It is reassuring to know that the evolution of the College over three decades between their respective Bradfield careers has not dampened the community feel. On the contrary both believe it has strengthened it.
Since Marcus left as a pupil to forge a successful career as an educator himself, the College has expanded and modernised and also become fully co-educational. The addition of the latter is what makes their respective first years at school fundamentally different experiences. While Marcus went straight into his Senior boarding house, Ellie enjoyed the benefits of Faulkner’s, where all our Year 9 pupils live together for the entirety of their first year, something they advocate.
“If I had never been in Faulkner’s I would not have some of my closest friends now,” enthuses Ellie. “A lot of my friends are in other boarding houses so it is thanks to Faulkner’s that I was able to forge those friendships. Even now in the Sixth Form I am in classes with people that I have never shared a classroom with before but we all shared that first year experience. I might even struggle with their names if I had not met them back then.”
“Faulkner’s was a huge selling point for me as a parent; it really brings the year group together,” says Marcus. “When I was a pupil, the people who I would go across the crossroads with, I knew they were in my year group but had no idea of their names. We didn’t get that time for the whole year group to bond and I had not come across them because they weren’t sporty or in my boarding house or they were musical and I wasn’t.”
From the moment the pair begin to talk about their later Bradfield years the similarities become obvious. Both captained 1stXI sports teams, enjoyed their CCF experiences, were taught by Colin Burgess and both claim the Brewer is the social centre of boarding.
“The Brewer is the place for conversation,” says Ellie. “Everyone in the House gets along with each other, especially across the year groups, and the Brewer is a great place to make those connections, eating food and having great bonding time.”
Marcus’ face lights up at the memories of the G House Brewer. “I still have milky tea because of the brewer. By the time I got up to G House from the main College and boiled the kettle, which took a long time, I would get about three minutes to drink it, so I had to put in a lot of milk to cool it down. I still drink it that way.”