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Headmaster's End of Term Letter
16 December 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Every three years we bring our community together in one place for the Service of Carols at Peterborough Cathedral and it is always a very special way to end the Winter Term. This year was no exception. It was wonderful to see so many Oakham parents, trustees and friends joining the staff and pupils last Friday for an incredibly uplifting Service to send us off with the joyful message of Christmas ringing in our ears. The Jerwoods Carol Service, on the day before, was just as special and I am particularly grateful to our Chaplaincy Fellow, Mr Tom Constable, who preached to the younger Oakhamians about how to embrace those challenges which we all face in many aspects of our lives. He made the point that it is at school that so many such occasions present themselves and encourage the most effective learning.
Judging by the many end of term reports that I have read over the last week, I think it fair to say that a great deal of effective learning has taken place over the last three months. I believe the new Oakham timetable has helped both by removing some of the frenetic movement around the campus and enabling deeper learning to take place in lessons. Feedback from students and staff has generally been very positive but we will be gaining more formal feedback, from teachers and pupils, during the next term with the aim of making further improvements for the next academic year.
It has been exciting over the past month to see work finally begin on the new Faculty for Social Sciences (being constructed next to the School Shop) which will complete the past eight years’ extensive redevelopment of our academic teaching facilities. In the Spring Term work will begin on the long-awaited redevelopment of the Sports Hall!
Although the Winter Term was a very quiet period for staff recruitment for the next academic year, I would like to bring you up to date with some significant changes:
- The Chaplain, Rev. Alex Aldous, will be retiring next summer and I will bring you news of his successor in the New Year.
- Sally Wragg, Housemistress of Ancaster, is also retiring next summer and she will be succeeded by Alison Petit who will also continue to teach Lower 1.
- Alastair Speers, Housemaster of Clipsham and Senior Housemaster, has been appointed Headmaster of Sandroyd Prep School in Wiltshire from next September. He will be succeeded in Clipsham by Tim Dixon-Dale.
Also, I am delighted to bring you the news that we will be joined next term by our new Director of Cricket, Neil Johnson. He is currently the very successful 1st XI coach at Hilton College in South Africa, having previously played Test Cricket and one day international cricket for Zimbabwe.
Talking of success, many parents commented to me outside the cathedral on Friday on the superb quality of the choral singing. Earlier last week, the Chamber Choir achieved terrific accolades by reaching the semi-finals (top six schools) in both the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year Competition, and the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition. You will be able to see the former on the BBC later in 2016 and the latter will take place at the Royal Festival Hall. Exciting times lie ahead for our top choral singers. It really has been a remarkable end to the year for the Performing Arts at Oakham given the stunning performances of Cabaret a couple of weeks ago.
You can read of our many other great successes during the past term in my termly Roll of Achievements attached to this letter. Throughout every term we aim to highlight much of what is happening at Oakham in the Latest News on the School website, not just achievements, but stories of great effort and enthusiastic participation.
The website is one of the best ways to keep up to date with all of the news from the School. Life at Oakham is always full and busy, so the website news is constantly refreshed and updated. To make sure you do not miss out on anything going on, another good way to learn about the news as it happens, is to follow us on Twitter - @OakhamSch. So if you are not following us on social media, make it a New Year resolution to do so in 2016!
Jill and I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and our very best wishes for the New Year.