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News > Headmaster's Newsletter > There's No Business Like Snow Business

There's No Business Like Snow Business

There's no business like snow business
Christmas Lunch
Christmas Lunch

Many thanks to staff, boys and parents for their co-operation during the bad weather.  I am sure that many of us enjoyed a largely unexpected Monday at home but I was very pleased to be able to open again on Tuesday. We had excellent attendance and, whilst I’m sure that there will have been a few howls of protest ‘why has the Headmaster opened the school?’ (or maybe something less polite), I do believe that we have a responsibility to teach the importance of ‘business as usual’ when, of course, it is safe to do so.

From what I can tell, the communications worked well but I would, as ever, appreciate any feedback if you feel that there is anything that was missed.

As you are aware, we were unable to hold our Carol Service on Monday.  It is taking place at 5pm this afternoon, as notified.

We all enjoyed our Christmas lunch, with 650 servings in just over an hour.  Many thanks to our caterers for their hard work in making this happen.  It was good to see so many people wearing their Christmas jumpers (including staff).

We say goodbye to Miss Elizabeth Bishop, who has taken a post in the independent sector. We all wish Miss Bishop every success and thank her for her work at RGS.  We have secured the services of Dr Tamar who replaces Miss Bishop in the short term.

‘For behold’, saith County Transport, ‘I shew you a mystery.  Whither goeth the school bus after Christmas?’

Following the bewildering letter you may have received from the County Council, I will let you know when I have seen further information about the imminent changes to some of the routes and, if necessary, seek your feedback.


Report from Mr Silvey:  On 24 November, twelve Year 8 boys took part in the U13 National competition held at Eton. In what was a rather long and chilly day the boys played tremendously well with two pairs getting into the main competition after the group stages, sadly both losing to Highgate in the first and second round of the knockout.  The pair of Brandon Tchoudi and Daniel Hanrahan got to the final of the plate competition but lost in a tough fought battle, also against Highgate.  On 26 November, twelve Year 7 boys took part in the individual competition, also held at Eton.  They didn't get as far as their counterparts in Year 8 but learned a lot and, with a little work, we should be able to hold our own at the Nationals in March.

Pete Fletcher, Managing Director of World Challenge, delivered an excellent Ethos of Learning assembly on Tuesday. He shared with the students the important values, which have shaped his highly successful career. From rowing the Atlantic to running a highly successful business, those same values have been imperative in all he has achieved.

As you may know, we have a recently renovated indoor climbing wall at RGS.  Unfortunately we currently have no-one with an Indoor Climbing Wall Instructor qualification who is able to lead climbing as an activity either during TAA or at another time.  If you know of anyone who would be interested in this activity, who would have the right level of qualification to instruct others (The British Mountaineering Council's Climbing Wall Award), please could you ask them to contact Miss Munday ( for more details.


Report from Mr Venvell:  16 RGS musicians had the good fortune to have a long weekend in the beautiful city of Salzburg as part of the ongoing cultural exchange between the Music Department and the Bundesgymnasium Nonntal, which was established about 10 years ago through the contacts of Richard Bolton. The boys joined the BGN choir for an Advent Concert in the Church of St Erhard near the school and sang Mass at Salzburg Cathedral on Sunday morning to a congregation of approximately 800 people!  On Sunday evening they attended a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in the Mozarteum, and on Monday morning had a tour of the Festival District, being allowed to sing in the 2300-seater Opera House. The snowy weather was literally the icing on the cake!  Singers Ltd have also added some musical notes to the website.

At the end of the term, I am asked to sign Accelerated Reader certificates, often contracting RSI in the process of doing so.  Our librarian, Mrs Jones has written the following for your interest:  As we approach the end of this year’s first term, the Year 7 and 8 boys have settled into their use of the Library, are reading well and are using the Accelerated Reader software to quiz themselves on the books they have read.  House points will be awarded to the ‘top reading’ houses. Currently, with one week to run, Buckingham (7AB) are leading Year 7 with 442 quizzes (nearly 14 books per boy – well over the national average for a year, not just a term).  In Year 8, Buckingham are also in the lead with 179 quizzes. The leading form in Year 8 is 8FH with 283 quizzes, though 8VC are hot on their heels with 269. 277 Progress Certificates have been handed out so far, with a pleasing number of boys reaching the prestigious ‘Classic Reader’ level. This award represents a significant number of books read and successfully quizzed upon and is a particularly good achievement for any Year 7 boy this early in the year. Word Millionaire certificates are also in circulation.  We currently have 28 millionaires, with five Year 7s having passed the 2 Million mark.  Again, this indicates sustained, mindful reading and we congratulate these boys and the English and Form teachers who consistently encourage them and support the strong reading culture that we have at RGS.

I should like to thank parents who are contributing towards our Annual Fund - some of you for many years.   We have had a number of new donors this year – generous gifts which go a long way to enabling us to work towards the exceptional education we strive to provide.  We cannot ‘live by state grant alone’ and we really do appreciate the support through the Annual Fund and the various ‘Friends of’ groups.  If you have not yet been able to subscribe but feel that you may be in a position to do so, please do consider supporting your son’s school.  With many thanks.

Report from the RGSPA:  The Fair raised £3,725. About 550 people attended and sold approximately 1,850 raffle tickets. The top form for raffle ticket selling was 8FH with 125 tickets. The top salesman was Ben Huddleston of 8LH who sold 50 tickets. The PA would like to thank all those who came along and those that donated raffle prizes, items for the hampers (which raised £300), the tombola (which raised £400) and the cake stall (raising £150). Thanks also to those businesses that advertised in the programme. We hope that everyone who came along enjoyed all the activities on offer.

Report from Mrs Francis:  Last Thursday morning the Year 9s were given a small insight into the breadth, success and range of careers available in the creative industries. The boys heard that not only has this sector grown at twice the rate of the wider economy in 2015-2016, the creative industries now accounts for one in eleven jobs, a rate rising more quickly than all other parts of the economy.  We were fortunate enough to have several experienced and fascinating speakers, including Mr Forrest-Smith - a storyboard artist whose latest films include Star Wars, The Force Awakens and Wonder Woman, Mr Whalley, who had previously designed one of the Raleigh Chopper bikes, and a returning old boy, Oli Munby, whose is currently studying Architecture at UCL along with our own Mr Bowen 'Artist in Residence' who talked about his successful ceramics career creating bespoke pieces for numerous high end Michelin starred restaurants. The boys said they found it a very engaging and eye opening assembly.

 I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Philip Wayne

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