Head’s Blog

A Stellar Hymn Practice

st edmund's chapel

In the Star Trek movies, Starfleet trainees famously face the Kobayashi Maru test. It is a no win scenario: a test of leadership under pressure against impossible odds. Leading a hymn practice at 830am with 300+ tired teenagers is the St Edmund’s equivalent of the Kobayashi Maru.

Mr Payne is our Captain Kirk though and, through force of personality, he is always able to bend the rules of the universe to win through.

Today was a masterclass. He joked, he cajoled, he encouraged, he remonstrated, he jumped around, he gave musical direction, he sung, he supported individuals, he worked with groups, he told us how to breathe and how to un-hunch our shoulders. And eventually…eventually…his enthusiasm won through. By the fifth hymn, he had the pupils with him and a wonderful, rich St Edmund’s sound emerged. Somehow, at great personal cost, he had defeated the no-win scenario.

Life long and prosper Mr Payne!

CCF Top Brass on Parade

It’s good to see Captain Jones and Colour Sergeant French suited, booted and deployed at the Defence Academy Boarding Schools Show at Shrivenham.

The aim of the show is to provide Armed Forces families with an insight into the benefits of boarding school life. Judging by the photograph, our team is the first to set up – I’d expect nothing less!

Sports Stars

Well done to the intrepid team of ten who headed to Dover on Saturday morning for the Dover College Invitational Cross Country event. It was an epic run, mainly uphill, through tunnels and gates, around a Norman Fort and along muddy woodland trails. Jildou Chappell (Middle Fifth) achieved a stunning first place in the girls’ race, finishing two minutes ahead of the next runner. Riley Robertson (Middle Fifth) came 4th in the boy’s race, beaten only by sixth formers. A very impressive performance too.

Congratulations also go to Alexandra Millard (Lower Sixth).  Already an elite middle distance and cross country runner herself, Alexandra was invited by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury to attend a civic reception this week. The event celebrated the achievements of many local athletes who are achieving recognition at national level. https://news.canterbury.gov.uk/sports-stars-celebrated-at-civic-reception/

Curiosity Shop

st edmund's school

For this week’s Curiosity Shop, Mr Whitman, our Head of English, introduced pupils to Martin Heidegger’s philosophical masterpiece Being and Time.  After an overview of Heidegger’s life and a brief summary of his influence on others, Mr Whitman took pupils – at a brisk canter –  through Heidegger’s ‘fundamental analysis’ of human being, touching on ‘dasein’, ‘being-in-the-world’, ‘care’ and the importance of time.  Pupils were introduced also to the Heideggerian concepts of ‘dread’, ‘fallenness’, ‘idle talk’ and ‘curiosity’, their importance to understanding our responsibility towards ourselves and our potential and the obstacles we might encounter in pursuit of our ‘ownmost possibility’.  Following the talk, searching – read ‘tough’! – questions came from Ben Shepherd and Matty Nordin.


Tonight, six pupils in M5 and U5 will be taking part in the English Speaking Union’s public speaking competition at the Guildhall in Canterbury. This is the South-East Final of the competition. I wish Miriam Inglis, Iris Mickleburgh, Nathaniel Florence-Wratten, Henrik Kane, Alexander McGovern and Isobel Wanstall the very best of luck as they take on their different roles as speech givers, chairs and questioners.


st edmund's chapel

My thanks to our Chaplain, The Reverend Steve Bennett for a wonderful Candlemas Service on Wednesday.

As you can see, he illuminated the Chapel beautifully for us and gave a powerful and moving address.

Hockey: Kent Cup

Congratulations to our 1st XI Boys Hockey team who beat King’s 2-1 this week in a fiercely competitive and high quality match. The team now progress through to the next round of the Kent Cup, to take on my old school Sutton Valence on Monday. Well done to Mr Stubbings and team on an impressive start to the term.

St Edmund’s sunrise

A very busy day ahead for me with ten meetings scheduled and no doubt a few more besides!

However, I never fail to be inspired by the incredible view from St Edmund’s.

This morning is no exception.

We are very lucky to work and (for some of us) live is this beautiful place.

Wellesley House visit

On Saturday I visited Wellesley House Prep School in Broadstairs.

Mr Franklin, their Headmaster, was a wonderful host and gave me an interesting tour of this impressive school. I then gave an address in their chapel service to pupils and parents on the subject of “Random Acts of Kindness”. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I am very grateful to the Wellesley House community for receiving me so warmly.



This evening Alice Mount and Terence Yue will be debating in the second round of the English Speaking Union’s Mace competition for Sixth Formers. St Edmund’s will be hosting the event and it will take place in the Recital Hall from 4.45pm tonight if anyone would like to watch the competition. King’s, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks schools will also be competing. We wish Alice and Terence the best of luck as they argue in favour of the motion: ‘This House would prohibit businesses from taking a public position on social issues.’ The team will be debating against Sevenoaks School.