Headmaster's Report

Father Chairman, Your Lordship, Mr. Ellis, Members of the Governing Body, Very Revv. and Rev. Fathers and Sisters, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen.

One of the most onerous tasks that falls to the lot of a Headmaster, apart from the inevitable one of being father to an exceedingly large family and the daily burdens that accrue from that responsibility, is to have to make a report each year on events that have already taken place, been enjoyed or not, and almost forgotten. I have succeeded in getting around the most onerous part of the task by first of all presenting my Governors with a report shortly before Speech Day, in the Autumn Term Meeting - and they do not want to be bored with repetition and, by presenting a report on the year's activities in the annual school magazine - the parents will enjoy reading this at their leisure, rather than that parents and guests should have to exhibit some formal interest on an occasion such as this.

The school year apart from its chronological division into terms, can also be divided into intra-mural and extra-mural compartments. Within the former pride of place must be given to academic pursuits; the extension of the curriculum to enable the widest range of subjects to be taken by the greatest possible number of boys, and, having achieved this miraculous state, to distribute the increasing load of work on an already overworked staff. It is customary, at the end of a report such as this, to thank all members of staff for their daily help and co-operation without which the smooth machinery of school would soon grind to a halt. I should, on this occasion, like to reverse the process and, as a mark of gratitude to the Staff as a whole and individually, to introduce a short commentary on the work of teachers in general.

In February of this year we were granted the privilege of being the host school for the Celebrity Lecture sponsored by the Director of Education. Lady Margaret Wheeler was the speaker and her subject was 'Australia'. Apart from learning of the distribution of population in Australia, and the fact that one could go on a 10,000 mile safari without encountering much urban interruption, I came away with one particular sentence ringing in my mind. Lady Wheeler had spoken of the aborigines as not having had any legacy of agriculture and she posed a question:- "Could you imagine ploughing behind a kangaroo?" Naturally the picture evoked is an amazing and at the same time an amusing one. The stammering, stuttering leaps of the kangaroo over vast tracts of open country; the occasional furrows when ploughman and beast ceased to be airborne; the almost vain hope of the farmer broadcasting his seed that by some freak, some stray seeds might actually fall into prepared ground; the dubious expectation that by some miracle of God or man, seedlings may sprout and come to fruition - may well be taken allegorically as the situation of a teacher in a secondary school.

It is true that the ground has been prepared for us at primary level and we do not hesitate to admire and indeed applaud the work that is done there. Nevertheless it is done within a confined compound, under the care of one guide and mentor and as yet the kangaroos are babies that have not yet learned to leap they are but recently freed from the pouches of their mothers and have not yet accustomed themselves to wider horizons. When they enter the secondary school, however they are freed from the compound; they have many guides; the vast open plains of knowledge with illimitable horizons are before them and they are ready to leap! It is now the task of the teacher to learn the individual characteristics of each and to endeavour to control them to the extent, at least, that they leap in parallel harness. The distances to be covered are vast; the soil to be furrowed is variable in its fertility or lack of it; the seeds to be sown, in quantity and quality, restricted only to the ability of the soil to receive it.

This is the task of the teacher for 8 hours of every day. He has to measure not only the ability of the pupil to receive but his co-operation to adapt; he has to encourage the weak to aim at the stars and to leap as far as possible, but along fruitful paths and at regular pace; he has occasionally to restrain the impetuous who would leap too far too soon. It is not only in his academic pursuits, however, that the teacher can come to learn the character depth and adaptability of the pupil; he has to search out his other educative attainments in other spheres - in drama; in games and athletics; in indoor and outdoor mental and physical activities; in an encouragement towards responsibility and leadership; in all the other activities in which youth has an interest and a response. So our gratitude does not go out only to the familiar picture of the master, the classroom and the blackboard; we must salute the master really exercising the task often attributed to him, of acting in 'loco parentis' in a very full sense. Only in the light of this can we really appreciate what a school report really implies.

Naturally then, one looks for the primary results of the master's efforts and these are to be found in the academic field. In the year under review, the fortieth year of the school's life, 116 candidates were presented for Ordinary Level in a range of'22 subjects and recorded 469 passes - an overall average of 67%. As a matter of history and comparison, in 1928, at the first examination for which pupils at the school were entered - the Sheffield Local Examination - 8 pupils offered 6 subjects. At Advanced Level 28 students were successful in obtaining 69 passes. Consequent on these results 8 students were admitted to University; 4 to Colleges of Technology; 1 to Law College and 1 to R.A.F. Cranwell. This year 37 boys were admitted to the VIth Form as against 6 in 1960. The Certificate of Secondary Education, offered to the pupils in Harrow for the first time, attracted 24 pupils from the school; of these 22 obtained Grade 1-4 passes, an average of 90%.

Drama continues to play an important part in the life of the school and those who were privileged to see this year's production - 'Macbeth' - which called upon the services of over a hundred boys and many of the Staff in production, make-up, wardrobe, house management, stage direction and erection, lighting and sound, will feel that the excellence of the production and the appreciation of the audience were satisfactory tribute. We have also collaborated closely with the Harrow Drama Committee and the Harrow Youth Officer in the production and presentation of Youth Club and School Drama in this Hall.

Extra-mural activities included the annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes and the pilgrims took with them three handicapped boys, for whose fares the boys had raised over 90. The Swiss trip at Christmas was the largest to date and apart from the bronze medals and burnished skins with which the travellers returned, is now an established venture whose popularity is evidence of its success. In the Geography department several Field days were organised for the upper school; in the English and French departments pupils were able to see outstanding plays and films in London, while the school was also host to the Pinner French Circle who gave their production here during Civic week. Lectures were also attended at Caxton Hall; Central Hall; Institute of Science; Imperial College and other centres in town. We were also hosts for a full day's cricket to the Canon Slade School from Bolton in Lancashire, at Harrow Cricket Club's ground - a most enjoyable inter-school function. In April a large group of boys were present at Wembley to see our home team - Wealdstone - win the Amateur Cup Final. We had more than a local interest in this as the team had had the use of our school gymnasium for their training.

The boys themselves were also busy in organising dances, in February and July, for charitable purposes, especially for the Youth Against Hunger campaign, and in their regular daily contributions to the special school charity, the Crusade of Rescue, as well as occasional calls from other bodies. In all, charities have attracted over 300 from the pockets of the boys in the course of the year. We have also in the school a thriving Savings Branch and in the course of the year the boys have saved upwards of 354.

The main Athletics event of the year has been renowned for some years as a guarantee of bad weather. We tried to cheat the weather man this year by having the event on a weekday and much earlier than usual. He wasn't cheated-the rain came down persistently throughout the whole day and spoiled both enjoyment and the hope of new records. Even in these appalling conditions, we did have two new records - in the 100 yards, Under thirteen and in the Senior Triple Jump. In Athletics we are proud to record that the school Captain - James Madden - was chosen to represent Middlesex in the High Jump and Long Jump at the All England Schoolboys' Championship at Blackburn. The School's Under fifteen team won the Harrow Schools Cross-Country; the Under nineteens were finalists in the County Basketball Championship; in Football we reached three finals in the Local Schools Championships, but won only the under fifteen section. This was a unique achievement for this team as it meant that to date they have won every final in their age range. In a new venture - Road Walking - the school A Team finished second in the table and the School B Team finished third. The annual Swimming Gala, held this year at Highgrove Baths in Ruislip, was a great success and was attended by many of the parents. The House of Becket won the Christina Marcantonio cup in a very close finish over Gabriel.

In Cricket we had a varied, full and on the whole enjoyable season. The under fifteen's were the most successful and talented team of the year and the most outstanding performer was David Dury. David was also selected as wicket-keeper for the Middlesex Grammar Schools XI and for this consistent all-round excellence was awarded a Middlesex Cap. Table Tennis had again a very successful season; in the under fifteen competition, a competition open to forty-two teams, we won the title for the second year running. In Division 1 of the Harrow and Wembley League we had an unbeaten record at the top of the table; in the 2nd Division we came second; in the Junior Competition, our teams came first and second. Similar success can be recorded of the Chess Club; the Junior Team won the Harrow and District School League, without a single defeat throughout the whole year; the Senior Team came fourth in their section. In both of the School v Parents matches organised by the Friends Association, "the little 'uns beat the big 'uns". One outstanding performance must he mentioned - A. Shaw of Form V, entered for the simultaneous Chess display at Harrow Chess Club in which the British Champion played 21 games. Shaw was successful in beating the British Champion!

The Friends of the College have received just publicity recently in the local and Catholic press for the presentation of a minibus to the school. This was only the crown to a number of lesser but no less note worthy gifts made to the school since its inception. We are very conscious of the efforts of all concerned, especially the donors and the Committee who are tireless in their efforts to assist the school and the boys.

As the burden of my report was an act of gratitude to the Staff, from the Deputy down to the most recent member, I hope that they will accept it as such. I am grateful also to the school Secretary and his Assistant, to the Caretaker, his Assistants and the Cleaners; the School Meals Supervisor and her Staff; the Director of Education, his staff and the members of the Education Committee; to the Chairman and the Board of Governors; to Mr. Ellis who, without hesitation, came to address us tonight and to whom I must apologise for the long delay in making his entrance and to His Lordship, Bishop Casey for gracing our school with his presence here tonight.

Father Dominic Crilly. Headmaster.


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