St Edmund's

Head’s Senior School Speech Day Report

Air Marshal Nickols, Governors, Parents, Colleagues, Pupils and Friends of St Edmund’s.


I am, by nature, a bit of a loner.  In fact, I always have been. Let me give you some examples.


Aged two, I climbed over a six-foot fence and escaped from my nursery school.  This was because, to be blunt, I hated the other children. After a frantic search, my teacher found me sitting on the pavement outside a local pub. This is still a good place to look for me if I ever go missing again.


When I was a teenager my friends were constantly partying, but instead of joining them at the disco or “roller disco” (it was the 1980s after all), I would rather stay at home quietly reading history books about the Battle of Britain or reflecting on the collapse of the Roman Empire.


In the 1990s, when I worked for an American bank, I managed to avoid a “team building” weekend in a forest near Boston by claiming I had contracted food poisoning. I said that at a work event the previous night I had eaten an undercooked lobster, an excuse so utterly ludicrous my American bosses believed it and fearing a law suit immediately invalided me back to New York.


These days, my daughters would say that at home I spend too much time sitting on my own providing a constant running commentary on TV shows and that I find myself extremely amusing even when no one else does. And my wife will tell you, if you give her half a chance, that I am deeply anti-social. I still don’t like parties, especially dinner parties. And she will say” Ed is happiest when he is out on his own away from the house”. And coincidentally that’s when she’s happiest too!


But in my defence I think people who know me well would also concede that I am a fast learner. And I have learned an important lesson since I took over as Head of our wonderful school and I learned it quickly. It is that collective effort is the key to success. And that togetherness is the most powerful agency for change and improvement.


Back in September, in my first Head’s Line of the academic year, I said to the school community “When we work together and stay positive we are unstoppable”. To be honest this idea is not entirely original. I have no scruples about stealing other people’s ideas. I am a headmaster after all. I was paraphrasing the American industrialist Henry Ford, who once said “If everyone is moving forward together then success takes care of itself.”


And this has been the story of St Edmund’s 2022. Together again, after the various lockdowns and firing on all cylinders, we have moved forward as a community and the successes are self-evident.


We are the biggest we have ever been with 618 pupils. We are now a 2-18 school after opening our Woodland Nursery. This term the school successfully passed an ISI compliance inspection two JCQ inspections and an inspection of our CCF. We recently received a Carnegie Mental Health Award for our outstanding pastoral care.


Our site looks better than ever after investment in key areas. We are about to launch Academic Hub phase2 and we are better connected as a community with a vastly improved social media presence including our new alumni networking platform which is called “Almabase.”


But most importantly, our teachers and pupils continue to surprise us with their boundless creativity and commitment. The blend of talents that this school possesses is quite extraordinary. And there are some wonderful individual achievements for us to celebrate today.


However, when you take a step back and reflect you realise that it is the collective effort of pupils, parents and staff that made these successes possible.


For a Head, even an instinctively anti-social one, that is a very humbling thought.


Academic Life


Chairman, St Edmund’s is in great shape academically. We achieved record breaking A-Level and GCSE Results last summer despite the disruption to learning. Since September, I have observed 43 Senior School lessons so I have seen for myself the excellent standards of teaching and learning across the school provided by this talented group of teachers who are powered by a combination of subject expertise a deep passion for education and more coffee than you can possibly imagine. We have also, of course been working towards this year’s public examinations. I am hugely grateful to the teachers who ran extra classes and revision clinics to give pupils the best chance of success. Public examinations for GCSE and A-Level ran “without incident” at St Edmund’s this summer. And that isn’t faint praise. When it comes to public examinations “without incident” is the phrase that Headmasters like to hear the most! This was all executed with great skill by new Examinations Officer Jayne Steadman and Director of Studies Dr Cathy Sotillo. And crucially, the pupils acquitted themselves well facing their exams with focus and maturity.


There has also been much going on in terms of academic enrichment.


There is now a Scholars’ Programme for L5 that includes a lecture series and a discussion group called “Symposium” where students work together to explore academic concepts. There are also many academic clubs and activities including debating and public speaking Film Review Club, Practical Science and Geography Club to name but a few.


Let me give you two examples of the benefits that this approach to academic enrichment can bring.

The National Scientific Thinking Challenge is organised by the University of Warwick in collaboration with Oxford and other Russell Group Universities. This year 4,000 students from 70 schools participated. 35 St Edmund’s pupils from M5 were involved and received some tremendous results:

7 pupils received Bronze medals, 6 received Silver medals and Gold medals were awarded to the following:

Matilda Marriner, Daisy Holt, Henry Goodwin, Olivia Johnson Annabel Ogston-Lemmens and Michael Nkereuwem.

An outstanding performance.

Our public speaking teams continue to make fantastic progress under the expert leadership of Dr Caiazza. Caitlin Hopkins (speaker), Max Visagie (chair) and Orla Wanstall (questioner) successfully reached the Regional Final of the English-Speaking Union’s Churchill’s Public Speaking Competition. This took place at Dartmouth House in London. Our team performed superbly against fierce competition. Well done indeed to them.


In September, I introduced the Head’s Commendation. This is a weekly award to recognise outstanding work in the classroom. Staff nominate pupils who have excelled and I publish the list outside my office. I also keep track of the results. And I would now like to congratulate the pupils who occupy the top two places in terms of numbers of commendations received.  They are  Henry Goodwin (12 commendations) and James Hodgkinson (15 commendations).Well done to them on their consistently excellent performance.


Academic Trips are also back on the agenda. These bring intellectual enrichment. and team building opportunities. Let me give you some examples. There was a L5 STEM Day at the University of Greenwich. Our 6th Form Geographers visited Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales for a 3 day residential field study. Our L6 Biologists visited Flatford Mill for field work and data gathering. There was a music trip to The Bauhaus Music Festival at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The Art & Ceramics Department visited the Turner Contemporary for GCSE study. Food Technology visited Spitalfields and Brick Lane in the East End of London for culinary inspiration. And in the West End of London Drama students have recently been to see Wicked and the Ocean at the End of the Lane.  The DT department visited Ikea for design inspiration and I dare say a few Swedish Meatballs!


Academic enrichment is also offered though the Extended Project Qualification which is managed superbly at St Edmund’s by Dr Victoria Rowcroft. EPQ provides tremendous research opportunities for Sixth Formers. It is the equivalent of an AS-level is much respected by universities and enables pupils to research a topic of their choosing. This year’s EPQ titles include: ‘What are the possible explanations of the Fermi Paradox?’

‘Is there sufficient scientific evidence to justify a statement that a particular cephalopod is the most intelligent invertebrate in the world?’ and ‘What do Pre-Christian Celtic and Norse beliefs about the afterlife tell us about their culture and which mythology’s beliefs about death are closest to Old Christianity?’.EPQs obviously provide great support for UCAS applications. And the Upper Sixth have achieved a great set of university offers. 50% have placed a Russell Group university as their ‘firm’ choice’. These are the leading research universities and include King’s College London, University College London University of Exeter, the University of Manchester and the University of Warwick. Remarkably, despite increased demand for places post COVID, 16 students received a ‘full house’ of offers.


The courses our students go onto study are becoming increasing diverse. This year’s Upper Sixth go on to study courses ranging from old favourites like History, Economics and Zoology to newer disciplines such as Animation, Criminology and Ethical Hacking. My sincere thanks go to Mr Symaka (Head of Progression) and Mr Mount (Head of Sixth Form) for their first class support and advice.




Pastoral care is the basis of everything that we do. With that in mind, I would like to express my thanks to Catherine Shearer, Deputy Head Pastoral, Ross Underwood our Director of Safeguarding, our four Housemasters Mr Hodge, Mr Clapp, Mrs Burton and Ms Florence and our Medical Team headed by Allison Hyde for their extraordinary work. And also my sincere gratitude goes to Dr Edwin Jones, Miss Harding and the boarding staff for their commitment and conscientious approach to caring for our boarders. I am also very grateful to our wonderful Chaplain – The Reverend Joy Atkins for her leadership of the spiritual life  of the school community. We now have a Wellbeing Centre which is running very effectively under the leadership of the school counsellor, Nicky Crouch.


Chairman, pastoral care is a collective responsibility in which our students play key roles too. We have the Student Voice: a representative committee that meets with the Deputy Head every half term. We have recently joined ‘Just Like Us’ an organisation that supports inclusivity in Schools. We have our own Diversity Group and a Peer Listening team of twenty-six pupils who are trained to support others. In addition, we have six peer educators from the L6 who deliver a PSHEE programme to Y7 classes on topics relating to mental health.


As a result of the above initiatives and the hard work of our pastoral teams I am delighted that the school recently received a Carnegie Mental Health Award and achieved Gold Medal Status. This programme is administered by Leeds Beckett University and everyone involved, especially Mrs Shearer and our Mental Health Governor Dr Maggie Carnegie who have led this process should be extremely proud. The “Carnegie” name link is purely coincidental by the way!


Co-curricular & Music


Our co-curricular programme has continued to flourish this year under the leadership of Mr Millard. We have over 30 clubs and activities operating a Friday Skills and Service Programme and a Saturday activities provision.And this is in addition to the tremendous work in Art, Music, Drama and Sport.


I have said before that when it comes to music St Edmund’s reminds me of Dr Who’s TARDIS: bigger on the inside with infinitely more talent and opportunities than you might expect in a small school. But also, if I can stretch the analogy the ability to travel backwards in time through different musical genres and even into the future via our Music Technology provision.


In addition to curriculum music we run about 300 individual music lessons every week. Our pupils excel in Trinity and ABRSM examinations (just look in your Speech Day Programmes) and benefit from numerous performance opportunities.


This year’s Gala Concert was a triumph. It began with the fourth movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. This was followed by solos from six of our U6 pupils Kyle Ye (piano), Leanna Sadiku (soprano) and Billy Boarman Powell (oboe) playing his own composition Adrift in Twilight. They were followed by the Chamber Choir who performed I love my love by Holst and Come you not from Newcastle.

To lead us up to the interval there were three more soloists. Firstly, Stephen Brown (vibraphone), Oliver Futcher (tenor) sang an impassioned rendition of Gethsemene by Lloyd Webber This was followed by Olivia Harris-Harding (violin) with an atmospheric account of The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams.  In the second half, over 140 singers took part in a performance of I was glad by Parry and Gloria by John Rutter. It was a brilliant showcase event The Senior Chapel Choir goes from strength to strength and Lunchtime Concerts have provided opportunities for our young musicians to gain valuable live performing skills in front of appreciative audiences. For example, the Organists’ Lunchtime Concert on Thursday 19th May was extremely well received and attended as pupils and staff put the new organ now installed and fully operational thanks to the generosity of Old Boy Michael Stewart through its paces.


I also have some tremendous pupil achievements to report.


Stephen Brown of the Upper Sixth and members of his percussion trio came first in the final of the Royal College of Music Chamber Music Competition with their performance of Trio Per Uno by Zivkovic.


James Hodgkinson in the M5 has passed his ATCL singing diploma with distinction.  This post grade 8 level qualification is equivalent in standard to the first year recital of an undergraduate degree. It entitles James to use the letters ATCL after his name and wear a rather fine gown and hood at academic events.


Thomas Young has reached the Canterbury Festival Bursary Final in October after successfully auditioning with the final movement from Poulenc’s Sonata for clarinet and piano.  And Iuno Rosenthal (U5 Cellist) travelled to Germany recently to take part in a celebrated Music competition; ‘Jugend Musiziert’. She was awarded two first prizes in the County round and progressed to the National Finals.


In the Thanet Festival of Music and Drama piano competition Leo Watters (M5) won the Romantic class. Leo and Rhyd Lowe also represented the school in Kent County Organists’ Competition.


Former pupil Freddie Rupp was recently offered a place at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Stephen Brown (U6) has won a place at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. And Jacob Storey (U6) goes on to study Songwriting and Music Production at BIMM Institute.


One of the highlight vocal performances of the Festival came from M5 student Matilda Marriner, who will be singing “Stay” for us all today.


My thanks to Mr Payne, Mr Swatman, Dr Rowcroft, Mr Underwood, Mr Walker and the team for their extraordinary work in Music and on a truly terrific year of success.








Moving on to Drama. Let me start with Beauty and the Beast. By which of course I mean Howard Sykes and Mark Sell.  I also mean the Christmas production. Our two theatrical gurus excelled themselves this year with a stunning pantomime that involved a cast of over eighty-five pupils and a huge backstage crew led expertly by our amazing stage manager Tam Walker-Reid and with outstanding technical support from Jayden Lewis. The show was a joyous triumph exactly what we all needed from our first production after the COVID period. I particularly want to congratulate Freya Reilly and Henry Coupe for performing so brilliantly in the lead roles and also to Will Vant (a devastatingly brilliant Dame) Oliver Futcher, Esme O’Connor, Olivia Harris-Harding and Fin Taylor-Jones for their excellent performances.


I’d like to read you a message we received from a St Edmund’s Parent who saw the show.


These productions may not directly impact hard metrics like exam results but they do something far more important but less tangible. They create the very culture of the school – building connections across year groups and houses and make the children feel like they belong to something special.


Some of the real hidden gems in terms of performance took place in the GCSE and A-Level Drama practical exams. These showcased ground-breaking practice that demonstrated great courage on the part of those involved as they took on a range of theatrical styles.


In terms of individual achievement, at the Thanet Festival of Music and Drama George Gannon (M5) was awarded Distinction in the Prose Reading Class for Years 9 to 10 and a Distinction with 1st Place in the Shakespeare Monologue for Year 10 and under. George was also awarded the Dramatis Personae Cup for the highest mark in performing Shakespeare.


We have also experienced great success in terms of Drama School applications this year. Oliver Futcher has won a place at the prestigious Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Drama to study Musical Theatre. Former pupil Seb Coleman (2019) has a place at the Royal Welsh Drama School. Other current and former pupils have received call-backs at leading Drama schools including RADA, Guildhall, Royal Welsh and LAMDA. Our students also develop invaluable technical skills. Billy Boarman-Powell, for example, has a place at Guildhall to study BA in Production Arts which includes Lighting, Sound, Video and Automation.


My theme today relates to the power of togetherness nowhere is that more apparent in our school than in the achievements of the “drama family”. The biggest compliment I can pay them is that my eldest daughter calls Mark Sell and Howard Sykes her “other Dads” and it doesn’t bother me!




Moving forward together is the essence of sport. The 1st Xl Hockey girls made huge progress this year with a number of impressive victories under the captaincy of Rebecca Reynolds. The U15 boys’ football team have also been very successful and were unlucky not to win their league overall. The U15 boys’ hockey team won 7 out of their 8 matches.


1st and 2nds Vll Netball had a very positive season with wins over Ashford, Manwoods, Dover College KC and King’s Rochester.


Our tennis teams have performed superbly this term. The U15 girls placed 3rd in the Kent School’s Doubles Championships with Daisy Baker and Athenais de Quincerot on great form throughout their matches. Michael Nkereuwum and Samson Buck reached the final of the County Tennis Doubles after beating Sevenoaks in the Semi Final. They lost a hard fought final against City of London.


The boys’ U15 tennis team of Michael Nkereuwem, Barthelemy Landrin, Samson Buck and Marcelo Brooks-Merino won one of the two finals days of the LTA Kent School’s Championships at Canterbury Lawn Tennis Club in June. Mr Millard will tell you we have become the tennis team that other Kent schools want to avoid.


In cricket, the U14 boys’ were unbeaten after defeating Harvey Grammar, Dover College, Kent College and King’s Rochester. Will Surridge scored an outstanding 78 runs v Harvey Grammar.


The First XI boys, under the captaincy of Oliver Millard have has a strong season. They beat Kings Canterbury which was nice with Oli scoring an impressive 62. They beat Band of Brothers with Jacob Storey scoring 73 not out they also went toe to toe with a strong MCC team last weekend. MCC scored 260 and we hit 220 an extremely creditable performance. Will Vant earned a Man of the Match Cap for a fine innings of 76.

U14 and U15 girls’ cricket continues to develop with wins over King’s Rochester, Dover College and KC. Daisy Baker has been especially impressive.


And talking of individuals let me highlight a few pupil sporting achievements. Will Surridge was selected for the Kent U14 Hockey team. Iona Lester is now playing for Canterbury HC Ladies 2’s in the National League. Iris Nasir has been selected to represent the 18U Kent County Tennis Team this year – quite an achievement as she is still in the U16 age group. Iris has also been selected for the England Touch Rugby squad heading to the European Championships in France later this year.


Lizzie Wiltshire was the outstanding athlete in Long Jump and 1500m at the District Athletics trials. Lizzie also reached the national U14 football final representing Kent. Adam Whitlock now represents Kent

as a result of his silver medal in the Kent School’s inter boys 800m.


Theo Bawtree now represents District in U16 cricket and we have three U15 District cricketers: Luke Giffin, Charlie Alexander and Freddie Bickley. Sam Hodge (U6) is an accomplished National League cyclist and has a professional contract with a Spanish racing team for the summer. And former pupil Alexandra Millard who left St Edmund’s two years ago is now an established senior athlete and recently came 6th in the British Women’s 1500m where she raced against Olympic medallist Laura Muir.


Well done to Mrs Millard for her leadership of the department and to Mrs Lea, Mr Colquhoun, Miss Bralsford Mr Jones, Miss Masters and Miss Brett for continuing to drive St Edmund’s sport forward.


L5 & M5: Summary


This term has been a busy one for the Lower Fifth. There has been a heavy academic schedule culminating in school examinations but which also involved academic enrichment via the scholars’ programme and educational trips.


The year group have also taken on a range of sports fixtures and recently enjoyed Outdoor Education Week.  I congratulate the L5 on a positive and successful year. M5 students have adapted well to the challenges of GCSE study since September. Our recent review of pupil academic data a process now led by Mr Tebbs-Warner demonstrated that the year group is making positive progress in line with our expectations.


This term, the M5 enjoyed an excellent work experience week thanks to the outstanding organisation of Ms Scally. 68 M5 pupils were placed in a wide range of business environments including Law Firms, a Veterinary practice, a Recording Studio Lydd Airport, a marketing company and a design studio. At the end of the week six pupils were offered jobs when they turn 16 and an internship has been offered to a pupil. Our careers support for M5 also involved them sitting Morrisby profile testing this term which will provide invaluable feedback on potential career paths. My thanks to Ms Judi our Careers Officer for organising this important programme.




After a three-year absence St Edmund’s Festival returned with a bang this year.


On the opening night after enjoying a stunning exhibition of student art work which I urge you to go and look out today if you get the opportunity We were then privileged to witness a monumentally brilliant performance by the astonishingly talented Sheku and Isata Kenneh-Mason on cello and piano respectively. It culminated in a spectacular standing ovation and set the tone for a wonderful week of art, music and drama.


The Pupil Cabaret (expertly hosted by Freya Reilly and Will Vant) showcased the breath-taking depth and breadth of talent across the Junior & Senior Schools.


The Language of Art was an extraordinary collaboration between the Music, Drama and MFL Departments. It was an engaging, funny and ultimately deeply moving immersive creative experience that used creative performance to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of our school.


Star of Broadway and the West End Jenna Russell provided a magnificent singing recital ably supported by some of our former pupils.


And of course, St Ed’s Goes Dancing was a glittering, spectacular evening with some brilliant pupil and staff performances judged by former Strictly stars James and Ola Jordan.


The Festival Art Exhibition is simply spectacular perhaps the finest we have ever produced reflecting an extraordinary range of talent in Art, Ceramics and Photography. The effort that goes into making our Festival such a success is hard to quantify. These events are months if not years in the planning. We owe a huge debt to Ian Swatman whose passion for the festival commitment to securing outstanding performers business savvy and sheer hard work form the foundation stone upon which the programme is built.


I would also like to thank the art, music and drama departments, in particular Nick Hodge, Spencer Payne, Victoria Rowcroft, Mark Sell, Howard Sykes and Tam Walker-Reid for the incredible efforts they put in to showcase the talents of our pupils. And also my thanks go to Sarah Rees who is our Festival Coordinator, for her tireless, conscientious and industrious approach which ensures that everything runs smoothly.


I also wanted to thank our school caterers Holroyd Howe who did a wonderful job. During the Festival, Holroyd Howe served 1,180 people at BBQs and handmade 1,350 canapés! Although 50 of these were consumed by my Labrador. And 200 by the Bursar.


We are now going to hear Oliver Futcher U6 sing Spaceman which he performed at the Pupil Cabaret.



U5 & Sixth Form Summary


The U5 marched together into the GCSE exam halls with courage and confidence based on a year of hard work. They have contributed a massive amount to the school and we now look forward to seeing them develop further in the Sixth Form.


We are also excited about working with our talented Lower 6th as they take on the mantle of leadership from September.





Outdoor Education, Charitable Work and Leadership


At St Edmund’s we seek to develop leadership qualities in all of our young people. This takes many forms including our Peer Listening and Peer Educator teams the Prefect body, Sports and House competitions. And our Outdoor Education provision continues to flourish.


We had a very successful CCF trip to Dartmoor during the holiday. Our students enjoyed a range of activities which included 10m quarry and cliff jumps!! These are designed to improve their leadership and communication skills. I am extremely grateful to the 9 members of staff who gave up a significant chunk of their Easter holidays to accompany the trip. I am especially proud of Mrs Millard for rocketing head first down a waterfall. I am proud to announce that 66 pupils in the L5 are currently working towards D of E Bronze Awards DOE silver is operating in M5 and 7 L6 students are striving for Gold. Outdoor Education week in June included Duke of Edinburgh expedition training which involved navigation, hiking and camping in addition to mountain biking and watersports. I am very grateful to Mr Kincaid, Colour Sergeant French and Captain Jones for their leadership in an area that is fast becoming an outstanding strength of the school.


Charity and Outreach

Outdoor Education teaches teamwork and resilience. We also try to instil in our pupils a sense of social responsibility and an awareness of their place in the wider community. To that end our Interact Charity Committee continues to work hard to raise money for worthy causes.  This term we are supporting Red Cross the Kent Refugee Action Network and Catching Lives. So far £4K has been raised. The Fairtrade Committee continues to promote ethical trading and sustainability within the school and the local community.


The school is also working in collaboration with several families, local charities and national organisations to provide continuity of education for Ukrainian refugees in the Canterbury area. We will have ten Ukrainian children at the school in September in fact some are already with us.

And St Edmund’s continues to be a driving force in the East Kent Schools Together Partnership.

This year we have had an excellent Prefect team. They have given a huge amount to St Edmund’s working together as outstanding role models for the community. I am pleased to announce that next year

our Captain of School will be Lucy Walker-Reid and our Vice-Captains will be Henry Coupe, Hattie Pickles, Sienna Cowell and Kristina Somai.


I now invite our departing Captain of School Sophie Di Giorgio, to give her address.


“Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’”

This reminder that we need to hope, and to try, feels very apt for those of us leaving St Edmunds this year.

I think it would be fair to say that the world we are going out into, is very different from the one that our parents entered, or perhaps even, our older siblings.

Things are changing, certainties have become uncertain and rights that our predecessors fought for and that became taken for granted, are seemingly now up for debate.

For the leavers today, this has been true in our lives too over the last few years. We have faced huge unpredictability, from changes to exams and to university entry grades, being told how we were allowed to socialise, and at times, whether we could even go into school.

And so, more than ever, the importance of adaptability, resilience and speaking up during difficult times has been demonstrated, with the ability to endure and overcome challenge proving to be vital for us as individuals and as a school community.

St Edmunds has provided us with the opportunities we needed to develop strengths and work on our weaknesses, as well as encouraging open-mindedness, inclusivity, and social responsibility in all its students. A space in which anyone can securely speak up and have their voice heard, whilst always having someone there to listen, whether it be friends, teachers, or housemasters, encourages an environment in which ideas can be shared and opinions heard.

The school provides a safe community in which the talents of every person are recognised and encouraged, and by promoting independence and individuality, students can grow in self-assurance, learn to speak our minds, stand up for what we believe, and confidently explore and expand our opportunities, leaving us more prepared to overcome the challenges we face leaving school.

“It can’t be done” is not the attitude we have learned from our years at this school. Instead, we can each choose to use our talents, quiet confidence, and compassion, to make a positive mark on this ever-shifting world.

We have not done this alone, and so, on behalf of my year, I’d like to say some thankyous.

Whilst our experiences of exams were a bit different, and the transition from no GCSEs to a full set of A level exams was a turbulent one, we’d like to thank our teachers for making that process less shocking than it could have been, through mocks, progress tests, and revision sessions. We’d also like to thank Mr Mount and Mr Symaka for helping us through the uni application process, and to our housemasters for providing guidance, care and compassion, along with many cups of tea!

Personally, I’d like to say thank you to all the prefects for always showing up when you were needed, whether it was touring, stewarding, or guarding the lunch queue every day, and especially to Will, Esme, Harry and Daniel for being great deputies, and to Mrs Shearer for supporting us in our roles.

And I’d also like to say good luck to Lucy, as well as Hattie, Kristian, Sienna and Henry, and the rest of next year’s prefects, I’m sure you’ll all be amazing.

With all the change and unpredictability of the last two years, I think we are just very grateful that we got to have a relatively normal final year.  The return of the things that make St Edmunds what it is, from chapels and lines to the yearly drama production, sports day, and the festival that has just finished.

I feel very lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to go to this school. And I know that my colleagues and I understand the huge privilege that having this start to our lives will bring. In this uncertain world, and as inequality grows, I think it is a good time to be reminded of the words of Michelle Obama, “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

My thanks to Sophie for that wonderful speech and for her outstanding efforts this year


Goodbyes and Thank Yous

At the end of the summer term we say goodbye to two respected members of the Senior School teaching team: Charlie Mount and Anna Heavens. Anna has done more than just keep Latin alive at St Edmund’s in her role as Head of Classics. Under her leadership the subject has flourished producing consistently good levels of take up

excellent examination results and some really marvellous university outcomes. She has also led classics trips to Italy and developed a cult following amongst her students.

She has done a wonderful job enriching a subject we both love I thank her and wish her every success in her new career direction.

Charlie Mount has been a wonderful Head of Biology a deeply committed Head of Sixth Form and a dynamic Chair of the Interact Committee. He is a brilliant teacher combining the intellectual robustness of a Cambridge Natural Scientist with humour, empathy, hard work and a big heart. I thank him for all that he has done here.

And wish him every happiness for the future.

And we also say goodbye to Andrew De Silva after a brief but spectacular tenure as Head of JS. He has had a significant impact on the school since he joined us in September 2020. We will miss his managerial expertise fierce commitment to school improvement and relentless positivity. We wish you good luck at the Oratory Preparatory School and offer a heartfelt thank you for all that you have done for St Edmund’s. Andrew if I may use two of your catchphrases to say goodbye -” You are awesome” and “Happy Saturday!”

Ross Comfort will take over as Acting Head of Junior School from September for 2022-23.  We wish him every success.

The following will be joining us in September:

Dr Edoardo Chiattelli (Latin), Lucy Wilmott (Biology), Katie Palmer (Business Studies) and Anya Bensberg who re-joins us as Deputy Head – Educational Development in Senior School.

My heartfelt thanks go to our amazing teachers whose dedication and expertise underpins everything that we do. They fully deserve their summer holiday.

We are also lucky to have an outstanding Governing Body whose remarkable range of expertise and experience serves our school extremely well.

My thanks go to our Senior Leadership Team of Mrs Shearer, Dr Sotillo, Mr Underwood, Mr Millard, Dr Edwin Jones and Mrs Blench. They have worked extraordinarily hard to keep our community moving forward with focus and momentum this year.

I also would like to thank our Business Services team, led by our Bursar Nick Scott-Kilvert for their tremendous efforts to keep the school and its environment functional, efficient, safe and beautiful.

My sincere thanks also to my PA Lindsay Murphy, who keeps me on task with, and I quote Monty Python ”a little bit of kindness and an awful lot of cruelty”.

Finally, I would like to thank all of you parents and friends of the School for your support and for the sacrifices that you make to give your children the best possible education.

Chairman, my theme today has been the power of togetherness. I think that my report detailing the amazing achievements of our pupils amply demonstrates that. But it also demonstrates something else. That the hard work of this community creates a culture of positivity and ambition that is the really beautiful heart of our school. When we work together, we are unstoppable.