The Royal Hospital School Prize-giving and Commemoration Day was an emotional occasion, not just for the 96 Upper Sixth form leavers, but also for the Headmaster, Howard Blackett, who leaves after eight years at the School and 15 years of continuous headship.

The special day was on Saturday 30 June and Mr Blackett gave a moving final address to the School, Governors, VIP guests and parents. His full speech can be read in his blog but he left the audience with the following final thought, “Arnold, the great Victorian Headmaster of Rugby School set out his ideals in a definitive order: first, religious and moral principle; second, gentlemanly conduct and thirdly intellectual pursuit. This was exactly how the parents of boys who sent their children to Rugby viewed education. Tom Brown’s father reflected on what he hoped for as he sent his son off to school, “Shall I send him to mind his work and say he’s sent to school to make himself a good scholar? Well he isn’t sent to school for that, at any rate not mainly for that. I don’t care a straw about trigonometry or past participles; if only he’ll turn out a brave, helpful, truth-telling Christian man, that’s all I want.” That sentiment is no less important today than it was then; an education which is not based upon principle and a core set of values is almost worthless. It is who you are not what you know that carries you through life; that is what determines whether or not you find true happiness and self-fulfilment and that is what defines what an education should be about. Nowhere else is this more the case than in schools like RHS where our next generation of movers and shakers, of leaders and decision makers spend their most formative years”.

The School was honoured to welcome Guest speaker, Mr Jim Gamble QPM, whose distinguished career has included work in counter-terrorism, crime prevention and child protection. He was the founding Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre; the Association of Chief Police Officers lead on child protection and child trafficking and the founding Chair of the Virtual Global Task Force, an international collaboration for making children safer online. Mr Gamble is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the iNEQE group which provides a wide range of services within the whole spectrum of the risk environment. This was Mr Gamble’s second visit to the School and he gave an entertaining speech that appealed to every age group; his words celebrated the School’s 300-year history but he also talked about the benefits and risks of modern-day life and communications. He went on to congratulate the pupils on their conduct and attitude, emphasising how important the values uniquely taught at the Royal Hospital School will be in later life and wishing the leavers well as they go onto University and life beyond School.

The Royal Hospital School is a coeducational Independent boarding and day school for 11 to 18 year olds set in 200 acres of Suffolk Countryside.