A happy new year 2024 to all readers and indeed to all friends of Whitgift. I hope everyone enjoyed their break, and of course the Lent Term begins at full pelt for us here, with mock GCSEs and IB exams, as well as a full programme of activities and experiences.
I must thank Mr Miller and the excellent choir for the Carol Service (remembering that choristers also work hard up to and including Christmas Day!) and my colleagues for full training days both after the end of term in December and last week before the boys return. Also last week were the 11+ entrance exams, the 10+ and 13+ exams having happened before Christmas.
This served as a good reminder, if one was needed, about looking forward: here are our potential 2024 intake, and very enthusiastic, bright and capable they seemed. Interviewing, as we now will do throughout January, also brings a very rewarding sense of the attributes and values of these young men, who are our future.
I am reading (Christmas present from one of my children) The Travels of Ibn Battutah (in English, in case you are wondering): reckoned to be one of the first ever travelogues, it’s the description of some decades of travel in the early Middle Ages, taking us from modern-day Morocco, through Syria and modern day Iraq, India and China. It’s a reminder (as I track this extraordinary journey on today’s Google Earth) that the world in some ways hasn’t changed much. Humans still find kindness as well as conflict, wonder and joy as well as hardship, and all is best approached with an open mind. Not a bad lesson for 2024.