From the Headmaster - April 2018

Posted by MM - Saturday 28 April 2018

For the last few years, a mallard has been nesting in the pond adjacent to the School Hall. It seems a less than perfect nesting site as it is covered by netting to prevent herons from availing themselves of the fish in the pond. I understand from the RSPB that the laying period is very stressful for female ducks as they lay more than half their body weight in eggs in a couple of weeks. They need a lot of rest and depend heavily on their mates to protect them. I shall not include further information about the relationships between the males and females beyond this point as drakes do not come out of it well. However, returning to our duck, I gather that no fewer than twelve ducklings appeared during one day this week. I couldn’t help but think about what will happen to them, knowing that every year significant numbers do not survive despite the best efforts of their mothers.

The parallel between the ducklings and our students isn’t completely straightforward, but we see our role here as both protectors and educators - we strive to provide our pupils with a safe, secure and nurturing environment as they learn, grow and eventually prepare to spread their wings and enter the wider world. For our Year 13 pupils, the time when they will gain much more independence is fast approaching. They have just completed a full set of Trial Examinations, which should prove invaluable indicators of their academic strengths and target areas for improvement in the last few remaining lessons at school. I am sure that they will take an active part in the discussions with teachers as they unpick their performance and prepare for the real thing. For Year 11, only one more week of the normal school timetable remains before different arrangements are in place leading up to the start of the full examination period.

The celebration of excellence and the virtue of competition are ingrained into Rich’s life from the very beginning of a boy’s school career here. This was demonstrated recently by our fiercely contested Inter-House Creative Writing Competition. Judge Jonathan Margetts commented that it produced: ‘A mature range of creative writing from all competitors, notable for its inclusion of both confessional and experimental concrete poetry alongside more traditional narrative types’. Amy Johnson in Year 13 was the winner in the senior category and Simeon King in the junior section. Well done and congratulations to all competitors. Of course, it is always good to see boys achieve beyond the school gates. I am sure most of you will have noted Sam Underhill’s continued success for both and with England. The School is enormously proud of his achievements. I thought that you might like to know that Noah Smerdon’s (Year 12) success in football continues - not only has he recently captained England under 18s a first for a pupil at this school, last week playing for Gloucester city, he scored the winning goal and was man of the match – a fantastic achievement.

As the rugby season draws to a close, I must share with parents how grateful I am to all staff who give up countless hours of their own time in order to provide opportunities for pupils to play sport. It is a hugely important part of life at Rich’s. Most of you now know that we will be losing Rhys Williams at the end of this academic year as he takes up the post of Director of Sport at Bristol Grammar School. There will be plenty of opportunities to say our goodbyes and thankyous towards the end of this term, but it is entirely appropriate in this email that I thank him publically for quite simply transforming sport at Rich’s. I know of no better coach of the elite schoolboy sportsman, nor of any man more passionate about both pursuing excellence and inspiring all to do their best to improve and enjoy their sport.

I am pleased to inform you that Chris Carter, Deputy Headmaster will take on the Director of Sport role alongside other whole school responsibilities, with effect from September 2018. Peter Daniell will become Head of the Upper School, looking after Key Stage 4, and Matt Lynch will remain at the helm in the Sixth Form. Nick O’Neill will take over as Head of PE and Chris Powell will oversee games. Rhys Davies will coach the 1st XV. I know that staff are looking forward to ensuring that we continue to offer exceptional sporting opportunities and compete at the highest level.

On this note, on Wednesday 2nd of May the under 14 rugby team will play Archway School in the EDF County cup final. The match will be played at Kingsholm Stadium and will kick off at 4pm. Entry is free for all spectators, so please do come along to support the players in this critical last match of the season.

Looking ahead, the next few weeks seem even more packed than the ones we have just had.

I would like to give everyone advance notice of our sports’ evening in July. After last year’s success we are once again joining with the Parents’ Association in order to make the event as well attended as possible. As well as the culmination of the House Athletics competition, we shall be having Summer Fayre style stalls and to this end, we expect all Years 7 and 9 to attend and run stalls if they are not competing in track or field events. Also, by popular demand, seniors will again compete in events. Further details will be published nearer the time. Please do look at our calendar to see the range of concerts, school events and visits taking place.

Matthew Morgan,