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Headmaster's Blog - Preparing Students for Life After Bloxham

Last week, I joined the throngs of teenagers and their parents packing into the Great Hall for Bloxham School's annual careers fair. And what a fantastic event! Over 30 exhibitors from the worlds of higher education, business and the professions had turned out to share information, wisdom and advice about their sectors. I know our students found it incredibly useful; and I am really pleased that we were able to open their eyes to the wide range of opportunities on offer, and to extend their focus to what life might be like after Bloxham.

Earlier that day, a group of Lower School students and visiting pupils from Winchester House School participated in a bridge-building exercise with volunteers from the Institute of Civil Engineers. It took the students just under an hour to assemble the 15 metre structure, which ran the entire length of the Great Hall and was capable of bearing their weight. It was really quite a feat!

It is vital that as a school we do all we can to support students entering engineering careers, as well as others in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) disciplines. Government and industry have recognised the importance of these jobs to the national economy and it is certainly an area where Bloxham students can build successful careers in the future. Maths continues to be a very popular subject at Bloxham, with a high proportion of the cohort taking it to A Level. A number of our students combine this with Design Technology, where they are encouraged and supported to apply for Arkwright scholarships. Many have been successful in the past, and have gained funding and further mentoring from industry through the programme.

Bloxham has always been in the business of preparing its students for the business of life – both in terms of what they might be, and how they want to live their life. Supporting them to be successful, by nurturing skills in communication, team-working and resilience; and encouraging them to consider their place in the world, to give back and be a force for good.

It is really inspiring to find these values live out in many of our alumni. We are doing considerably more for Old Bloxhamists now, and have recently held a number of events to engage them: a drinks evening for recent leavers home from university for Christmas; a Joc Revival at Hook Norton Brewery (the Joc was the old school bar!); a London reunion at the Reform Club; as well as centenary celebrations for Wilson, Wilberforce and Crake Houses in this, their 100th year. It is such a pleasure to catch up with the OBs – they all display that open, easy confidence we seek to nurture in our current students and it has been lovely to hear so many credit the school for their success in later life.

We hope that by reconnecting with our OBs in this way we can strengthen the entire Bloxham community for all, and we see particular, mutual benefits in the area of careers. Many of our OBs already do a lot for the school and contribute to our careers programme in a number of ways. We are incredibly grateful for their continuing loyalty and support. However, we also hope, in time and as we grow the OB network, the activity can be useful to the alumni body itself. Many former students are in the early stages of building their careers and would benefit enormously from a more experienced mentor. Similarly, those further up the ladder see the value of a fresh employment pool of well-prepared young people.

Being a Bloxhamist doesn't stop when you leave school; and the benefits should extend beyond the students themselves to the whole Bloxham family of former students, parents, former parents and our wider network of friends. As a school, we hope to facilitate this thriving community – and thus develop its life-long value for all who have a connection with the school.

My good wishes for a peaceful Easter.