From the Headmaster - April 2016
Whilst some of the country's great Public Schools like Eton (1440), Harrow (1571), Winchester (1382), Rugby (1567), Shrewsbury and Bedford (both 1552) all date from the late medieval period, Sir Thomas Rich's has a longer and richer history than the majority of the UK's top independent schools. For example, Marlborough was established in 1843, Radley in 1847 and Wellington in 1859. I am enormously proud to be Headmaster of Rich's in this our 350th Anniversary year and I am looking forward to our music concert on 6 May and the Service of Thanksgiving at Gloucester Cathedral on 26 May – a reminder that parents are warmly invited to attend both of these events.
Our 350th Anniversary is a significant milestone in our history and it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our heritage, and look forward to an exciting future, as we continue to develop as one of the top schools in the country. Unlike the 19th century independent schools which were established to cater for the educational needs of the rising numbers of predominantly middle class young men and their aspirant parents who had made money during the Industrial Revolution, Sir Thomas Rich's was founded to provide a free education for boys who otherwise would not have benefited from any formal instruction. Whilst, at various times in the School's history there have been students whose parents have paid fees to attend, there has always been provision for the admission of non-fee paying scholars. I am pleased that in 2016, we are a state grammar school and it is important to me that selection is based on aptitude rather than on any other measure.
As the educational landscape locally and nationally continues to change, we will endeavour to continue to provide a broad based curriculum that includes lots of sport, increasing amounts of music and drama and other character building activities along with an emphasis on high standards where students are happy, grow in self-confidence, thrive academically, and make the most of the opportunities they have.
Like all of the most important things in life, relationships are at the heart of truly effective education. In his book, "Why not the Best Schools?" Brian Caldwell calls on schools to have clearly defined values, beliefs and attitudes. He stresses the importance of student wellbeing as a priority and encourages schools to put in place numerous strategies to support the needs of their students. As we look to the next 350 years, we can gain strength from our proud traditions and past achievements and renew our commitment to focus on the education of the "whole" student so that pupils feel secure and confident, thereby being successful in their learning.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind Parents that we have a number of Commemorative Merchandise items available for the 350th Anniversary. The full letter I sent home to parents is available here: https://strschool.co.uk/parents/letters/pdfs/2016-04-20-letter%20to%20parents%20and%20commemorative%20merchandise%20leaflet.pdf