I would like to share with you four aspects of School that I think you will be interested in:
New Chapel Seating
Some time ago, we had an amusing incident in one Chapel service. One of the chairs creaked and eventually gave way, sending a member of staff sprawling across the Chapel floor. After dignity and decorum were restored, the service continued. On leaving, one Year 11 (5th Form) pupil said to me that this was the “best Chapel ever!” (I am aware that there have been more exciting Chapel services in Abbotsholmian history, but I did not wish to correct him!).
It seems, in some ways, strange to be addressing you as President instead of Secretary of the Abbotsholmians’ Club and yet I know that I am still talking to the many friends and acquaintances that I made during my seventeen years as Secretary, never mind the hundreds upon hundreds of Abbotsholmians who I taught or tried to teach during my 39 years on the Staff at the School. It has been a privilege to have addressed you over the years with news of the School, the Club and my general thoughts and ramblings. Now I have the enormous honour to be President of the Club and to represent you as we face further challenges regarding our raison d’être, our methods of communicating with our members and our relationship with other bodies.
So. Here we are at last. Years in the planning. Months in the execution. ‘The Digital Dove: 2016 ’. Aren’t we now just so irresistibly bright, shiny, up-to-date and cutting-edge?
It is not an exaggeration to say that when computers were first introduced at Abbotsholme, and staff were required to receive training in how to use them, I could not have been more opposed to the whole concept. I wasn’t quite dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Computer Room opposite the New Studies – go under Prefects’ Arch and keep walking uphill till you see it on your left – but I could not have been more cynical - or, indeed, downright truculent - about it. I did not need a computer, nor would I ever! I already had pen and paper! I had a classroom whose walls were lined with bookshelves! I was an English teacher, for heaven’s sake! I had no choice, however, but to attend these loathed sessions, all on the old BBCs, but gradually, gradually the Luddite who had begun the course began, if not to see the light, at least to see distant, half-formed possibilities. Somehow, this led to my acquiring a second-hand Amstrad for my classroom, then there was no looking back, even before I bought myself a brand-new Acorn Archimedes desktop.