These days it really is the end of January before we get a final set of decisions on Oxbridge offers (it used to be promptly in the New Year). Of course increasing numbers of top students (and some of those with Oxford or Cambridge offers) are opting to go abroad, typically to superb USA institutions, so Oxbridge may be less of a ‘thing’ than it used to be. But it’s still a pinnacle climbed, thanks to ability, hard work and (as they would admit I’m sure) good fortune too. Bad luck and the ever-greater competitiveness of the process is almost always the only reason for not getting an offer for many other superb Whitgiftians, but this is my chance to congratulate for Cambridge offers Reuben Karas, Cameron Kerr, Bakari Leon, Mekhi Makanjuola, Femi Owolade-Coombes, Joshua Park and Gilbert Wright, and for Oxford offers Ekow Coleman, Angus Heasman Tree, Sam Line, Dougie McWilliam, Ben Naylor, Lucian Ng and Alex Svilar-Baynham. Seven all, and at fourteen strong, a terrific cohort: well done.
That these students also include at least one international sportsman and several other fine games players, a couple of notable musicians and some young entrepreneurs, just to mention a few of their ‘other lives’ is also telling. Saturday was one of those great mornings when fencing, football, rugby and hockey were all in full swing, hundreds of boys (I’m guessing) enjoying representing the School, and a chance for me to watch a 1st XI football victory (and a tough game for the U13s), as well as plenty of the rest. And part of an outing for the 5th XI footballers too.
Now that 11+ interviews are over, I can reveal that one question I often ask, as candidates reel off their list of interests, is which one would they choose if they could only do one. The most frequent response is to pick something you do with others, and it’s true that (as I often say at Open Days) the main goal (ha ha) is social: activities make us do stuff with others, learn about relationships and our own strengths and weaknesses. It’s a view of school sport which is now pretty uniformly accepted, and quite right too.