Headmaster’s Newsletter: 9 February 2024

Message from the Headmaster

Mr Guy Sanderson

Dear Parents,  

Our 2024 centenary commemorations of the life and contribution of famous Olympian and former Eltham student, Eric Liddell (OE 1920), are ramping up.  A party of 38 students led by Mr Willatt and other staff left in the early hours of this morning to travel up to Scotland for a very special three-day trip to help mark the centenary of Eric Liddell’s sporting achievements – Olympic athletics champion and international rugby player for Scotland.  The boys and girls will play rugby and netball matches against George Watson’s College in Edinburgh and St Leonard’s School in St Andrew’s.  

The specially designed itinerary also includes coaching sessions with some of Scotland’s elite sportsmen and women as well as watching Scotland’s U20 Six Nations rugby international match against France at Murrayfield this evening, plus touring Edinburgh and St Andrew’s.  Scotland is a special place to visit and we hope that following in the footsteps of such a great Elthamian as Eric Liddell will be something that those taking part will remember for many years.    

There are more ‘Eric Liddell 100’ events planned this year including, as I mentioned last week, our music students taking part in a special commemorative evening service at the Holy Sepulchre Church in central London with members of other schools.  You are warmly invited to attend and support this service on 21st February. More details are available here. 

It is the Lunar New Year tomorrow and we have been marking this annual celebration at both the Senior and Junior Schools this week with special activities and a celebratory lunch.  My thanks to staff who organised activities including calligraphy, poetry recital, tea tasting, and a lantern festival.  Also to the Catering team for providing such a varied and delicious themed school lunch.  

I am pleased to say that the next edition of The Elthamian magazine for the school community is now available.  Published twice-yearly, this latest edition include news and reports on the highlights of the recent Michaelmas Term plus longer interviews with a cross-section of OEs.  You can read the magazine online and a printed copy of the magazine will be posted to you after half-term.     

In sport this week, our boys’ hockey teams have done well: our 13As progressed into Round 3 of the National Cup by beating Forest School 3-1 while the U15A and U14A teams both one 2-1 against Trinity School.  In netball, the 2nd VII netball won their fixture against DLD College London 28-14, while both the 1st and 2nd VII team secured wins against Dartford Grammar.  The 15B and U14 teams also beat Sydenham High.  Olly Buck finished third in the London Schools Cross Country Championships and well done to him and also Tilly Stafford who have both earnt selection into the London Squad where they will compete in the English Schools Cross Country finals in March. 

There is a host of events coming up after half-term: on Friday 8th March, the annual Pop Quiz organised by the Parents Association is taking place in King George’s Hall.  It’s always a fun and popular event and in a good cause (the Canterbury Oasthouse Trust who support adults with accommodation, care and training for people with learning disabilities in Kent and East Sussex).  You can find out more details about the event here. 

Another date for your diary is the evening of 13th March when our next Peake Lecture is taking place.  Coinciding with our annual Science Week in school, we are looking forward to welcoming science author and journalist, Jo Marchant, who is coming to talk about the relationship between mind and body and its impact on medicine.  More details about this event will follow immediately after the half-term break.  

Finally, for those of you remaining at home during the half-term break, the Gerald Moore Gallery is running a series of creative and fun art workshops specially for children aged 8 to 16 years – with daily activities including bubble painting, sculpture and pottery.  For more details and to book, visit the Gallery’s special website page here. 

However you spend it, I wish you all a good and relaxing half-term, including Upper Sixth students revising for their mocks later this month and, to those who celebrate it, a Happy Lunar New Year!   

Best wishes,   

Guy Sanderson