Seeing former pupils go on to great things is one of the timeless joys of being in teaching. Of course, witnessing growth and success in any area of life gives the same pleasure: it’s just I suppose that public success is that bit more noticeable. It was an honour for Whitgift to have two players in England’s rugby squad (Elliot Daly and Danny Cipriani), and I hope I can be forgiven a bit of vicarious pride that one of my own former pupils from a different school, Jos Buttler, also did well for England’s cricket side last week.
On the way, these young men and the many others who have found fame, will have been mentored and given their chance. At the Trinity Collection concert before half term, we saw some younger talent, including the terrific Marlon Barrios Araya, and (as the Director of Music pointed out), some experienced Sixth Form musicians playing alongside younger boys in junior ensembles. Just as playing alongside a couple of professionals at Cadogan Hall can inspire our orchestra, so too for the younger groups a couple of seasoned seniors can do the same. Thank you to them all.
Of course, a feature of the summer term is this ‘changing of the guard’. We interview after half term for a new School Captain, and we end the term with the Celebration of Whitgift Life, the celebration being not just a litany of things we’ve done, but a marking of what is possible, what can be achieved, the bar being set. Our guest is an Old Whitgiftian who is widely recognised as one of the most important and intelligent influences in today’s serious media, the Newsnight Editor Chris Cook, and the occasion will be as inspirational as ever, I’m sure.
Between now and then it’s the exam phase of the year. I know of course that exams can be stressful, and that there are downsides to this way of judging people. But - to end with the sporting theme as I started - what sportsman would really enjoy endless training without a tournament, or a season of friendlies with no cup? Testing ourselves under pressure is no bad thing: good luck.