Today’s Whole School Assembly was a special one in which we saw the new School Monitors formally inducted through the presentation of a Red Gown.
Afterwards, Charlotte and Josh spoke eloquently and with great passion to the pupils and staff for the first time as Heads of School.
Read and listen to the ceremony below:
Leadership in a school takes many forms.
It can be the moment that an Upper Fourth pupil offers a helping hand to a Lower Fourth Pupil who has fallen in the playground.
It can be the time when a team Captain encourages her players to dig deep and score the winning goal against an equally matches opposition.
It can be using one’s initiative and looking to invite outside speakers to the school.
It can be standing in front of the Dean of the Cathedral and being awarded the role of Senior Chorister.
It can be deciding to go the other direction on a D of E expedition as the rain beats against you and other members of the team have becoming exhausted.
Within the community, everyone has an opportunity to lead at various times.
One of the greatest strengths of King’s is the variety of activities that we offer in addition to those related to the subjects you study. Your teachers, working with their Heads of Department, will plan a variety of trips and activities that are designed to augment your learning. You may find yourself being inspired by Mr Joyce up a mountain, or in a Tapas Bar with Shearburn. You could be talking tactics on tour with Ms Miller-Symonds or considering the challenges of the Western Front in 1916 with Mrs Fergusson. Yet as well as these myriads of trips and expeditions, you could be rowing at Henley, in an international Sevens Competition, high on a mountain with D of E, or at CCF Camp.
In all these situations, you will often be required to lead, as well as required to follow. And it is the job of teachers here to guide you in how to lead effectively, with compassion, and with respect.
Leadership is not shouting to get the person in front of you to do what you want.
Leadership is not being arrogant and abusing a position of authority or preferment of prestige.
No. Leadership is about caring for those around you, and making decisions in their best interest, sometimes having to do so knowing it won’t always be popular, but always communicating with those who you support to
Over the course of your career at school, we will encourage you to lead, and guide, support, and coach you.
The culmination of your time at King’s may see you take on leadership roles in your house. It may see you as sports or activity captains.
Schools will each year appoint leaders of the entire community. At King’s, these are called Monitors. I think the title is very special. And I’ll use a story to explain why.
Some of you may remember the tragic, wasteful, and hateful murders committed by a deranged man in Christchurch, New Zealand. It left 51 people dead and hundreds of lives forever ruined.
Condemnation around the world was swift. However, one of the most poignant, heartfelt, and deeply moving moments came on the streets of Manchester.
Andrew Graystone is a quiet, committed Christian. Horrified by the murders, and determined to ensure that anyone of faith didn’t feel intimidated, he went to Mosque in Levenshulme, stood by the entrance, and held a placard. The message simply read ‘You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.’
I will keep watch.
Andrew Graystone showed unbelievable leadership through the holding a placard and saying nothing. And in doing so, he offered to monitor and support those who may have been nervous, fearful, or concerned.
And so the title of Monitor for our school leaders could not be more apt. These young men and women, chosen through an interview process, an advisory vote, after conversations with staff and house members, are the pupils who will monitory the pupil community this coming year.
I will expect them to lead with love, compassion, kindness and respect. I will expect them to have to speak truths in an uncomfortable circumstance. I will expect them to hold up the rules and expectations of our school. But ultimately, I want them to be here for you. I want them to keep watch over you.
Today is a special day. Many years ago, Monitors at King’s were awarded with a sign of their office that distinguished them from other pupils and ensured they stood out in assemblies, in the cathedral and around the school when they were on official business. After much discussion, it has been agreed that the robe of office of a monitor be re-presented.
Therefore, every monitor will now be formally inducted through the presentation of a Red Gown. The colour of the Gown is significant. King’s is a school founded by a Monarch, a Royal heritage that stretches back nearly 500 years. Since the reign of Edward VII, red cassocks have been worn by the clergy and lay personnel in royal institutions. Our Monitors in their gowns will be a reminder of that heritage.
Monitors will wear these on public occasions, on Open Days, when they are undertaking official duties, at formal dinners. It signifies their position within our school. It is a privilege of their office.
I will now present the Monitors with their Gowns, before inviting the Heads of School to speak.
I have been at King’s for fifteen years, and am very grateful to be given the opportunity to be Head of School. I want to use this position to have a positive impact on the Foundation, which has shaped me into the person I am today. I am also really pleased to be head with Josh, – not least so I can share all the difficult jobs with him!
It seems like only yesterday that I was in year seven, barely being able to see over the person in front and looking up to, as I called them, ‘the big kids’. Apparently, I am now one of those big kids, which still takes some getting used to.
I have used my time at King’s to get involved in as many things as possible. From hockey to DofE, clarinet to CCF, and even some rowing…although at only 5ft 4 and a bit I perhaps wasn’t playing to my strengths. You never know what you might be good at and what you might enjoy – so my advice to you is make the most of what is on offer, and try as many new things as you can.
Throughout my journey at King’s, I have been so lucky to be supported by such amazing staff. There have been times when I have needed advice or friendly encouragement and the teachers always go above and beyond. I just wanted to say a huge thank you to every one of them.
As Head of School, I am here to support you. I hope that every one of you feels comfortable in coming to me, or Josh, or indeed any of the monitors if you are ever struggling or need someone to talk to. This might be for homework help or anything else.
We are also here to make sure the school works for you. Josh and I would like you to tell us about any ideas that you have for changing or improving things around school.
Although this coming school year will be hard work, I am extremely excited to see what it has to offer for all of us.
My name is Josh Richardson and I have been appointed the joint position of Head of School alongside Charlotte for this academic year. I would love to use this position to have a positive impact on the King’s community which, itself, has had such a positive impact on not only myself but other members of my family who went to King’s as well.
I have been here at King’s since the Lower Remove and I remember walking into school on my first day alongside my brother feeling as nervous as ever being surrounded by unfamiliar sights. However, I had my brother, and I am fully aware that people won’t have that support and experience alongside them, so I would like to reiterate what Charlotte said in hoping that everyone feels comfortable to come and talk to either of us as we want, more than anything, for everyone to feel happy and at home in this environment as we would love to pass on our experiences for the benefit of fellow pupils.
King’s is a very well-rounded school and you will have heard numerous times to use the opportunities that are available to you, but it’s a very important message as King’s achieves highly in a range of departments and enables you to find your true passions as you can’t enjoy learning if you don’t learn what you enjoy. Schools are designed to give you these opportunities and the staff here feel proud to see development in any pupil within this school. I, myself, have loved being involved in the sport here, as well as the DofE programme along with entering the music block at the start of my King’s career to play the drums for 30 minutes as my teacher slowly lost his sense of hearing.
My previous headmaster often told me the importance of building good relationships with not only the pupils around you but the staff as well to create an enjoyable environment. This was a focus point for me when I joined King’s and is one that I believe is extremely beneficial.
I want to finish by saying that I hope everyone has an amazing year and please come and talk to either Charlotte or myself or any of the monitors if you have any worries.
Learn more about our new 21/22 School Monitors.