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“There are just a few short hours left of a term that has been fuller and busier than ever. Let me start this assembly with a massive thank you to all of you for everything you have done for the School this term. It has been a term full of activity, events and successes and at the heart of each of these have been you. Quite how you have managed to fit in everything from end of unit tests, GCSE controlled assessment to university preparation, to main roles in the School play, music concerts or both, at the same time as playing in a school or house sports team, I will never know.

My congratulations to Matthew Cantelo, Jessica Edney, Alistair Green, Natasha Jones and last year’s Deputy Head of School, Cameron Cullen, on securing Oxbridge interviews. The fact that all our contenders have secured interviews speaks volumes for the support Mr White and other colleagues have offered the Oxbridge candidates. Our finger are also crossed for our Crompton Organ Scholar, Mr Morris, who has also been engaged in Oxbridge interviews earlier this week.

At every level you are making what you will one day realise have been giant academic strides, as well as being involved in a multiplicity of activities. I would also like to thank you all for the help you always offer, with great humour and loyalty, whenever we hold Open Days, prospective parent visits and school events. When visitors write to me to thank us for running one event or another, they invariably praise the boys and girls who chatted to them or provided a tour.

If I could thank my colleagues in the same breath, I would like to do that too. RHS pupils always seem to appreciate what the staff are doing for them, whether in lessons, on the playing fields or taking trips, or offering help and advice over university choices, or with pastoral issues, and this makes our jobs all the more fulfilling. I know how much time my colleagues have given up to ensure RHS achieves a good name and the important successes that will help you all leave, when the day finally comes, with great results, golden prospects and fond memories.

As ever, the pupils I respect the most are those who look after each other and go out of their way to show kindness to those in need. RHS sets its pupils high expectations and I expect all of you to work hard.  Whilst there is never any room for complacency, I congratulate the vast majority of you on your academic endeavour throughout the course of the term. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, to my mind, RHS pupils stand out as having, ‘the confidence to walk with kings, yet not lose the common touch’.

Model United Nations

My congratulations to all those who attended the MUN conference at Beneden School at the beginning of the week. Mr Christmas informed me that you had an excellent day with three Highly Commended Delegates: Sean Cuddihy, Siana Douglas-Hamilton and Kathryn Matous.

Girls’ Sport


U12: The U12A team had a successful season winning just over half of their matches. The A team has been ably led by Captain Yasmin Gradwick-Light and player of the season is Charlotte Stenning.  Both players have had trials for Suffolk, as has Molly Entwistle for Essex. The B teams have also held their own and have been enthusiastically led by Rebecca Sweeney.

Junior Colours are awarded to:

  • Katie Bagnall
  • Yasmin Gradwick-Light
  • Charlotte Stenning

U13: The highlight of the term was qualifying for the Regional U13 Hockey Finals in Redbridge in March. In the qualifying stage, Tilly Arulampalam was named player of the tournament. Tilly, Millie Salter, Tor Williams and Libby Parker have attended Essex and Suffolk training throughout the term. The B squad has not been quite so dominant but have enjoyed their hockey.

Junior Colours are Re-awarded to:

  • Matilda Arulampalam
  • Emilia Salter
  • Victoria Williams
  • Libby Parker

Junior Colours are awarded to:

  • Catie Bennett
  • Georgina Nicholls
  • Libby Parker
  • Annie Tavainavesi

U14: The U14A team has struggled against very strong opposition. It was therefore really pleasing to see the tactical team play of the squad finally come together in the last game of the season when they beat Norwich 2-0. Captain Beth Dwerryhouse has been outstanding. Both Beth and goal keeper, Isabella Durrant, have been attending Suffolk hockey trials. The U14B’s have also worked hard to consolidate their skills and they have had a number of successful wins; particularly on grass.

Intermediate Colours are awarded to:

  • Beth Dwerryhouse

U15: Although the U15A team has not been particularly successful in terms of winning, the standard of their play has evolved  and they have had some exciting, nail-biting fixtures; their game against Norwich just losing out 3-2 being a prime example. The team has been ably led by Co-Captains Sophie Rennison and Sophie Atkinson. The B’s have also had their fair share of successes.

Intermediate Colours are Re-awarded to:

  • Milly Ainsworth
  • Millie Orr
  • Sophie Rennison
  • Charlene Tait

Intermediate Colours are awarded to:

  • Sophie Atkinson
  • Natasha Scott

3rd XI: The 3rd XI has played a number of fixtures this season, with particular flair on grass. Captained very successfully by Bethan Davies the side has maintained a good team spirit. The highlights were a 2-0 victory over Woodbridge and a 1-0 win in the final game of the season against Norwich.

2nd XI: The 2nd XI has created a great atmosphere within the team and has developed their skills and tactical play throughout the season. This culminated in a sound victory in the last game against Norwich. Ruth Mallett showed her determination and commitment in goal. Special thanks must go to Ruth; as her coaching skills learned through attending Suffolk goal keeping have been put to good use in her own play as well as for the other team goalies. Captain Elizabeth Banks has also played an important role as the team has developed.

1st XI: The 1st XI has had a challenging schedule meaning that the season seemed to be a never-ending uphill battle. Several of their toughest opponents brought out the best in individuals, with outstanding play from Captain goalie Hannah Corrie and tireless efforts from defender Sophie Opielok.  Individuals should be proud of their persistent efforts to succeed and the noticeable development of their individual skills.

Senior Half Colours have been awarded to:

  • Lizzy Blackett
  • Megan Langford
  • Georgia Tindale
  • Katie Taylor

Senior Full Colours have been awarded to:

  • Hannah Corrie
  • Emily Davidson-Brett
  • Sophie Opielok


Netball House Leagues

  • Intermediate – RALEIGH
  • Senior – HOWE

Inter-House Hockey Tournament

  • Senior – HOOD
  • Intermediate – HOOD
  • Junior – Chichester

Boys’ Sport


U12: The U12A team played well all season ably led by Joshua Waylett. Wins against Woodbridge, Felsted and Gresham’s were highlights; with Luke Clark-Smith dominating up front and Hamish Comonte playing well at number 8. The B team progressed well; a win in the last game of the season v Wymondham was a highlight. Charlie Mann played well up front and Daniel Blake-Hagan was aggressive in attack.

Junior Colours are awarded to:

  • William Carter
  • Luke Clark-Smith
  • Hamish Comonte
  • Joshua Waylett

U13: A season of 2 halves for the U13As. Before half term the team played very well losing only once; the highlight being an away win against Woodbridge. Pleasingly, the group have 5 boys through to further trials for Northampton Saints – Kuki, Cameron Jordan, Alex Oxley, Toyo Ogunlesi and Elliot Chilvers. In the Bs Harry Sargeant has been a tough-tackling, determined captain. Tom Paddon and Tom Brown fearless and skilled half-backs while Fergus Atkins proved himself a reliable presence at full-back.

Junior Colours are Re-awarded to:

  • Marco De Nysschen

U14: The A team have won 9 matches this season; many by a large margin. Harry Pugh was the leading try scorer, often finishing off good work by his team mates. The team was well led by Zac Puckey, with strong and consistent contributions from Tom Saunders and Elliot Rayment. The U14Bs had a good season. The highlight was undoubtedly a resounding 52-0 victory over Woodbridge, whilst there were also impressive wins away at Gresham’s and at home against Norwich. Kieran Farrer led the team excellently from fly-half.

Intermediate Colours are awarded to:

  • Zac Puckey
  • Elliot Rayment
  • Thomas Saunders

U15: After a difficult first half of term, and heavy defeats at the hands of Coopers and New Hall, the As were disappointed with further losses to Culford and The Perse. There were, however, excellent wins against Colchester, The Leys and Norwich. The B team played with astonishing unpredictability this season, they were equally capable of throwing away a lead, as of scoring points in the last 20 minutes of a match. A highlight was beating The Perse by 12 points and finishing in style with a 70 to 10 win over Framlingham. Toby Oliver was an inspirational Captain.

Intermediate Colours are Re-awarded to:

  • Toby Allday
  • Francois Rossouw

Intermediate Colours are awarded to:

  • Toby Buckland
  • Sam Hindley
  • Cedric Hoskyns-Abrahall

U16: The Under 16As have made significant progress as a `gritty` team who have become difficult to beat. After losing 2 of their first three games they came back to have only four losses in the next 12 matches. The team was superbly led by captain Lyam Thorpe. He was ably supported by Jesse Vogel, Conor Alkin and Tom Harwood.  The U16Bs had an outstanding season, with no loses against other B teams; and only one draw against Norwich. They showed composure on the field and their determination to play as a team ensured that they dominated most opposition.

3rdXV:Although not a winning season in terms of results, the spirit and camaraderie exuded by all players was true to the tradition of the team. Charlie Brice was effective and inspirational as captain, Seb Starling showed pace in the loose, scoring his first ever tries for the School and Matt Brown dominated at full back.

2nd XV:The 2nds have had a successful season winning over half of their games. They have played an attractive attacking style of play with the vast majority of their tries coming from out wide. The highlight of the season was a rare and hard-fought victory away at Gresham’s. The team was ably led firstly by Alex Mockford and then by George Petrides.

1st XV:A much improved season that owed a lot to a greater understanding of the intensity required at this level. Captain Dan Smith led by example and was often our ‘get of jail’ card; making the hard yards to get the team onto the front foot. Vice-captain James Rutledge became the most consistent and reliable of performers whilst Callum Jenkins was the most improved player this season. Dan Jones deserves a mention for being the most versatile player. Good luck to Alex Rayment and Ben Kelland in their London and South East Divisional Trial.

Senior Half Colours have been awarded to:

  • George Butt
  • Joseph Dakin
  • Adam Hare
  • Callum Jenkins
  • Daniel Jones
  • Ben Kelland
  • Alex Rayment

Senior Full Colours have been awarded to:

  • Matthew Cantelo
  • James Rutledge
  • Daniel Smith


House Football Leagues

  • Senior – Hawke
  • Intermediate – Raleigh

Inter-House Rugby

  • Junior – Macarthur
  • Year 9 – Raleigh
  • Year 10 – Collingwood
  • Senior – St Vincent

On the Water

RHS pupils have re-confirmed their dominance on the water. Our kayakers were named National Schools’ Marathon Canoe Champions for 2013, and our sailors brought home the Kings’ Challenge Cup after defeating King’s Canterbury, Sevenoaks, Millfield and Ardingly to take top position in the BSDRA Autumn Team Racing.

I am sure you all would wish to join me in wishing Freddie Chiddicks all the very best of luck as he heads off to Oman to compete in Laser Radial Youth World Championships. This fleet of 100 competitors will include the best youth laser sailors from over 29 different countries, as well as several Olympians. Best of Luck to Freddie and his 7 other team mates as they take on the best in the world representing Great Britain. I have also just heard that Lulu Knott has been selected to join the RYA UK
Sailing Squad – well done to Lulu.

My best wishes to Mr Wynn, and all those heading off on the Egypt diving trip – do think of us freezing cold, back in the UK!

In an action-packed term, there have been many other highlights, including an excellent CCF Field Day; the Remembrance Day Parade and Service attended by nearly 2,000 people; a wonderful Model United Nations Dinner; a number of hugely successful Open Mornings and taster days (attended by over 200 prospective pupils and their families) and an outstanding Nelson House Trafalgar Night Dinner.

At RHS we have become used to superb productions over the years, but even so, this year’s School production of David Copperfield was an exceptional achievement. Mr Kerr quietly unveiled a remarkable production where every line and every moment was totally credible.  The staging, costumes and make-up put many professional productions to shame, but even more astonishingly, so did the cast who made each performance unforgettable.

This has been another signal term for the School Choir.  Early in the term they performed in the National Seafarer’s Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral and at the Admiralty Carol Service at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The Chamber Choir performed with distinction at Langham Hall, and who could forget the amazing evening at which Handel’s Messiah was performed in front of a packed Chapel.  Handel’s Messiah is a hugely ambitious undertaking and Mr Saunders and the Music Department should be immensely proud of what was achieved.

We say farewell to two members of staff at the end of term this term. Mrs Pearson was appointed Matron of Blake House in January 2007. At the time Blake was a Year 7-12 girls’ boarding house. In September 2009 Blake reopened its doors as a Year 7-8 junior girls’ house before becoming a fully co-educational junior house at the beginning of this term. Mrs Pearson has, therefore, been no stranger to the management of change. However, throughout her time in Blake, Mrs Pearson has worked tirelessly to support the young people in her care. Mrs Chick retires after over 20 years’ dedicated service as the School’s Assistant Librarian. We thank them both for their unstinting commitment to the Royal Hospital School and wish them all the very best in their well-earned retirement.

I would like to pay tribute to all those pupils who have held positions of responsibility in the School throughout the course of the Term, and to thank all those who have delivered reports in assembly with such poise and precision.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks go to Mr Dixon, who has made a fine start as our new Deputy Headmaster, and of course to the Heads and Deputy Heads of School for their unstinting support.

Back in October, I attended the annual HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) Conference in London. As the press widely reported at the time, the Conference theme devised by the HMC Chairman, Tim Hands was ‘The Child’. This was newsworthy because in his conference speech he made a strong case for the inability of politicians to concentrate on the key subject. ‘The more the state has intervened post-war in the life of the child, the less it has offered by way of extra-curricular provision’. Well, from what you have just heard this morning it is clear that RHS has not suffered at the hands of our politicians and that the School continues to actively promote and deliver an all-round and full education for its young people.

I wish you all a very Happy, Peaceful and Relaxing Christmas!”