Progress, Amplification and Increase

Schools have long been adept at keeping a record of their activities. The annual school magazine or termly newsletter are integral and familiar aspects of School life. We know and love Kestrel well as our own record of events and achievements here at King Edward’s Witley, and previous generations have enjoyed leafing through the pages of The Edwardian. What perhaps is less expressed in published form is what a school community thinks, opines or creates. These things are the essence of the curriculum, and they are in constant flow in the classroom, in debate, in the exploration of the essay. They are in general, though, for internal consumption: a dialogue between the pupil and the page; the student and the concept; the writer and the marker; the class and the teacher. How intriguing, therefore, to find a means to lift the lid on this work and culture of thought, the myriad of ideas which teachers and their pupils create or spark on a daily basis and which are yet only glimpsed by those beyond the immediate interaction. These ideas, concepts and opinions are to be valued in their own right and, whether derived from within the curriculum or inspired beyond it, merit a voice.

With this philosophy in mind, we begin, in House, a publication devoted to the best of what the School thinks and creates. Our brief is a broad and diverse one. This is a forum for ideas to thrive, and it will embrace work of merit and originality from across the school community. Diversity of media, too, from a traditional essay to a crafted online video or a musical podcast will be a hallmark of the project. There is designedly no limit to the type of submission and, whilst projects might show keen involvement with a specialism, they might equally take pupils out of their own spheres of study or across curricular boundaries. The unique social, cultural and geographical richness of the School makes it a particularly inspiring project. Our diversity is our strength.

The concept of House takes its inspiration from the foundation of the School. The Lord Bishop of London initially petitioned Edward VI for ‘a wide, large, empty house of the King’s Majesty, called Bridewell’. This was to give succour to the body of Christ in the shape of the London’s ‘hungry, naked and cold’. It was a place to gather diverse parts into a single communion and body. House magazine similarly seeks to draw diverse parts – in the form of ideas and creativity – into a single published body of work. A communion of ideas. The original House was a place for nurturing and rebuilding, as we would seek to nurture ideas and build thought. The magazine will reach out to the entire school community – a single, unified body such as Ridley sought to house. A communion of people. Our pupil body is uniquely diverse in terms of its social composition and range of nationalities, so we have an opportunity, too, to build a rich unity of identity, as Ridley sought to unite others in a single body.

Sir, there is a wide, large, empty house of the King’s Majesty, called Bridewell, which would wonderfully serve to lodge Christ in

House is primarily concerned with the representation of pupils’ work, but in the spirit of a single body of diverse parts, we would hope to involve the school community in its widest sense. Contributions are encouraged from pupils, parents and staff, past and present; even from the governing body and friends of King Edward’s. Thus, the entire school body is represented and incorporated. A communion of thought. A spirit of tradition equally communes with the present in our publication, as the best of scholarship and virtuosity finds form not on the printed page, but online with all its possibilities for variety of media and presentation.

I am very grateful to the Headmaster for supporting and endorsing this new project and to the Marketing team for their help in shaping the form and direction of the magazine. Our inaugural editorial team deserves special note for the vibrancy and originality of their ideas, the quality of their research, and their commitment to writing and commissioning. I am grateful in greatest part to our first contributors, without whom the publication would be meaningless. Thank you for the foundations you have laid.

The editorial team hopes that you will enjoy our first edition. Please enjoy and muse on the content, perhaps even feel inspired to write a response or explore a new field in our next edition. House will always celebrate the best of what we think and create, valuing ideas and scholarship for their own sake and encouraging that essential educational quality: the ability to find and take interest. May we achieve, in the words and spirit of the School’s Royal Charter of 1553:

Progress, Amplification and Increase.

Mr J Elphick-Smith, English teacher

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