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Students achieve their Colours Blazers

Whitgift Conversations podcast from Headmaster, Mr Chris Ramsey  -
a summary of the end of the Michaelmas term and what we can expect in the coming year. The podcast also expands on the blog below covering his views on blazers in school and Rugby and Cricket colours.

 

 


At the start of 2022, it’s hard to avoid the cliché – already spoken by plenty including myself – that we are still in a difficult period, a time of challenge and uncertainty. It’s true.

But I reflected on something different at the end of term which I wanted to write about: blazers. Specifically, the traditional black-and-gold Colours Blazer which is awarded to a very few senior students because of their contribution to music or drama or sport or some other enriching part of school life. Partly because it’s a nice blazer, which we give to the recipients with the appropriate badge, and partly because it’s only for a few (rare awards are always prized), it is genuinely appreciated and sought-after. And this year we decided to award colours blazers slightly earlier, in December, because if we don’t do it until the summer, most of the recipients are about to leave and hardly get the chance to wear the blazer.

But the reason I wanted to reflect on colours blazers is because I know I have always instinctively shied away from such things. I don’t tend to wear club ties (not that I belong to many clubs), I only very rarely put on a gown. I know I temperamentally see such signs of difference, of privilege, as a side of independent schools which I think we have outgrown, and which were never that attractive anyway.

But I have changed my view as I have thought about what such symbols properly mean. What I want to say is this: if you wear a medal, or a gown, or a special blazer, as a way of marking yourself out as special, or as ‘better’, then, well, you’ve misunderstood. I think the armed forces instinctively understand what I think is the truth: the medal, the insignia, the blazer if you like, hold you to account. They say ‘I stand for – I’m prepared to put my neck on the line for - high standards in this area, and I am trying to live up to those standards’. And they also identify you in solidarity to others who are holding to those standards too.

The blazer – the medal – the club tie … in other words, they are NOT saying ‘I’m better than…’, they ARE saying ‘I’m trying to hold the highest standards in …’

So congratulations to those awarded Colours (identifiable now), but more appropriately good luck, support each other and thank you for stepping forward to set the best of examples, and by letting us all know that you are doing so.

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