competing well in the regional heat at Solihull Sixth Form College on Wednesday evening.

On Thursday the boys team narrowly lost against King Edwards, but better news on Saturday where both our girls and boys convincingly won their triangular tournament against Wellingborough and Stowe.

The senior team played well to beat Old Swinford Hospital and the U16s beat North Bromsgrove High.


Well done to the U16A team who beat Kings Warwick to progress to the next round of the Cup.


Congratulations to the U14 team who beat Loughborough High School in the National Cup and commiserations to the U15s though, who lost a very close game against Cheadle Hulme School.


Well done to the U15A team who progress in the NATWEST Cup after a draw against Malvern College.
Meanwhile, the School won 7 of the matches played against Stowe School over the weekend.
A special acknowledgement of Morgan French, who has made international selection, having been named in the Welsh U18 rugby training squad. (June birthday by the way, so more proof that nothing is pre-determined.)

Well done to all of our swimming teams who won their fixtures against Kind Edward VIth Camp Hill.

The squash players competed well, but lost in the triangular fixture against King Edwards and Kenilworth.

Table Tennis
Both our girls and boys senior teams won their games in the Worcestershire County Championship competitions to progress to the regional finals.

Good luck to all those taking ABRSM practical music exams this week, taking place today (Monday) and tomorrow.

This afternoon sees the start of IVth Form Inter-House Debating, so best wishes to those representing their Houses

And finally a reminder that the Lower IVth Parents Evening is tomorrow.

Please stand as we say the Grace together.

19 November 2018

Last Updated: 19/11/2018 09:44:26

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 19th November 2018

Excerpt from ‘HARRISON BERGERON’ by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen- year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

Good Morning.
When the artificial poppy field was installed in front of the flagpole last week, it was made visually more interesting by setting the poppies at different heights. Originally, they were all identical, which looked a bit bland. When the heights were varied though, they gained more character. Which brought to mind, in a roundabout way, the short story that Nik just started for us. Called ‘HARRISON BERGERON’ it was written by Kurt Vonnegut, who was a master at imagining dystopian futures; read him if you can. ‘HARRISON BERGERON’ was one of his best short stories and it proposes the concept of a world in which there exists a Handicapper General, whose job it is to make everyone equal. To restrain and hinder people’s natural talents and abilities, so that nobody is better than anybody else.

I can tell you the rest of the story in a nutshell. As you heard, in 2081 the law dictates that all Americans are fully equal. Nobody is allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General's agents force citizens to wear different "handicaps."  Masks for those who are too beautiful, loud radios that disrupt the thoughts of intelligent people, and heavy weights to slow down the strong or athletic.

14-year-old Harrison is all of those things, so the Government abducts him from his parents, who are barely aware of the tragedy, as Hazel has only "average" intelligence (which means she is stupid), and George has a handicap radio installed in his head to regulate his above-average intelligence.

Hazel and George are watching ballet on television. The dancers are all weighed down, to counteract their gracefulness. They also wear masks, to hide their beauty. Suddenly a reporter interrupts the programme with breaking news. Although, unfortunately, he has such a serious speech impediment, he can’t be understood. So he hands the bulletin to one of the ballerinas to read. She must have been especially beautiful and graceful, because she is wearing the most hideous mask of all and heaviest weights. She begins reading in her unacceptably natural, sweet voice, before apologizing and switching to a more unpleasant tone.

She announces that Harrison has escaped from prison and shows a photo of him. He is so athletic, good looking and intelligent, that the Handicapper General’s men have given him the biggest impediments they could think of. Huge milk bottle glasses to blur his sight, massive screeching headphones to disrupt his thoughts and three hundred pounds of weights hanging off his body. Then to “equalise” his looks, he is made to wear a red clown’s nose, his eyebrows are shaved off and his teeth are stained black.

At that moment, Harrison himself storms the television studio in an attempt to overthrow the government. He calls himself the Emperor and rips off all of his handicaps, along with the handicaps of a ballerina, whom he names as his "Empress". He orders the musicians to throw off their handicaps too, and to play beautiful music. Then Harrison and his Empress ballerina dance towards the ceiling, pausing in mid-air to kiss.

At which moment, the Handicapper General enters the studio herself and kills them both with a ten-gauge double-barrelled shotgun. The musicians are forced to put their handicaps back on and everyone returns to their average lives. The end. I told you it was dystopian.

So, what has any of that got to do with the poppy field? There is an expression, more commonly heard where I come from than here, I must admit, known as the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome.’ If you have ever seen a field of poppies growing, you may know that most of them are uniform in colour, size and height. However, occasionally one grows taller than the rest, perhaps benefitting from better soil or more sunlight or moisture. Set against the rest of the field, they stand out. The tall poppy syndrome refers to the idea of destroying those poppies that stand out, so everything remains equal.

Reputedly, there was once a tyrannical Roman king, called Tarquin, who had an equally nasty son, also called Tarquin. Which was helpful. One day, young Tarquin sent a messenger to his dad asking what he should do to ensure that he retained absolute power over his people.

When the messenger returned though, he had to admit that Tarquin senior hadn’t given any advice. All he had done was to walk silently through a poppy field with the messenger, knocking off the heads off the tallest poppies with a stick.

However, as soon as the messenger recounted this, the young Tarquin realised that his father was actually sending him a message. Telling him to maintain power by seeking out the most eminent people in his city and chopping off their heads. Which he then did.

The tall poppy syndrome therefore, has become a metaphor for the practice of destroying, or even just attacking or belittling, people who are more successful than others are. Hence the story of the Handicapper General. Who at least pulled others down with weights and masks, rather than assassinating them.

Young King Tarquin was motivated by an ugly desire to retain absolute power. You could perhaps argue that the Handicapper General was motivated by a more worthy desire to promote equality. In the end though, their efforts led to the same thing. If you repress talent, if you weigh down or chop down those who excel, everyone loses. The way to lift people up is not by pulling others down. That view pre-supposes that only some people can win in life, which is nonsense.

Life is not a zero sum game. Not a set of scales where, for one person to be successful, another must fail. There is no great cosmic equation that says for every person who is a great athlete, there must be someone who can’t tie their shoelaces. For every millionaire, there must be a homeless person. For every maestro there must be a moron. Life doesn’t work that way. There is enough room for everyone to be talented, strong or beautiful.

If you want another metaphor, consider a common scene on the dock of any fishing village. When the boats come in, buckets of crabs are handed up onto the wharf, ready to go fresh to market. The crabs are all still alive and, presumably, keen to escape and avoid ending up on someone’s dinner plate. Yet no lids are put on the buckets to stop them from climbing out. Why not?

Because every time one crab successfully hauls itself up to the lip of the bucket, the other crabs down below all pull it back down. In order to get ahead themselves, they claw the leading crab back down. That characteristic lends its name to an observed behaviour human psychology known as ‘crab mentality.’ Wherein someone tries to pull down those who are performing better than him or her.

I raise all of this today, not in criticism but in praise. I spend a lot of my week talking to people about this School. Especially prospective families who wish to enrol here. Inevitably, they usually ask “What makes Bromsgrove different?” One thing I tell them is that here, talent is encouraged, applauded. Which may seem obvious; that’s what teachers are meant to do. Get the best out of their pupils. Find potential and unlock it.

However, I explain that I am not just talking about teachers. I am talking about you. I have taught for 31 years, worked in seven schools, visited countless others. Yet I have never known a school where encouragement amongst pupils for each other’s talents and successes has been so normal. Publicly, like here in Routh, but also privately, in your Houses and your friendships.

Crabs in a bucket, poppies in a field. Let those who can, rise. Celebrate their achievements, as they will undoubtedly celebrate yours. Prize equality, but also accept that we all have different talents. Don’t envy the abilities you haven’t got, revel in those that you have. I am proud that tall poppies are allowed to flourish in this School. Encouraged even. You are the ones who are letting that happen, so you should be proud too.

Congratulations to the U16 Girls’ tennis team who have finished as runners up in the Regional Final of the National School’s Competition. The team of: Claudia Bullock, Izzy O’Connor, Gemma Calthorpe, and Bobby Mekushina beat a strong Moreton Hall side 4 sets to 2 in the Semi-final before losing to Leicester Grammar School in the final. This is the first time in recent history that a Bromsgrove School team has reached the Regional Finals, and to finish as runners up is a fantastic achievement. This puts them in the top 10 School teams in the country for their age group.

L4 House Badminton
Boys’ Competition: Runners Up - School House, Winners - WG
Girls’ Competition: Runners Up- Mary Windsor, Winners - Oakley


The Boys Senior House swimming was very well contested with almost 100 participants.
The results were as follows:
3rd place- School House
2nd place- Housman Hall
1st place- Elmshurst

Both the boys and girls teams played well to beat Malvern College 7-2 and 8-1 respectively.


Congratulations to the boys U16A’s basketball who beat St Augustine’s Catholic High School 62-22


Congratulations to Orla Walker who received her Cadet Forces National sporting excellence award.


Three of our fencers attended the Cocks Moors Woods Epee competition. Elsa Tisa fenced in the U15 girls event where she finished 10th, Ada Tylova fenced in the Women’s event finishing 20th, whilst Artem Veprev finished 33rd.

Well done to the Girls U18 Indoor Hockey team who have qualified for the Midlands finals.
Congratulations also to the U14 team, who have qualified for the Midlands outdoor finals.
The Girls 1st team played well to beat Colston’s School 3-0 in the national plate competition.

Meanwhile, in the matches played against Trent College there were wins for the U15B, U16A &B teams and draws for the U14B and U15A teams.

In Boys Hockey, the senior team beat Princethorpe College 3-1

The U15’s lost against Solihull School in the Schools Cup but well done to the 1st team, who beat a strong St Helen and St Katherine School squad to progress to the next round.

Sadly, in last week’s NatWest cup match the 1st XV lost a valiantly fought match against Warwick School. I probably shouldn’t have invoked the All Blacks as inspiration, but well-played nonetheless, gentlemen.

Well done to all of our Rugby teams who contributed to a strong fixture against RGS High Wycombe, producing 8 wins and a draw out of the 11 games played.

Table tennis
Finally, in Table Tennis matches played against Holte School, our boys won 16-4 and the girls lost 7-5.


Sports Scholarship assessments today and tomorrow.

There is a Lunchtime Concert tomorrow in Routh Hall featuring performances by GCSE Fourth Form groups and soloists, performing ahead of forthcoming examinations. All would appreciate your support, which starts promptly at 1.15pm.

You are also welcome to attend a solo recital given by Jude Wynter tomorrow evening. Jude will be performing a 40-minute programme of piano music before he sits a prestigious examination, seen as the equivalent standard to a final year undergraduate performance. All are welcome to attend: 5.20pm in Routh on Tuesday.

We are delighted to be welcoming the highly acclaimed a-cappella group, Papagena, to perform on the evening of 28th November as part of their UK tour. There are a number of FREE seats available for pupils on a first come first served basis. Email Mrs Hinde if you would like one.

Finally, on Thursday Andy Phippen will be addressing the Lower and Upper Fourth on Online Safety.

Please stand as we say the Grace together.

12 November

Last Updated: 12/11/2018 12:33:21

Headmaster’s Routh Assembly Address
Monday 12th November 2018

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The author Salman Rushdie wrote:
“Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read.

If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people.

I can walk into a bookshop and point out a number of books that I find very unattractive in what they say. But it doesn't occur to me to burn the bookshop down. If you don't like a book, read another book. If you start reading a book and you decide you don't like it, nobody is telling you to finish it.

To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.”
Yesterday we remembered the cost of war and acknowledged the freedoms we enjoy today as a result of great sacrifices made on our behalf.

As a quick aside, could I publicly acknowledge all who played a part in making last week’s Remembrance commemorations so successful. I was especially proud of the CCF cadets who were outstanding at a number of functions. But thanks also to the superb Chapel choir, to our excellent guides and ushers, to you all, for you respectful attendance at the various services. You honoured not only the fallen but also the School and I thank you for that.

Anyway, back to the freedoms that we were celebrating. So important were they, and so high the cost, immediately after the Second World War, governments around the world banded together and formed the United Nations to protect them. One of the first acts of which, was to produce an agreed list of the freedoms that all people on the Earth should enjoy, regardless of their nationality, race, gender, age or religion. It was to be called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

That declaration contains 30 rights that all people should have. You have just heard Lucia read one of them. Article 19, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” Free speech. However, I have to assure you this morning, there is no such thing. No such thing as free speech.

The term is thrown around often enough, of course. And misunderstood just as often. Those who think freedom of speech is the right to say whatever you like, whenever you like, about whatever you like, are sadly mistaken.

Amnesty International says “Freedom of speech is the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, by any means.” That is closer to the truth. Freedom of speech and expression applies to ideas of all kinds, including those that may be deeply offensive to some people.

As long ago as the 1700’s, the great French writer Voltaire is reputed to have said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

As the author Salman Rushdie said in the second part of that reading “Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read.”
That is so. There is no article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that says you have the right never to hear anything that you don’t like. Unfortunately, that is a fact that some of our universities seem to struggle with at times, when they ban invited speakers because of student outrage, insisting on “safe spaces” where no opinion may be voiced that might upset someone. Of all places, universities should know that only by airing unpalatable and offensive opinions can they be countered are dismissed. Whether we like it or not, people have the right to cause offence with what they say.

However, your right to express your opinions comes with conditions and responsibilities and there are situations in most countries where free speech can be legitimately restricted.

Even in America, where the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, there are limits. Some may think there are not enough.

You only need to witness the appalling scenes of the vile Reverend Fred Phelps and his followers from the Westboro Baptist Church, picketing the funerals of dead soldiers to understand why. They chant slogans and carry placards saying that the person being buried deserved to die … because, apparently, God hates gays.

Their perverted logic being that because the American military doesn’t discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality, God is killing troops to punish them.

An offensive enough opinion by itself, but to shove it in the face of a grieving family and friends on the very day of the funeral is beyond comprehension. Yet, as long as they do not incite violence or libel anyone , the Westboro disciples are within their rights of free speech.

Other nations have different limits and different consequences when they are breached. In Britain, Article 10 of the Human Rights Act guarantees everyone the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

However, the exercise of these freedoms may be subject to conditions, restrictions or penalties. Free speech in this country can be restricted for reasons such as national security, public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, protection of health or morals, protection of the reputation or rights of others, preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. In short, there are lots of reasons why you can’t just say what you want in the UK, especially if what you say will cause actual harm.

All of those rules relate to limiting your freedom to speak in some way and, in that respect, there is no such thing as completely free speech. However, that is only one interpretation of the word free, is it? There is another.

Not ‘Free’ as in being completely at liberty and unrestrained. But ‘Free’ as in not costing anything. That is more what I have in mind when I say to you that there is no such thing as free speech. Because I believe every word we ever utter, has a cost. No matter how impassioned, private, impulsive or justified, every time we express an opinion, there is some sort of consequence. So you have to be prepared to pay the price when you speak.

And by speak, I do not just mean with your vocal chords, but also with your writing, texting, posting of images. Even liking something on social media is a form of expressing your opinion. One for which you must be prepared to be accountable. There is always a cost. Banter that is taken personally – there is a cost. A private digital message that goes public – there is a cost. Retweeting or simply repeating something shocking you saw elsewhere, just for effect – there will be a cost.

When I spoke to prospective pupils at Open Morning on Staurday, I said that this was a school where debate, discourse and the sharing of ideas was encouraged. I believe that to be so.
But part of what we must also teach you is that there is a price to be paid when we make our thoughts known. Usually it is small, often it is positive. Sometimes though, it is worse than anticipated. It may well be that there is no law against causing offence to others, but there will inevitably be a cost. You must own the words that you utter and if they cause offence, you must bear the consequences. Even if there is no law against it.

Intermediate British Biology Olympiad.

Nearly 7000 of the top L6th biologists nationally took part in this challenging competition in June, designed to encourage biology scholars to develop further knowledge and problem solving skills.
Bromsgrove was represented and I invite the following to receive their certificates:
Bronze (top 25%):Vanessa Chou, Georgie Muscutt, William Roberts, Lina Schlinkheider, Charlie Smart

Silver (top 10%):Anna Huang

The Senior Biology Olympiad will take place in January and any interested sixth formers can register their interest with Mrs Wright.

Junior House Basketball

A closely fought House basketball competition resulted in Elmhurst beating Walters in the final, 10-2.
I invite the Elmshurst captain to receive the trophy.

CCF Survival Course
The following cadets completed their Level 2 wilderness training during the half term holidays; I invite them forward to receive their certificates:
Adam Au, Freya Tweddell, James Bateman, Kalea Booth, Mitchell Hare, Ellie Johnson, Thomas Holroyd, Tori Kemp, Mitchell Jiang, Shona Mills, Radu Polschi, Heidi Newman, Harry Richards, Fenella Stone, Hayden Stanley, Thomas Ward

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Isabella Walters competed in two further Clay Shooting Competitions for Bromsgrove, she performed well finishing 4th and 3rd respectively.

Both the Girls’ 1st and 2nd teams played well to beat Cheltenham Ladies College.

The U16 team lost in a good game against Alcester Grammar School.

Cross Country
We hosted an invitational match on Saturday and it was pleasing to see so many participating. Special mention must go to Orla Walker who finished second in the girls race.
Meanwhile, our intermediate boys and girls teams competed in the Midlands Finals; all runners ran well and congratulations go to Natalie Hatfield, who won the race.

The U15 boys’ team beat Solihull School 3-2.
Sadly though, a disappointing set of results for the girls teams in the matches against Uppingham School, with only the U15B team registering a win.

Better news in Netball, where the U16 team reached the semi-final of the county tournament before losing to eventual winners Kings Worcester.
However, congratulations to the U14 netball team, who were crowned county champions on Saturday. They won their pool comfortably; beat Malvern College in the semi-final and RGS Worcester in the final. This means Bromsgrove have retained this title for the 7th year in a row. We now progress through to the West Midlands finals in the New Year.

Finally, an excellent afternoon for the rugby teams with all 11 teams winning their matches against Sir Thomas Rich’s School. The 1st XV winning 40-12.

Fourth Form House Drama Competition

Today sees the launch of this year’s Fourth Form House Drama Competition, the final of which will take place in the third week of next term. Last year’s inaugural event was a great success and a showcase for the acting talent that we know exists in each House.

The competition is open to performers in the Upper and Lower Fourth, however your play may be directed by a 5th or 6th Former.

There is no specific theme; each house should perform an extract of no more than 7 minutes which can be from a previously published play or something that you may choose to write yourselves. The Performing Arts Department will assist you in finding a suitable piece, if required and you each House is asked to select a representative who should contact Mr. Norton by the end of this week.

This year's first edition of the school magazine 201 is out and available to read in both printed and electronic versions. Find yourself a copy and read the thoughts of your peers' on "success". Remember that the next issue has the prompt "Inside or outside the box?" and contributions are due to Alia or Vivianne by this Friday.
If you are interested in a career in Law, do not miss out on a talk from Old Bromsgrovian Myles Griffiths, who will be presenting a session at 5.30 pm on Thursday in the Lecture Theatre. He will then be interviewing potential Law students at the U6 Interview Evening. Please email Mrs Ashcroft for a seat.

Also on Thursday evening before the U6th interviews, Dr William Bolton (OB Lupton House) will be giving a presentation at 6pm in H20 on his research in the medical field. This is an excellent opportunity for all students studying sciences (not just Medics) to gain insight to assist your studies. Dr Bolton is a Clinical Research Fellow in Global Surgical Technologies at the University of Leeds. His talk is entitled ‘Technology in Healthcare: From Robots to Sausages’. This is open to all students in the 5th and 6th form.

A reminder that Marmite’ seminars are also an excellent extension of your studies. Participants, new or old, are always welcome. Please email Dr Ruben, who also reminds you about the next Marmite Movie and Pizza Evening, this Friday, 5.15pm at 5 Conway Road, where Marvel's Black Panther will screen.

Early notice that everyone is welcome to Routh on Tuesday 20 November, at 5.20pm to hear Jude Wynter perform Chopin, Haydn, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Barber as part of his Licentiate Trinity College London Diploma.

Finally, all the best to teams playing important cup matches this week and especially to the 1st XV, who meet Warwick School in their next Nat West cup match tomorrow. A lesson from the All Blacks gentlemen – never panic and never say die.

Please stand as we say the Grace together.

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