School Captain’s Blog: June 2012

The year has absolutely flown by and I find myself taking on the last formal occasion as Captain of School, the wreath laying ceremony. This will take on Friday, 6th July and is one of the most important events in the QM calendar. All of year 7, along with a number of prefects and teachers will be travelling down to London and laying a wreath on the tomb of our Patron, Queen Mary. The tradition states that the wreath is laid by the out-going Captain of School and the youngest member of year 7.

Looking back over the past year, I realise just how rewarding the experience of being Captain of School has been. I have picked up a plethora of skills from public speaking to speech writing and personal organisation to organising a team of seventy prefects. During my interview last year, I was asked what I was least looking forward to, as I’d had little experience of public speaking this was my answer; I can now say that the speeches have been the part I have enjoyed most and will be an enormous help for the future.

I wish the new Captain of School, Jakob Brooke, the best of luck in the role. I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job and I hope this time next year he will look back and realise how much he has achieved.

School Captain’s Blog: March 2012

I had hoped that after an extremely busy start to the year, the next few months might be a little more relaxed; but as ever, at QM, there was always something happening.

We witnessed the Sixth Form Centre rising from the ashes of the old houses at a truly impressive rate. It is still on track for opening at the beginning of the forthcoming academic year; to add to the excitement, the event will be marked by Radio 4 ‘Any Questions’ being hosted at school! At the moment focus is moving to the interior of the building. The Sixth Form have been put in charge of choosing and sourcing furniture. The chosen designs are from two old boys of the school: James Mercy and Joseph Duffell, who have a design company called JDD Furniture. Various fund raising events will be happening soon to raise money for this.

Sixth Form German students were given the chance to participate in a two week long work experience exchange in Biedenkopf. Those studying Spanish were not left out as there was also an exchange trip to Vigo in Spain, where the party met up with two teachers who recently left QM for sunny Spain.

The next QMA fundraiser, the Burns’ Night, saw dancing to Val Miller and her band as well as a sit down meal, including the traditional haggis. A huge amount of effort went into the organisation of the event and it has brought in a substantial amount of money for the school.

The CCF spent three weekends up at Farchynys with Arctic and Antarctic Warfare giving cadets the chance to put into practice what they have learnt on Friday nights. Major Machin’s ever popular Command and Control weekend saw cadets simulating a battle in the area surrounding the coach house!

Most recently, Farchynys has been put to good use by the Geography Department with their AS-Level fieldwork study. During the visit, students carried out studies into succession of plants on sand dunes, sand dune structure, river flow and valley formation. Another change in the Geography Department has seen Mr. Matley appointed Head of Geography for the next academic year.

School Captain’s Blog: Autumn Term 2011

So much has happened at once over the past half term! The first week was a baptism of fire for me as Captain of School, organising prefect rotas, a sixth form welcome afternoon and a parents’ induction evening. I was assured things would calm down once those first few days were over.

The following week saw the Open Evenings, where around 1000 people took tours around the school and saw displays from the age old forensic mystery in Biology to a brilliant, loud display of the extensive talent in the Music Department.

For me, the first couple of weeks seemed to be building up to a particular event, the Old Boys’ Dinner. One of the most prestigious and traditional events in the school calendar, it was also to be the stage for my first public speech. Initially I was looking forward to this prospect until I saw the guest list; with groups from last year ranging to the 1930s in attendance! Luckily my speech went down well and the evening proved to be the best experience of my six years at the school.

The first meeting of the academic year for the committee organising the Fireworks Evening followed soon after. It was an event I had attended since year 7 but had never really considered just how much work goes on behind the scenes. The event is a major fundraiser for the school and initial figures this year suggest that over £8000 has been raised, an increase of around £2000 from the previous year! In the same week a number of sixth formers, parents and teachers travelled to the school’s centre in Wales to welcome the whole of year 7 and their families for the Farchynys Open Day.

Both of these events were a great example of how much the school relies on the help of parents. In light of this the school hosted an event for new parents who had volunteered for the QMA. This was a chance for everyone to decide which committee they wished to join and get to know other members of that team.

The CCF Field Day saw cadets taking part in everything from room clearances to route marches and from command tasks to camouflage and concealment. As this was the first year that I’d been able to get involved in the organisation of the day and I realised how much of a logistical challenge taking over 300 cadets to Nesscliff Training Area really is.

The big finish to this first half term was, as ever, Speech Day. In a slight shift from tradition the school invited an Old Boy to deliver the church service and Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South, to speak at the ceremony in the evening. The day is often said to be the most important of the year as Captain of School, with taking charge of prefecting for both the morning and evening; not to mention delivering the First Lesson in the church service and the final speech of the Prize Giving Ceremony. With a notably good team of prefects this year everything ran very smoothly and as with the Old Boys’ Dinner, the day proved to be one of, if not the best day of my time as the school.