It was in a London church where everyone listened intently to the speakers that I had the privilege of hearing eulogies for Michael Stone (E 49-54). This most generous of Old Bradfieldians, who led the Bradfield Foundation for many years and energised fundraising for the superb facilities we enjoy today, had a remarkable career. At his memorial service, however, it was his charitable activity and the number of lives he touched personally that came through most strongly. It was salutary to be reminded that, ultimately, it is not our CV but the way we live our life that people remember.

A SCHOOL WHERE PUPILS LEARN THAT HAPPINESS COMES FROM DOING GOOD, AS WELL AS DOING WELL.

The American writer, David Brooks, summarises this in his book, The Road to Character by explaining the difference between what he terms ‘resumé virtues’ and ‘eulogy virtues’. Bradfield strives to be a school where pupils develop both resumé and eulogy virtues, a school for leaders, not just for qualifications, a school where pupils learn that happiness comes from doing good, as well as doing well. For Bradfield is a community which recognises that empathy and service increase our own well-being as well as that of others.

In a world seemingly obsessed by personality, Bradfield’s pupils have their own responses to the lure of celebrity. I am proud to say, however, that our pupils’ character –who they are –matters more in this community than how they are seen. In a world seemingly obsessed with data, our pupils have their own responses to the lure of counting likes. I am proud to say, however, that in this community we do not only value what is easy to measure; we are seeking new ways to measure what we value. Bradfield’s values of integrity, empathy and enthusiasm do not depend on loud personality but are also revealed in quiet character.

OUTSTANDING ANALOGUE TEACHING LIVES ON. IT IS PROVEN ON A DAILY BASIS AT BRADFIELD.

Over recent months, we have been developing a digital strategy to prepare our pupils for their digitally disrupted futures and will be investing in people, software and hardware to that end. This generation needs to be digitally fluent using technology seamlessly at work and play.

It is hard to explain to teenagers accustomed to 3D vision, 4D sound, and soon 5G Wi-Fi that it used to be really exciting when a teacher wheeled an overhead projector into your classroom. Happily, outstanding analogue teaching lives on. It is proven on a daily basis at Bradfield. There is no app for great pedagogy and the hallmark of our very best teachers remains, like the late cricket commentator, Richie Benaud, the skill of talking with their audience, not at them.

LEARNING TO DO ONE THING REALLY WELL – OR AT LEAST WITH REAL PASSION – IS INVALUABLE.

I have written and spoken this year of the desire for Bradfield to be like the Galapagos Islands, a fertile platform for diversity. Our educational principles and our pupils remain rounded, but our all-rounders are not mere jacks of all trades but often masters of many. That is as it should be because learning to do one thing really well – or at least with real passion – is invaluable.

One such pupil is five-time World Tap Dance Champion Kia Lawrence (I 14-19). Kia’s dancing is supported by outstanding singing and acting; we wish her well for her Musical Theatre course next year. I have no doubt that her application to Liverpool Media Academy included great resumé virtues. I am also confident that they, like us, will soon come to value even more highly Kia’s eulogy virtues, notably her infectious energy and zest for life which are an inspiration to us all.

Hamish Newall (E 14-19) will hopefully soon be drumming in Cambridge, where he has an offer to read Maths. Listing Hamish’s CV could take some time. Instead, I will use some of his tutor’s words: ‘Hamish’s great strength lies not in the objective list of trophies collected or boxes ticked, but rather in his endless sense of inquiry. Hamish never considers anything he has achieved as a task completed, but rather the beginning of a new chapter in a lifetime of discovery. He is desperate to make a positive difference to this world of ours.’ How’s that for a eulogy?

Billy Bolt (D 14-19) and Will Bray (H 14-19) have been key members of our highly successful football team. They also demonstrate the manner in which many of our pupils are talented across several domains for Will’s jazz and Billy’s acting are also of the highest order. As one considers a gap year and apprenticeship and the other English and Film at Exeter, we know that Will’s generous smile and Billy’s natural charisma have been hugely influential within and beyond their peer group.

Charlie Ward (I 14-19) plans to read History of Art after a gap year. The epitome of a Bradfield all-rounder, she has made superb contributions across the board. She has spoken memorably about the manner in which her family is proof of the principle of one Bradfield, many Bradfieldians and about the gratitude so many pupils feel to their parents for this opportunity. Charlie’s modesty, her care and her sometimes wicked sense of humour are, however, the things for which she will most be missed.

Lauren Bell (J 17-19) has made a massive mark since joining Bradfield in the Sixth Form as the first girl to play for the boys’ cricket XI. Playing for Berkshire, Middlesex and Southern Vipers and a member of the England Women’s Academy, Lauren’s cricketing CV is deeply impressive. So are her personal example, her calm and measured approach and the manner in which she ensures that sporting success does not define her. She is planning to go to Loughborough to study Criminology and Sociology.

Our Heads of School this year demonstrate the same rich combination of talent and integrity, ability and empathy, effort and enthusiasm. Jess Bennett (M 17-19) has made a remarkable impact on Bradfield since her arrival, drinking deep of the opportunities on offer whilst standing true to her convictions, leading debate and challenging convention. And then, just when we thought we knew her, she revealed that she has a fabulous singing voice. She hopes to read Biomedical Sciences at Bath. May she quickly find her voice there.

Raff Burrowes (G 14-19) is a pupil who has earned the respect, admiration and friendship not only of his own year group but across the pupil body. He is a young man who cares deeply about people and has always tried to put pupil voice to the fore. Like Jess, his final year also saw him reveal a fine singing voice to go alongside his talent for jazz and sport. Psychology with Innovation at Bristol sounds a fascinating course very well suited to Raff. I am deeply grateful to him and Jess for the lead they have given the College this year.

 

As we look back on a really enjoyable year, we can also consider an exciting future for the College. Alongside our emerging Digital Strategy, the Campus Development Framework outlines projects which will have a profound influence on the careers of future members of this community for in Churchill’s words, “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” The planning of projects will continue to be informed by our overarching strategy and 2020 will see us consulting with the Bradfield community towards its next iteration.

BRADFIELDIANS CONTINUE TO BE STRAIGHT-FORWARD, REAL AND HONEST AND CONTINUE TO DISPLAY GREAT TALENTS AND ADMIRABLE CHARACTER.

At the end of an enjoyable year I am delighted to confirm that Bradfieldians continue to be straight-forward, real and honest, they continue to develop resumé virtues and eulogy virtues, they continue to display great talents and admirable character, and they continue to grow in knowledge and virtue in a community where neither is optional.

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