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Headmaster's Blog- The Importance of Bloxham's Values and Traditions

Last month, as villages across the country held their picnics and tea parties in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday, Bloxham School celebrated a special birthday of its own. As many will know, 2016 marks the centenary of three of our Houses – Wilson, Wilberforce and Crake – and on a soggy Sunday in June it was the turn of Wilberforce to have a party. And wow, what a party!

Forced inside by unseasonal storms, the dining rooms and Chapel were festooned with bunting, garland and flowers in the House colour, purple. With a theme of a ‘mad hatter’s tea-party’, trestle tables heaved under the weight of delicious cakes, made lovingly on-site by our talented kitchen staff; locally-sourced strawberries and cream; and sparkling glasses of prosecco … Britain’s new favourite tipple! Centre-stage was an enormous purple cake, with a huge icing teapot on the top. I am incredibly impressed by the willpower of the students, who instead of tucking in, decided to donate it to Katharine House Hospice to be auctioned. Of course, Wilberforce has only been a girls’ house for 15 years… but the 100 plus blazered old boys who joined us for the afternoon didn’t mind a bit! And as the Wilberforce girls entertained us with a musical concert which mixed traditional classics with modern pop, all were charmed. Indeed, amongst the follow-up cards and letters of thanks, many have commented on the welcome and improving addition of girls to the House!

It was a lovely afternoon and as I watched the Wilberforce girls chat so amiably to some of the oldest in our community I felt it summed up so much about Bloxham and what it means to be a Bloxhamist. We are a school which celebrates our traditions, weaving what is best about our past into the fabric of our future. We educate the whole child and, as a rural school, offer many of the great British country pursuits, alongside the traditional, team-game offer. Riding is an incredibly popular and successful activity at Bloxham and our equestrian team has been twice crowned NSEA champions in recent years. Clay Pigeon Shooting is an activity pursued by a number of students, with our team having held the National title twice in recent years. Sailing is another fun summer sport we make available to our students and last year a group of students joined the Ocean Youth Trust to crew a voyage from Plymouth to France. And finally, we have our own reason to celebrate rowing at Bloxham: this year, 90 year old Old Bloxhamist Francis de Marneffe became the oldest person to row at the Royal Henley Regatta. Incredible! What is it about 90 year olds? 

Of course, all these activities are fun, wholesome and add breadth to the curriculum for our students. Still more importantly, they help them to develop the broad base of skills and qualities –team-work, resilience and communication – they will need to be successful in the future. That was core to our ethos when Wilberforce was formed in 1916, and when Her Majesty was born in 1926, and it remains integral to the Bloxham of today.