Headmaster’s Newsletter: 22 March 2024

Message from the Headmaster

Mr Guy Sanderson

Dear Parents,  

We are now in the last seven days of this term and the well-earned Easter break is fast approaching. It has been an important term especially for Year 11 and Year 13 students preparing for their summer exams. On Wednesday, we had a successful parents evening for Year 11 students designed to help students work towards success in their GCSE exams coming up next term.   

We congratulate Upper Sixth student Atharv, who recently took part in the British Physics Olympiad, securing a Top Gold and ranked among the top 5% of participants.  He also won a Gold in the second round, and then secured Gold in the Astrophysics Olympiad.  These exceptional achievements have earned him a place in the Astro Olympiad Selection and Training Camp at Oxford University. 

It has been a hectic and varied term with a full co-curricular programme across all year groups with music concerts, plays, lectures, exhibitions, sporting fixtures and numerous clubs and societies.   

Achievement in Music and Sport have dominated this past week: last Sunday, we were delighted that Eltham College’s String Octet were announced as winners of the prestigious ‘Pro Corda National Chamber Music Competition U16’ category involving groups from 44 schools.  With half of our winning students in either Year 8 or 9, the combined average age of our ensemble was just over 14, making a win in the U16 category even more notable.   

Continuing the musical theme, we look forward to our gala concert at Blackheath Halls tomorrow.  Many of you are coming to hear your talented sons and daughters perform not just one movement, but the whole of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, as well as some other very fine pieces.  Those taking part include our symphony orchestra, choir, Young Voices, Sinfonia, and the Junior School Chapel Choir and Choral Society.   

We have a rich seam of musical talent at Eltham: this week, 111 individual instrumental/singing exams (ABRSM and Trinity) have taken place – the most ever in one session and involving students across all year groups and at every level of grade and on a wide range of instruments.  Last night, we greatly enjoyed hosting a jazz concert in which our jazz musicians performed alongside the Riverdale College Big Band who’ve come all the way from New York on a UK tour.  Next Tuesday evening, we hold the grand final of our ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition in Central Hall: all are welcome to come and listen to our top soloists – no ticket required!  

Next Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm, we have a fine and, in this Olympic year, a suitably topical production of ‘Chariots of Fire’ taking place in the Antony Barnard Theatre.  Expertly coached by our Drama department, Year 11 and Sixth Form students have invested a lot of effort and hard work into this production which tells the extraordinary true story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams.  It is an Olympic tale of hope, honour and belief. You can purchase tickets here using the password  ‘ELTHAMCOF’.  You can also read more about our famous former pupil, Eric Liddell, and about this production here on our website.   

In sport, we say congratulations to our U13 boys’ hockey team who have this week been crowned Kent Champions, and well done to our U15 boys’ hockey team who made it to the semi-finals of the Independent Schools National Finals, but lost out to a very strong Whitgift team. Yesterday, our U16A team beat KCS Wimbledon to secure a place in the National Plate semi-final against Abingdon School after Easter, and well done too to our U14A boys who are now U15 London Schools Champions after beating Haberdashers Askes Elstree 2-1. Similar success has been enjoyed at the Junior School where our U11 girls’ and U10 boys’ hockey teams have been crowned London County Champions in their respective year groups.   

Our fencers deserve credit for their determined performance over three days of competition at the National Public Schools Championship held in Lee Valley, and congratulations to our U15 girls’ water polo team who came finished fifth in the National Finals after beating Kings Warwick 3-1. 

The Catering department recently held a nutrition workshop with more than 70 pupils at the Junior School, exploring concepts around how our bodies use energy and the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, eating properly and balancing that with good sleep. You can read more about this here 

Next week is the start of Easter and we will hold a number of Easter services and final assemblies for students and staff before term ends on Thursday. 

In the meantime, I hope you all have a good weekend.  

Best wishes,  


Guy Sanderson