On 2nd February 1513 the first lessons were held at Nottingham High School and 500 years on we marked this occasion by hosting a party for colleagues past and present to celebrate this amazing milestone of 500 years of teaching.
In many ways it is tempting to tell the history of a school through the buildings it has been housed in and we certainly have some impressive facilities which we have developed through the years. However, at the heart of a school are people – those that study with us, the teachers, the support staff and the parents who chose to educate their sons with us. It is these people that have helped to create the School into what it is today.
In considering what to say at last night’s event I was very aware that I am only the 40th Headmaster of Nottingham High School. As part of our activities to mark the year all those who work or study at the School were asked to produce 100 words to mark one point in the school day closest to 2nd February. This is what I said:
I have just walked past the board with the names of the 40 Headmasters of Nottingham High School on. As I sit here in my office reflecting on their contribution to the long History of the School, I am humbled to be listed on that board. The successes, the buildings, the people they have employed, the support of so many benefactors have all gone to create this brilliant school as have no doubt along the way some failures, some tears and some difficult situations to face. I am so fortunate to lead this superb school 500 years on.”
As I gazed out across the sea of faces attending our party last night I was struck by the fantastic contribution made by everyone who works at the School. All of us play our own part but the total effort has been to provide excellence in so many areas and in so many different ways. It was great to see staff from across the generations, both teachers and support staff, all enjoying this celebration and I am sure like me they were also sharing a sense of pride in their own part in the long history of the School.
There is much in the press at the moment about independent school heads feeling ‘demonised’ by media attacks on the independent sector. I do not feel this way at all. I am humbled to be leading such a great team of people, proud of the School I lead and very aware at all times that each and every parent who chooses our school has made an active choice to entrust their son to our care. This is a huge privilege for all of us who work at the School, none more so than when we are sharing such a significant anniversary and as I said in my 100 word piece I am just so very lucky to be the Headmaster of such an outstanding school at this time. Let us not feel demonised as independent school leaders but proud of the schools we lead and the people who work in them and the students who study with us. There really is no better job in the world.