Headmaster’s Newsletter Friday 2 February 2024

Message from the Headmaster

Mr Guy Sanderson

Dear Parents,  

It’s National Apprenticeship Week next week, and so, wanting our students to be ahead of the game, we organised for ASK (Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge) to come into school yesterday to talk to Year 11 about Higher and Degree Apprenticeship Programmes.  This follows a talk last week about university and the importance of making informed choices about A Level options from former Eltham College student, Sarah Whitaker, who is the UK Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Manager at the University of Westminster.  Degree Apprenticeships will also feature in our post-18 Options Evening that is being held later this month for Lower Sixth Form students and parents. It is good to see the benefits of apprenticeship pathways increasingly recognised by students as well as regular university applications and we are providing the resources to students for this. We will also be posting opportunities on the Elthamians Network during National Apprenticeship Week.  My thanks to Ms Badelow and her team for organising these initiatives for your sons and daughters.   

They also come just as the timetables for this summer’s A Level and GCSE exams have been published. Mrs Ramharrack, our Exams Officer, has written to parents in Years 11 and 13 to share the details. 

In school this week, we have enjoyed a number of other highlights.  First, many congratulations to our four teams of debaters who took part in the London South heat of the Oxford Schools Competition.  One of our teams placed in the top eight out of sixty teams taking part and we’re delighted that Tristan Sezgin and Miles Cobourne will now represent the school in the national finals to be held at the Oxford Union next term.   

Yesterday, the Music Department took four chamber groups to compete in the opening round of the national Pro Corda Chamber Music Festival. We’re delighted to report that three of these ensembles have been selected to continue to the semi-finals.  Many congratulations to the five Junior School pupils and nine Senior School pupils who will represent the school later this month. 

We welcomed back to school another former student, Tim Exeter (OE 1983), who came in to give a talk to our most talented sports students across nearly all year groups on ‘What is High Performance?’.  Tim is a very experienced strength and conditioning coach, especially in rugby and football.  He provided many useful tips and a great insight into the professional sports world.  

On the playing fields, our boys’ hockey, our U14A team have continued their excellent start to the season with a 6-0 win over Sir Joseph Williamson’s School while the U15 A and B teams secured strong wins against Radnor House.  As I write this newsletter, we eagerly await news of whether the 1st XI team have won the Frank Mason trophy in today’s Kent County Championships and we wish good luck to the team who play Whitgift in Round 3 of the National Cup. 

It’s been a good week for our girls in netball too with wins for the 1st VII team and the U15As against Caterham School, while the U15A and B teams also beat Radnor House.  The U13As finished in the top eight in the Kent Schools Championship and the U14B team beat both Caterham School and Walthamstow Hall in their fixtures. 

In the pool, our mixed U12 and U13 water polo teams won their respective matches against Colfe’s.  Well done to Lukai Geng (Year 9) who won the Gold Medal at the U16 Kent County Sabre Fencing competition and in skiing, to Boden Kelly (Year 11) who was crowned U16 British Skiing Schoolboy Slalom Champion as well as finishing second in the Grand Slalom event.  

I also want to mention a special event coming up after half-term as we begin our 2024 centenary commemorations of the life of famous Olympian and former Eltham student, Eric Liddell.  On Wednesday 21st February, our music students are taking part in a special commemorative evening service at the Holy Sepulchre Church in central London.  This is both to give thanks for the life and contribution of Eric Liddell, and as a fundraising event.  Our students will be joined by others from schools in Scotland (from where Eric originated).  You are warmly invited to attend and support the event and commemoration.  More details are available here.

Have a good weekend.

Best Wishes,

Guy Sanderson