End of Term Letter
End of Term Newsletter Summer 2021

End of Term Newsletter Summer 2021

Dear Parents and Pupils

As the academic year draws to a close, we emerge gradually from some of the challenges of COVID and begin to embrace a different normal and we do so with optimism. I am delighted to share some exciting news with you regarding the launch of two major projects that are central to the School’s next phase of development and investment.

King Edward’s Witley has evolved considerably over the years since its establishment in 1553 but we remain aware of the importance of continuous improvement in order to maintain this growth. For some time, we have been working on a new vision which will allow us to showcase a best-in-class teaching and learning setting in keeping with the ethos of the School. Following planning consent and approval from the School’s Governors, we are now able to move forward with our plans, so I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief overview of the intended enhancements.

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We will be repurposing the existing Exhibition Hall to create a striking centrepiece for the entire site, which will symbolise a welcoming state-of-the-art hub for independent learning and socialising. The ground floor of the building will incorporate a café and a generous space for pupils and staff to chat and collaborate, while the upper mezzanine library is designed to offer a contemporary and inspirational environment conducive to study and research. In addition, there will be an inviting outdoor area and small meeting rooms to encourage peer to peer learning and interaction.

Mindful of our responsibility to prepare our pupils for the next stage in their educational journey, we are also embarking upon the creation of an impressive Upper Sixth Form House that represents a stepping-stone to the independence and the full university experience. The House will provide a unique opportunity, allowing pupils to study independently while honing important life skills, in a vibrant, communal environment consistent with student campus accommodation.

Teaching and learning is at our core. As I write, we have received news of our excellent IB results for this year. I would like to congratulate our outgoing Upper Sixth Form who have achieved brilliant results, with 25% of them gaining 38 points or more, the equivalent of an Oxbridge offer of A*, A* and A. Our Head of School, Deniz Acar gained 44 points and this puts him into the top 1.2% in the world – he plans to go to the University of Warwick to read PPE. We all appreciate the resilience of the Upper Sixth who had to navigate considerable change. We wish them all very well as they can now proudly confirm their places at universities of their choice. Of particular note, Marcus Durkan takes up his place to read History and Politics at the University of Oxford. We are proud of all that they have achieved and wish them well as they go on to study an array of subjects from Biomedicine to Economics and Finance, from Durham to King’s College, London. A fabulous way to close their time at King Edward’s. These results are resoundingly good and reflect hours of hard work as well as guidance from their dedicated staff.

At this time of year, we say thank you to all staff and particularly those who are leaving. In no particular order, we say farewell to Mr Stephen Thurgood – teacher of Chemistry. He arrived in Zoom times and made an immediate impact in Chemistry teaching. Mr Ed Binham joined us earlier this term as a QMH tutor. He assisted in boarding, looking after those who had to isolate. His connection with pupils was wonderful. Mrs Carrie Withers leaves Wakefield as Matron but we are glad that she will not be travelling far away as she rejoins us in Kindy at Barrow Hills. Having led some great fixtures, and more recently becoming first female in Surrey to take part in the Men’s Premier League, Miss Matilda Callaghan leaves to become Head of Cricket at New Hall School. Miss Kirsty Hobkirk will pursue her teaching career in Bristol, having trained her with together with Miss Katie Symonds. They are now launching into their careers. We wish them well – it is always exciting to see teachers ‘take off’ into their own career pathways. Their contribution to school life and particularly the co-curricular programme has been invaluable. We may all have been captured on camera by Miss Vicky Dowding, our Marketing Intern who returns to Bournemouth University to complete her course. Many pupils, particularly our Foundationers, will be sorry to see Mrs Bronwen Rheinhardt our Bursaries and Charities Officer leave. She does so with a heavy heart but her family business beckons her away. Mrs Helen Hanley leaves us after being here since 2011. She has been a stalwart in so many areas of school life, often quietly without any fuss or attention – most recently, D of E has benefitted from her calm and ordered organisation. Last but not least, we say ‘Auf Wiedersehen‘ to Mrs Bettina Waters, teacher of German, as she retires from teaching. Having arrived here in 2004 at the same time as the IB, she has overseen so many exam cohorts. We will miss her.

Earlier in the academic year, we said goodbye to Mr Jim Langan, former Head of English and Drama and Head of Middle School. Mr Dougie Galbraith left us to be closer to family. We also applauded Mr Andrew Lewis, Director of Finance and Administration and Clerk to the Governors. As a former pupil, Andrew’s attachment to School traces back over many years and will, I hope, continue for many years to come. Mrs Zeba Clarke left us at half-term to take up a new and exciting post as Deputy Head in St Paul’s in San Paulo, Brazil. As colleagues and pupils leave, we thank them all and wish them well as they set out on new ventures.

We have welcomed new colleagues. In particular, I am delighted that Mr Dan Rogers is now an integral part of the Senior Team as Director of Finance and Operations having joined us from King’s Canterbury. In the short time that he has been at the School, he has made a significant difference and will continue to be working at pace as he now oversees the investment phase that we are entering.

We have also created something of a staffing shuffle as Mr Richard Davies takes up the role of Assistant Head Academic and works closely with Dr Tony Lennard, Director of Studies and ICT. Mrs Harris Jones takes on the role of Head of Sixth Form, assisted by Mrs Megan Phillips who will oversee UCAS and continue her Oxbridge work. Mr Andy Baynes is our new IB coordinator who has already been busy training. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated colleagues who know the School and the pupils so well.

Our shared goal is to develop academic confidence, supporting and inspiring all pupils to achieve their personal best. I am therefore delighted that Mrs Marilena Pevreall will extend the excellent work that she does with newly qualified teachers and teacher training to take on the new responsibility of leading teacher development.

This is a very exciting time for the School. Halted by COVID, we are now in an excellent position to embark on the next step of our long, historical and illustrious journey. As the last twelve months have demonstrated, we are a creative school and we can embrace change without losing the character or values that root us in our historical beginnings.

As we plan ahead, we look forward to being able to be back together again. We have planned a wonderful whole school event as we look forward to our Admissions Day which will take place at Guildford Cathedral on Wednesday 13th October in the afternoon. The change of venue means that all pupils can be involved and many parents too, we hope!

The summer promises to be busy as we will see the major building works begin. In addition, we are re-surfacing the Astro and refurbishing the kitchens. In addition, we look forward to welcoming friends from City of London primary schools as they bring some of their Years 5s and 6s for a day out and a residential stay. It is wonderful to be able to build up our connection with our City of London family of schools and share the use of our beautiful campus.

I hope that the summer holiday offers everyone; staff, pupil and parent time to relax, read and refresh. Whatever comes our way, we know that we can work together with resilience and creativity and we are a community that learns together and aspires to excellence. Please do share in some of the many achievements by browsing through the reports found in these pages as well as our social media posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I would like to thank all pupils for their resilience, the staff, academic and support for all their commitment and sense of community as we work together and parents for staying connected with us through this challenging year which has taken us on a detour and absorbed so much of our collective time and attention.

We all hope for an easier year next year – and here at King Edward’s, we can do so with optimism and excitement.

Joanna

Drama News

It has been a joy to return to face-to-face drama teaching this term! Pupils have been busy in their drama classes performing to one another rather than to external audiences in the newly refurbished Studio Theatre and outside in the grounds of the School. Our QMH pupils learned and performed scenes from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and the 3rd Form performed scenes from DNA.

Our GCSE pupils are studying ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare, and we recently hosted a day of workshops led by professional actors and directors where pupils developed their rehearsal and design skills and learned stage fighting techniques. We are very much looking forward to visiting The Globe Theatre in September with our GCSE and Sixth Form classes to see a play performed live on stage.

Sixth Form pupils, Ellen and Angel, arranged an evening performance to showcase the talents of our 3rd and 4th Forms last month. Pupils were encouraged to sign up and rehearse their favourite moments from Hollywood movies. The 70-seat venue was jam packed and the atmosphere was electric as pupils whizzed through various scenes and songs, allowing us all to relish the shared experience of live performance that we had all been missing. Hopefully, this is the first of many more student led productions.

Looking ahead to next term, our Resident Director, Miss MacDonald, will direct the Senior production of ‘Twelfth Night’ to be performed on 28th and 29th November and the whole school community will be invited to watch. We will also showcase GCSE performances; the 4th Form will perform ‘Cookies’ on 13th October and the 5th Form will present their devised performances on 17th November at 7pm in the Studio Theatre. We hope to welcome audiences to these events.

We are widening our curriculum from September to include dance and will be welcoming Miss Dalton who will be teaching drama and dance. We will also be leading new dance activities for the pupils.

Mrs Lynsey Cleaves

Director of Drama

Sports News

Finally, we have had some fixtures! It has been a most welcome return for interschool matches this term with fixtures taking place in cricket, rounders, athletics and tennis. There has been a real buzz around the place, particularly in QMH, with some excellent results.

Team Sports

Girls Cricket

For many, this is the first ‘proper’ season of cricket considering the postponement of all fixtures during the 2020 season. The girls played a total of 23 fixtures during this term and won a brilliant 16 of them (a 69% success rate!).

The U13A side are worthy of note having won 6 out of 6 all by comfortable margins. A particular highlight of their season was a high scoring victory over Amesbury. The whole team were superb but notably Penny, Robyn and April lead from the front with their bowling. It is also worth noting a 100% representation rate amongst the girls in QMH.

The U15A side also enjoyed similar success and only one solitary defeat in their season with some hefty victories. There was a scary moment when they managed to steal a victory over Box Hill by just one run! The U14B side were hit the hardest of any team with regard to fixture cancellations due to the weather. They were only defeated once in their season.

Boys Cricket

At U13 level there is an extraordinary enthusiasm for cricket with excellent talent and a willingness to participate running through QMH. We have been able to rotate pupils in and out of the teams to ensure as much participation as possible with 88% of 1st Form and 70% of 2nd Form contributing to the school teams.

The U13A side have had a terrific season.  There have been some enormous victories most recently against Christ’s Hospital and Barrow Hills.  Will Craggs and Max Holden (1st Form) are notable performers, based on statistics with Will scoring an average of over 50 with the bat whilst Max has taken 11 wickets during the season.  Johnny Fleming, Will Cook, Tom Harrison, Luke Botha and Freddie Alexander have also had excellent seasons. Joe Bain also arrived to the team as wicketkeeper and has been brilliant.

The B team were only defeated once during a lengthy season with many players performing well enough to become firm fixtures in the A team. The C and D teams were rotated to ensure participation for all. They only suffered one defeat across both teams demonstrating the depth of talent in this age group.

In the Middle School, the U14A side had a very good season with Oli Fitch, Jess Thompson and Josh Cook leading from the front. They were undefeated but were hit very hard by the weather conditions early in the season which resulted in a reduced fixture card. The U15As endured a difficult season but can take heart from a narrow loss at Christ’s Hospital which could have gone either way. It was a similar story for the First Team but they did have the honour of playing against the MCC, a welcome return for this fixture!

Mixed Tennis

Our mixed tennis sides took on Churchers and Barrow Hills this term. Our U15A side were taken to the wire and ultimately lost 3-2 despite some excellent play from Lily Lindfors and Fleur Marren. Our younger pupils then took on Barrow Hills in a friendly competition aimed at maximising playing time rather than the results. We saw some great play with Joshua Parker-Perryman being the standout performer.

Individual successes

Jake Tapley and Phoebe Wilson – Athletics
Jake (5th Form) represented the School at the district athletics championships in the 100m sprint. He confidently took victory with a time just beyond his personal best. This qualifies him to represent Waverley at the Surrey Championships and we look forward to hearing how he performs. Similarly Phoebe Wilson (3rd Form) took part in the High Jump and jumped a personal best to qualify for the district side.

Oliver Fitch – Hockey
Oliver (3rd Form) plays club hockey for Surbiton Hockey Club and is part of the Southern England U14 side. His Surbiton side have reached the national finals which take place on Saturday 3rd July. Fingers crossed he returns with a gold medal.

James Howell – Football
We were delighted to hear that James (5th Form) had been offered a professional contract at Portsmouth Football Club; a club he has played at for many years.  We hope that he continues his terrific progression and ultimately makes his way into the first team squad in the coming years.

Jack Berry – Athletics
Jack (2nd Form) recently took part in the 400m at our revised mini-Sports Day following the cancellation of the full formal event. Jack clocked a time of 64.74 seconds which is a new school record! The previous holder of this record had been in possession of the fastest time since 2004.

Fleur Marren – Hockey
Fleur (4th Form) continues to make great strides in County Hockey and is still representing Surrey for her age group.

Elliot Moreve – Cycling
Elliot (L6th) has been part of the Great Britain Cycling Team for a number of years. He has now progressed into adult cycling and is faring well against his more experienced competitors.

Mr Phil Miller

Director of Sport

Art News

As well as our regular round of art activity sessions on weekdays and weekends, Graduate Assistant Miss Cutler and Artist-in-Residence Miss Trussler have kept our studios open on Tuesday evenings to enable pupils to catch up on missed studio time. Miss Cutler has been a steady presence in art lessons helping individual pupils and ably assisting teachers to ensure that we support all pupils to achieve their best. She has also run exciting art Carousel sessions for QMH pupils and has brought art and craft activities into Elizabeth and Wakefield Houses in the evenings.

Miss Trussler has been actively making and showcasing her own range of works for sale and has recently been working with scholars to help them to produce saleable art and craft items for future fundraising events.

With support from Mrs Shouksmith and Mrs Davies, a small team of pupils explored media careers undertaking a short internship with Bruce Devlin, Standards Vice President of the Society of Motion Picture and Television. They created an animated short film which we hope Mr Devlin will present to Disney bosses at a conference in July. Congratulations to Warrick Agar, Katie Easton, Chelsea Kepdep Semou, Amari Lake, and Izabel Nusueva.

The Art Department has been extremely busy this term with a rapidly changing programme of exhibitions in the Bunker Gallery. The wonderful talents of QMH pupils were showcased in an exhibition hosted by Miss Trussler. The exhibition was the culmination of a term’s work by scholars and other keen young artists who met weekly and developed their artistic practice under Miss Trussler’s expert guidance. Parents were invited to a zoom tour of the show and all pupils presented their ideas via zoom – an excellent introduction to public speaking.

Next to exhibit were our Lower Sixth IB and A-level pupils who pulled together a fabulous mid-course exhibition. Highlights included a superb landscape painting by Corin Ewbank, huge charcoal drawings by Hugo Worthington, exciting digital experimentation by Emil Gladilov and Ryan Farrell and delicate prints and drawings from Sylvia Yuwen and Doga Yuvez. We are very excited about the future for these young artists. Their main shows in spring and summer next year are not to be missed!

Finally, in June, the doors of the Bunker Gallery were opened to our latest art exhibition showcasing the work of GCSE, IB and A-level pupils 2021. This current exhibition celebrates the diverse talents of our graduating pupils and remains open this summer for friends, staff and visitors to enjoy. This vibrant and accomplished show includes work in the mediums of fine art, photography, and ceramics. I thoroughly recommend a visit.

Next year Miss Annie Cutler will continue with us as a trainee teacher and Miss Emma Trussler will undertake a further year as Artist-in-Residence, with some Graduate Assistant responsibilities.

Mrs Caroline Shouksmith

Head of Art & Photography

Music News

It is incredible to look back and see what is possible to achieve in the ten weeks of this Summer Term amidst the many assessments and exams. Music has quietly ploughed on with lessons, rehearsals, exams, concerts, Musician of the Year and House Music. It has been a pleasure to watch pupils working towards performances and exams unfazed by last minute changes and to adapt as goal posts move. Their musicianship and versatility have shone through not only in attitude but also in the many performances that we have enjoyed, both live and virtual. Full orchestral rehearsals have taken place outside and other ensembles have rehearsed in large spaces. As a number of planned live events needed to go virtual, it was sad not to be able to welcome parents back into School. Initially, pupils found performing in front of a camera far more challenging than in front of a large audience, but in true King Edward’s Witley style, the show has gone on with little fuss and our YouTube channel is now populated with many varied performances.

The term started with the final three Showcase Concerts of the academic year. The Vocal, String and Percussion Showcases had around 40 varied performances ranging from concerto movements to rock bands. Our Sixth Form pupils took part in a joint fund-raising concert with ISG – Dhahran High School in the United Arab Emirates, to raise money for ‘Habitat for Humanity‘.

In the weeks leading up to half term our more advanced pupils prepared for the Senior Classes of Musician of the Year which was judged externally, unfortunately, it was not possible to record the Beginner, Progressing and Intermediate classes.  The standard of music in the Senior class was excellent and on a par with previous years.  Winners were announced at prizegiving at the end of term:

Senior Contemporary Prize Xandro Rinaldi (bass guitar)
Senior Instrumental Prize Adam Smillie (guitar)
Senior Keyboard Prize Jack Elderkin (cello)
Senior Vocal Prize Ben Charles (baritone)
King Edward’s Musician of the Year Adam Smillie (guitar)

House Music took place in the two weeks leading up to half term with pupils demonstrating not only their musical skills, but their filming and editing prowess. Unfortunately, it was not possible to showcase House Songs this year due to the numbers involved, but the solo and ensemble items were just as colourful as ever. The winning Houses, Edward and Tudor were announced at prizegiving. The performances from all three paired Senior Houses were outstanding with energy and musicality in abundance.

After half term, the focus was on preparations for Proms in the Park. After the disappointing news from the Government on 21 June, there was a week of frenzied activity recording all the planned items. The Music School, Chapel and Exhibition Hall were full of cables, microphones, mixing desks, cameras and other recording equipment for five days of recording and Proms went live on Saturday 26 June.

The final week of term saw two full days of ABRSM, RockSchool and Trinity Music exams taking place and we await the results of these exams.

This year there have been three prizegiving events with some fine musical interludes given by pupils of all age groups. With Chapel Services returning in bubbles, there were daily performances of musical items from all year groups. It was super to finally have live performances at King Edward’s Witley. On Tuesday 22 June, our Music Scholars went to London to give their annual lunchtime concert at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, in front of a socially distanced audience, amongst whom there were a good number of parents. The standard of performing was outstanding, as one would expect of a King Edward’s Music Scholar.

Although Chapel Choir have been silent for a good while, they have been rehearsing in sectionals in preparation for next year. We are unable to accommodate over sixty pupils to perform in one space and it is this ensemble that has suffered the most. There have not been any City of London events, large scale school events or trips where they would usually enjoy singing together. However, we look forward to making a comeback next year, particularly at Admissions Day in October with musical fireworks.

Perhaps one of the most moving events of the term was the Memorial Service for Bertie Mawer who taught at King Edward’s Witley for many years. Our newly formed Chamber Choir, Camerata, sang at his Memorial Service in Chapel on Saturday 26 June. The group consists of 18 of our more advanced singers who have sung a weekday Chapels and other events this past half term. They learnt the repertoire quickly and sung with real conviction and we very much look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Although the past sixteen months have been challenging, music has continued to flourish refusing to be silenced and adapting to new situations. It is to each pupil’s credit that they have continued with their music-making, and we look forward to a full calendar of musical events next year in front of live audiences. Music is alive and well at King Edward’s Witley.

Mr Stasio Sliwka
Director of Music