December has arrived

The Year 11 boys are back in class, the prelim exams a thing of the very recent past. The end of term beckons and the last week will, I am sure, slip past in a flash. The Christmas season started for real with the opening carol of the Winter Concert at St Martin’s, and on Tuesday evening the music moves to the somewhat grander setting of the Cathedral where choir and congregation will join together once again. Can’t wait!

The pressure doesn’t slacken in the ultimate fortnight though. I am fresh back from Bath, having had a bit-part in chaperoning the Year 7 Rugby boys to their fixture at Kingswood. Some twelve teams were out this Saturday, over 200 boys (around 20% of the school); the weather was kind, the sport was played with skill, determination and in the right spirit, proud parents looked on from a chilly touchline and the coffee afterwards was most welcome. If you haven’t been out to one of the block fixtures then you simply won’t have a clear perception of the scale and complexity of the operation – the sheer number of boys, the amount of kit, the difficulty of getting staff/parent helpers, referees and coaches in the right place at (approximately) the right time. It only takes one link to drop there can be a domino effect, threatening disaster. Contingency planning came to the fore on Saturday, as one of the buses went on a mechanical go-slow on its way to Bath. A bus swop later and things were back on track, but with that number of teams in action great team working and communication are absolutely essential. My heartfelt thanks go to Richard Demain-Griffiths and his team, and all of their volunteer helpers, for making it all work once again, throughout this long Autumn Term.

Saturday was a fantastic example of mass participation in sport, but the elite teams are going well too. The U16XV won their county final against Canford on Thursday, after a very close-fought match, and the 1st XV also won their quarterfinal game against Reed’s School; next stop for them will be a national semi-final of the NatWest Vase Competition in the New Year. I have just heard that the Inter Boys won 12th place in the National Final of the ESAA Cross Country Cup in Sheffield on Saturday too. Sport at BWS continues to be strong.

As we move towards the end of term we have taken stock of the applications for Sixth Form too. At the moment we stand at 80 applications, with the vast majority coming from non-BWS students, and almost half of those applicants are from girls. Last year that was the number of external applications in total at the end of January deadline, so these are exciting times. There is one further open event to come, at 1430 on Tuesday 21 January, but of course we can offer bespoke tours (with a current BWS student) at any time.

This will (I think!) be my last entry of this term. Whatever you have planned for the coming holiday I hope that you have a wonderful time. I hope that you have occasionally enjoyed the ‘view behind the curtain’ that these essays try to provide, and I look forward to seeing what post-election 2020 has to bring…