I start by announcing that from September 2017 the School will offer in the Sixth Form the International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (IBCP) to sit alongside the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and A Levels that we already offer. This is an exciting development. More details may be found below. Ten years ago, Warminster School was the first school in the south-west to adopt the Diploma Programme; we are now the first school to adopt the IBCP. Indeed, we are only the second HMC School in England to offer the programme. I am confident that, given the changing world of work landscape (and higher education), we shall not be the last.
It is hard to believe that we have reached half-term. A lot has been achieved and the pupils are looking forward to a well-deserved break. Recent highlights include a very successful and well-attended International Students’ Dinner; as I told the School in Assembly this week, the mixture of nationalities and consequent perspectives, opinions and points of view at the School, is priceless. Here we are, in rural Wiltshire, and yet with a cosmopolitan pupil body with approximately 35 nationalities represented. It represents the global reality of 2016 and also gives all the children the opportunity to leave school with friends all over the world.
Other highlights have included today’s Prep visit (every child and member of staff) to Forest School for the day, an undertaking that presented a significant logistical challenge. The weather held and they had a lovely time. When I visited, I could not believe the level of excitement that was still on display after five hours up there! Forest School, on the Longleat Estate, is a magnificent resource. I also visited the CCF there recently and watched them learning to gut fish, to make fire and to throw axes, all led and instructed by the senior cadets. Great stuff. Talking of the CCF, the School enjoyed a successful Biennial Inspection of its CCF recently from Colonel Mark Nash, the Commandant Wiltshire Army Cadets. What most impressed Col Nash was that same leadership by senior cadets. What especially delighted me was seeing our cadets and cadets from our state school CCF partner, Matravers School in Westbury, on parade and in action together. Most encouraging.
The School has also exhibited some of its art work at the prestigious Society of Heads’ exhibition in Sussex and congratulations to former pupil Ela Hartley (OV 2016), who won the photography category, a splendid achievement.
As you will see below, there are numerous events for parents taking place in the second half of term. Please do make a note of these and support them if you are able – some of them are hugely enjoyable mainstays of the school calendar, such as the WSPA’s firework display, the Christmas fayre and the dinner & dance, while some are new, such as the wine-tasting evening for parents on 29 November. This event will be hosted by Lea & Sandeman, a London wine merchant that Time Out magazine described as ‘Probably the best wine shop in the country for selection, layout and quality of advice and service’.
Carols by Candlelight, another delightful and annual occasion, moves this year from the School’s chapel to the Minster Church next door in order to accommodate much greater parental demand in recent years. It takes place on 7 December. A week earlier, on 30 November, please do consider coming to the next TA Lecture; the speaker is Chris Lubbe, a South African who was an activist in the struggle against apartheid and later became Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard in the 1990s, when he was elected President. It promises to be a fascinating evening.
Grade cards will be available via the parent portal from 4 p.m. today (Friday 21 October); please do read these grades in conjunction with my recent explanatory letter (Mr Fothergill sent a similar letter to parents of those in the Prep) and discuss them carefully with your son or daughter. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s tutor.
Over the half-term, an incredible seventy-two pupils and staff are going on a six day hockey tour to Holland. What an opportunity. Many other pupils will be involved over the break in the ongoing rehearsals for the four performances of ‘Grease’ in the Athenaeum on 16 – 19 November. It promises to be great entertainment, so please do book your tickets early. They are available either at the box office or on the Athenaeum’s website.
May I wish everyone a restful and enjoyable half-term.