“Brilliant Elizabethans”: Headmaster bids farewell to 2019–2020

“Brilliant Elizabethans”: Headmaster bids farewell to 2019–2020

In his end-of-year message, part of the virtual House Assembly, Headmaster Neil Enright announced the winners of the Eric Shearly House Cup and commended both staff and boys for their achievements during this period of “great stress”.

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Addressing the boys through a video, he said: “Despite the difficulties of living, learning, and socialising from the isolation of our homes, you have stuck together and remained engaged with your House, your School and your wider community. Your ambition, wit, diligence, and principles have not been suppressed.

“Although I am sad that we could not gather together in the Shearly Hall for the presentation, I take great comfort from the fact that the adventurous spirit and scholarship that fired those who received the charter for our foundation from Queen Elizabeth I 447 years ago find full expression in the School in the summer of 2020. I would like to take this opportunity, on your behalf, to thank the staff. They have worked tirelessly for your benefit to keep things as normal as possible. But most of all, I want to thank you for being brilliant Elizabethans.

He announced the results of the annual House Cup competition in reverse order:

6th – with 258 points – Harrisons’

5th – with 262 points – Leicester

4th – with 269 points –  Underne

3rd – with 273 points –  Broughton

2nd  – with 282 points – Pearce

1st – with 294 points – Stapylton

Points for the House Cup are amassed during the year from a wide variety of competitions, sports successes and special events, as well as from good notes and merits awarded to the boys by the teachers.

Mr Enright observed that Stapylton has now been the winning house in four of the last six years – 2020, 2018, 2016 and 2015. “Stapylton House is, of course, currently blessed with strong leadership and I offer my heartiest congratulations, and virtual handshake, to Jack Runchman, the House Captain, and Hari Gajendran, the Deputy House Captain, for their great work over the last couple of terms.

The House is named after Henry Edward Stapylton, the School’s Chairman of Governors from 1873 to 1885. “Mr Stapylton was a bold leader who, having purchased Stapylton field for the benefit of the School in 1886, ultimately paved the way for the School to relocate to our spacious Queen’s Road campus in 1932. This move was incredibly significant in our history. The expansion in pupil numbers, so that we are now more than three times the size we were in the 1930s, and much of what we take for granted as the everyday QE experience, simply wouldn’t be possible without the great accommodation we enjoy today.”

Reflecting on the year in the context of the long history of the School, Mr Enright said: “We are really fortunate to be the current stewards of this brilliant, historic organisation during its period of greatest strength. This school has survived plague, Civil War, and much more besides, during many years in High Barnet, and so it doesn’t surprise me that you, your parents, your teachers and support staff have risen so wonderfully to the challenges of 2020. I have been here for 18 years now, 50 per cent of that time as Headmaster, and never before have I been prouder of our School than I am in this period of lockdown.”

He concluded his message to the boys by looking forward: “Now is the time for a rest so that we are all prepared for a full return to life in Queen’s Road from September. The staff at the School are working very hard to plan for this, and work will continue during the holidays to ensure everyone’s safety first and foremost, but please be assured our goal is to return to as normal a routine as is possible.

“I will be writing to you at the end of the summer holidays with the details of our plans. Inevitably, some things will feel a little bit different in our new normal, but I know that everyone’s grit, determination and resilience will ensure that we will all take the next steps in our stride.

“In the meantime, have a great summer holidays everyone and I look forward to seeing you very soon.”