Viewing archives for 450th anniversary

Farewell to a fantastic 450th anniversary year!

Boys from Years 7 & 8 lined up in front of the School to bid a colourful goodbye to Queen Elizabeth’s School’s 450th anniversary year.

With sixth-formers helping to ensure all looked good, and with a drone filming overhead, the junior boys filed on to Stapylton Field in front of Main Building to spell out #QE450. Click here to see the drone footage showing how it was done!

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It has been a tremendous year, so we wanted to find a way to mark its conclusion which was both fun and which created an impressive spectacle involving a large number of boys. My thanks go to our Head of Technology, Michael Noonan, and his Year 12 Technology class for lining up the participants so accurately.

“More generally, I would like to thank the countless people – boys, staff, alumni, parents, Governors and other friends of the School – who have contributed in so many ways to making our anniversary year such a resounding success. We look back with gratitude on a fantastic 2023, and look forward with great anticipation to all that 2024 will bring.”

The Year 7 & 8 boys wore sports strip in their House colours for the shoot:

  • Broughton in red for the hash tag (#)
  • Harrisons’ in brown for Q
  • Leicester in yellow for E
  • Pearce in purple for 4
  • Stapylton in blue for 5
  • Underne in green for 0.

The anniversary celebrations were heralded close to the end of the 2022 Autumn Term with a royal visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester.

Major events during the year itself began with the launch of a new authoritative history of the School, Queen Elizabeth’s School: 1573–2023, written by former Headmaster Dr John Marincowitz (1999–2011).

On 24th March, 450 years to the day since Queen Elizabeth I signed the Royal Charter to establish QE, the whole School gathered for a thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey.

Founder’s Day on the third Saturday in June was heavily anniversary-themed, with events including the planting of a time capsule intended for exhumation on the School’s 500th anniversary in 2073.

The Old Elizabethans Annual Reunion Dinner this year had a special emphasis on the anniversary, including the opportunity for alumni to see items from the QE Collections archive.

The Chamber Choir were recorded performing And Be it Known, the anniversary anthem commissioned by the School from international composer Howard Goodall for the service in Westminster Abbey, where it was premiered. The recording was used as the soundtrack for a special anniversary video.

The traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Chipping Barnet parish church, which included the first-ever congregational rendering of And Be It Known.

And those are just some of the highlights: throughout the year, the anniversary was celebrated through a series of special events and activities, including: the 56th Annual Elizabethan Union Dinner Debate; competitions; festivals in areas as diverse as the Sciences, Economics & rugby; and the planting of trees in Heartwood Forest, as well as hundreds of bulbs around the QE site.

Thriving from ancient roots, planting for the future

Boys at QE planted hundreds of trees and flower bulbs, ensuring that the School’s 450th anniversary year would leave a living environmental legacy.

Forty-seven boys from Year 10 headed to Heartwood Forest with the aim of planting one sapling for every year of the School’s history, while back at the Queen’s Road campus, Year 7 pupils helped plant bulbs. The bulbs were selected so that the flowers will bloom each year around 24th March, the day of the signing of the Royal Charter in 1573.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Our anniversary year has been about celebrating the present and looking to the future, as well as remembering our rich history: so, what better way to mark the end of the year than by doing some planting – an activity bringing environmental benefits to both current and future generations!”

Trees have been a theme throughout the anniversary year. HRH The Duke of Gloucester heralded the start of the anniversary celebrations by planting an oak tree when he visited the School near the end of 2022. In his anthem commissioned for the thanksgiving service on 24th March 2023 in Westminster Abbey, international composer Howard Goodall wrote that “like an oak [QE] draws its strength from ancient roots spread deep and wide”. And “thriving from ancient roots” was chosen as the slogan for the year.

The area planted in Heartwood Forest, near St Albans, has been donated to the Woodland Trust relatively recently. The trust aims to reverse deforestation there, creating corridors for wildlife. The 47 boys, accompanied by staff including Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement) Crispin Bonham-Carter and Head of English Robert Hyland, spent several hours working in the mud to plant several species of young trees under the guidance of trust volunteers. During their labours, the boys saw wildlife including deer and red kites. The Headmaster also stopped by to lend a hand with the planting.

The eager planters easily exceeded their target of 450, Mr Bonham-Carter explained. “We lost count in the end, but we estimate that our 47 boys planted upwards of 700. Many thanks to The Woodland Trust for looking after us and helping us mark the end of our 450th anniversary in such a long-lasting and life-affirming way.”

The opportunity arose after last year’s Year 10 visited Heartwood Forest on the QE Flourish days in July – special activities run as part of the School’s Flourish extra-curricular programme – and took part in various conservation activities.

Mr Hyland added that the Year 10 pupils had recently been reading extracts from authors such as Henry David Thoreau, William Hazlitt and Edward O. Wilson on environmental themes. “When it comes to raising awareness of ecology and sustainability, it is so much more powerful, however, to experience a connection to the world around us at first-hand.”

The bulb-planting by Year 7 around the School campus was also a muddy experience. The new plants will provide visual interest, as well as supporting the ecology and biodiversity of the School site, building on existing efforts to re-wild selected areas.

Sing in exultation: carol service a joyous end to 450th anniversary year

Queen Elizabeth’s School drew its 450th anniversary celebrations to a rousing, festive conclusion with its Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Chipping Barnet parish church.

St John the Baptist Church was packed, with extra chairs having to be brought in to accommodate the unprecedented demand from the congregation made up of Year 7 boys and their parents, current and former staff, Governors and friends of the School.

While the service’s format was traditional, there were some innovative touches from the start, with, for example, an introit, The Little Drummer Boy, that was arranged by three sixth-formers, Isher Jagdev, Arjun Patel and Tharun Dhamodharan. The melody was played first by trumpets at the back of the church, but then by Isher, on the tabla, before the Chamber Choir came in with the vocals.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “With a bit of squeezing, we just about managed to fit everyone in – and I am pleased to say that all were treated to a marvellous service.

“The traditional Bible readings were impressively delivered by pupils of all ages and by senior staff. We also enjoyed the more modern musical pieces and arrangements, as well as the classic carols sung by the congregation.”

After the organ voluntaries – played by Year 8’s Zach Fernandes, Noah Morley, of Year 10, and Joel Swedensky, of Year 12 – the service began in darkness as the introit was sung. The traditional solo descant for the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City gave way to the Barbershop group singing verses two and three; it was only on verse four that the congregation joined in and the church returned to light, creating a dramatic opening to the service.

The other congregational carols were: O come, all ye faithful; God rest you merry, gentlemen; While shepherds watched their flocks by night; Hark! The herald angels sing. The Chamber Choir and Barbershop pieces were by composers from John Rutter to Peter Cornelius.

“All the music was strong, but the upper voices of the Chamber Choir singing New Boy Born, with flutes and piano, and the whole Chamber Choir’s powerful and percussive Nova Nova really stood out, the Headmaster added.

The service culminated in the first-ever congregational signing of And Be It Known – the new School anthem commissioned from international composer Howard Goodall for the School’s thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey on the day of the 450th anniversary, 24th March 2023. The Year 7 boys had been taught the anniversary anthem in advance of the carol service.

“The boys joined in with gusto and were in great voice, helping to make the congregational singing of the anthem a success.

“Overall, the service was innovative and really quite a spectacle, in the best sense – an entirely fitting end to a wonderful anniversary year.”

The service was attended by: Martin Russell, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Barnet, and the Deputy Mayor of the Borough Cllr Tony Vourou, accompanied by the Deputy Mayoress, Mrs Caroline Vourou.

The service was preceded by a reception for the Headmaster’s guests at Tudor Hall – the home of the School from soon after its founding in 1573 to 1932, when it moved to its present location.

Out now! QE’s special anniversary video, offering a “great memento of a fabulous year”

With just a few days left until the end of Queen Elizabeth’s School’s 450th anniversary year, a special film published today provides an exciting whistlestop tour of the highlights of 2023.

Professionally produced, the film is set to the soundtrack of QE’s Chamber Choir singing And Be It Known – the anniversary anthem commissioned by the School from international composer Howard Goodall, which was recorded in a special session last month.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “I invite everyone to take a look at this video, which captures in just a few short minutes so much of what has made our anniversary celebrations so memorable, starting with the visit of HRH The Duke of Gloucester this time last year and including major events involving the whole School, such as our Westminster Abbey thanksgiving service in March and Founder’s Day in June.

“It’s a great watch, and with a super musical soundtrack: as we wrap up the celebrations and start to think about our exciting plans for 2024, I hope everyone will take a few moments to enjoy this memento and reflect on our fabulous year.”

The Chamber Choir was conducted by Director of Music Ruth Partington, with Music teachers Rebecca German and Jas Hutchinson-Bazely also closely involved in the recording session in The Friends’ Recital Hall. Miss German sang and Mr Hutchinson-Bazely played the School’s new electric organ.

Sound-recording was managed and produced by Year 13’s Indrajit Datta, with fellow pupil Abhinav Sandeep, of Year 10, operating the venue’s in-built camera to record the wide angles, alongside fellow Year 10 pupil Benjamin Newton. Indrajit, who is hoping to forge a career in this industry, used ten microphones, strategically placed, to record the different instruments and choir sections, including a feed directly from the organ.

The filming of the session was conducted by professional cameraman Andrew Litt, with video production by Dashing Duck. Stills photography is courtesy of Eleanor Bentall and Westminster Abbey.

The anthem was premiered at Westminster Abbey on 24th March, 450 years to the day since Queen Elizabeth I granted the charter for the establishment of the School. It was performed again on Founder’s Day, and the congregation will sing it at the end of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Chipping Barnet Parish Church on Wednesday this week, with all boys in Year 7 learning it in advance so they can contribute.

The video covers many of the more formal events of the year, but there have been numerous other anniversary-related events, from subject festivals, tree and bulb plantings, lecture assemblies, competitions, and even the unique experience of QE hosting a TV film crew for a food programme popular in Korea!

Anthem recording session performers

Miss Ruth Partington, Director of Music

Chamber Choir
Year 7
Krish Bhatia

Year 8
Aarush Marti
Akein Athukoralage
Eshaan Anil
Sree Harsha Gullapali
Anirudh Premkumar
Aadi Chauhan
Mithun Madhu
Galinghan Balamurugan

Year 9
Adithya Ananthakrishnan
Parth Jain
Jamie Lam
Aayush Shukla
Akshay Shah
Kiran Wright
Joseph Donovan
Krishiv Karelia
Aatheethya Jeyanth
Arjun Anand
Nikhil Francine
Gyan Nadhavajhala
Krishna Gajendra
Kelvin Chen

Year 10
Keeyan Shah
Rishi Watsalya
Siddhant Pochalwar
Nafis Meah
Noah Morley

Year 11
Colin Copcea
Saahil Shah
Ram Chockalingam
William Joanes
Johnny Yassa
Simi Bloom
Adam Liang
Keon Robert

Year 12
Akshat Bajaj
Harrison Lee
Joel Swedensky
Nikhil Mark
Jason Tao

Year 13
Tharun Dhamodhran
Arjun Patel
Sena Lai-Fujiwara

Old Elizabethans
Mr George Raynor (2014–2021)
Mr Bhunit Santhiramoulesan (2016–2023)

Miss Rebecca German, Music teacher

Mr Peter Yarde Martin (OE 2002–2007)
Joel Swedensky, Year 12

Mr Eddie Morgan, QE peripatetic Music teacher

Mr William Barnes McCallum
Mr Tom Scaife

Mr Stuart Beard

Mr Neil Rowland, QE peripatetic Music teacher

Mr Jas Hutchinson-Bazely, QE Music teacher


Discovering the Dudleys: academic sheds light on family with huge significance for QE – and for the nation, too

In one of the final special activities for QE’s 450th anniversary year, historian Joanne Paul delivered a talk on the family of Robert Dudley – a figure of enormous importance in the School’s founding, second only to Queen Elizabeth I herself.

Dr Paul, author of the acclaimed 2022 book, The House of Dudley, delivered a lecture assembly to Years 8 & 9, before conducting a source-based workshop to A-level historians.

It was at the request of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, that Elizabeth I granted the royal charter founding the School in 1573. But, Dr Paul argued, the significance of the Dudley family extended well beyond the life and achievements of its most famous son: it was the Dudleys who shaped, defined and even made the Tudor dynasty.

An Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex who now works freelance on various projects, she specialises in the Early Modern Period, including both the Tudors and the Stuarts.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are tremendously grateful to Dr Paul for giving us her time and providing these insights into the family as we wrap up our anniversary year. It seems clear that without the Dudleys, not only would Queen Elizabeth’s School not exist, but neither would the Tudors – or not as we know them, in any case.”

In a lecture in the Main School Hall, which featured a presentation lavishly illustrated with portraits from the period, the younger boys looked at the rise, fall, rise, fall and rise again of the House of Dudley. Dr Paul identified five respects in which she considered the family particularly important:

  • Edmund Dudley’s fundraising for Henry VII: enabled by his intimate legal knowledge of the King’s prerogative, and ruthless exploitation of these often-archaic points of law, this allowed for the grandeur of King Henry VIII’s reign, even if it made Edmund so unpopular that he was imprisoned and eventually executed.
  • John Dudley’s success in building up the Royal Navy, as Admiral of the Fleet. He prepared it for the successes it was to enjoy in the second half of the 16th century. He added to the fleet and to the armoury, while developing Portsmouth as a great port. His military experience and leadership were important at the 1545 Battle of the Solent against the French, which, Dr Paul said, was a greater threat to England than the later Spanish Armada. John Dudley was nearly on the Mary Rose, which famously sank, but had moved across to the larger Great Harry with the king, Henry VIII.
  • Their involvement in the nine-day reign of Lady Jane Grey. At the point of Edward VI death’s, she was actually Lady Jane Dudley, having married Guildford Dudley (son of John Dudley and brother of Robert). John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, is considered to have engineered her accession. Jane, Guildford and John were all executed under Mary I.
  • Robert Dudley’s role as royal suitor. It was widely reported among Europe’s ambassadors that the queen visited Robert’s bedchamber day and night. The death of Robert’s wife, Amy Robsart, in suspicious circumstances (a broken neck at the bottoms of the stairs – ruled an accident by the jury, but with suicide, and even murder, widely gossiped about) made it too scandalous for any marriage to go ahead. Robert would have known that such a reaction was likely – a good reason for doubting that he was responsible for the death, Dr Paul said. Robert Dudley was perhaps the one suitor Elizabeth seriously considered, and these events led to her remaining The Virgin Queen. Dr Paul said it was at Robert’s suggestion that Elizabeth made the famous Tilbury Docks speech in 1588 (“I know I have the body but of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too…”)
  • Robert’s patronage of the arts. This helped culture to flourish. He commissioned some 20 portraits of himself in 30 years – “more than any prince in Europe, or the queen herself” – seven of which depicted him in a pair with the queen, showing his proximity. He also supported a troupe of actors, Leicester’s Men, which had direct connections to Shakespeare.

The boys asked many questions. One wondered why so many grammar schools like QE were established under Elizabeth. Because, Dr Paul said, men such as Robert Dudley and William Cecil, her chief adviser, had received a humanist education and sought to spread that widely. Another asked why Henry VIII had had Edmund killed, given that he had brought  so much money into royal coffers. She concluded that Henry probably had no personal animus against him, but that Edmund’s unpopularity made his death a good political move.

Dr Paul also spoke of her two favourite things about the Dudleys. Firstly, she relished the fact that a non-royal family could have so much power and influence, and liked the dramatic story of their ups and downs. Secondly, she appreciated that it was the women of the family who were so often at the heart of rescuing and restoring the family name when it had fallen.

With the A-level course including the Stuart period, the Sixth Form workshop focused on changing ideas of counsel under the Stuarts.

The boys looked at the XIX Propositions – the 19 demands made of Charles I by the Long Parliament in 1642 – and at the chapter on counsel in Hobbes’s Leviathan, and then came together to discuss.

A signed copy of Dr Paul’s book is now available for boys to borrow from The Queen’s Library.


Record numbers turn out for 450th anniversary Old Elizabethans Annual Reunion Dinner

Guests at this year’s QE alumni dinner enjoyed a new, more relaxed approach to the occasion, while also making the most of a few additional activities during the evening.

Always a highlight of the Autumn Term, the dinner gained additional importance this year since it came in the School’s 450th anniversary year. One hundred and fifteen diners – a record attendance in recent years – gathered at Queen’s Road.

They were overlooked – but hopefully not put off their sumptuous fare! – by portraits of the two key figures in the School’s 1573 founding, Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in the Dining Hall.

The guests ranged widely in age, from those who were pupils in the 1950s to a group of 31 who all left the School in 2020 during the first year of the Covid pandemic.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “The OE dinner is a great reminder and celebration of the strength of our Elizabethan community.

“While our guests certainly seemed to appreciate the extra attractions we laid on for them to enjoy in our anniversary year, the dinner is mainly about people spending time with friends, making new connections and remembering their time at QE. And in this, it was a great success, with a lovely atmosphere, excellent food and some really positive feedback afterwards.”

The evening began with the QE Saxophone Ensemble playing in the Main School Hall while guests enjoyed welcome drinks. Their tunes included Irving Berlin’s 1929 song, Puttin’ on the Ritz, its title a reference to a slang expression of the time meaning to dress conspicuously and fashionably. With the black-tie dress code of previous years relaxed for this year’s new-style dinner, there was plenty of opportunity for guests to do just that: colourful ties were there in abundance (although, in fact, even ties were not compulsory).

Guests had the opportunity before and after dinner to look through materials from the School’s archives. There were also tours of the Mayes and Main buildings, with current Sixth Form students Danylo Gutsulyak, Maxwell Johnson and Sena Lai-Fujiwara all playing the piano in the Friends’ Recital Hall, entertaining the visitors and amply demonstrating the acoustics in this major new facility opened in May 2022.

Personal messages written by the Headmaster on specially produced postcards were provided for each guest.

In his words of welcome, Mr Enright recapped on the anniversary year, including the launch on 1st March of former Headmaster John Marincowitz’s “excellent” new history of the School, Queen Elizabeth’s School: 1573–2023. “It is never too early for some QE-themed Christmas shopping!” he said.

While some of the formalities involved in previous years’ dinners were dispensed with, the evening still featured the presentation of the Eric Shearly Memorial Prize awarded to 2023 School Captain Darren Lee by Martyn Bradish, Chairman of the Old Elizabethans Association.

Also retained were the traditional toasts. Eric Houston – President of the association, Master 1976–2010, and Second Master 1999–2010 – duly toasted: His Majesty The King; The pious memory of Queen Elizabeth I, our founder; Friends, present and absent; and The School.

The dinner included confit lamb shoulder croquettes and roasted chicken breast (with cauliflower bhaji and autumnal vegetable pithivier as vegetarian options), followed by dark chocolate torte and then tea or coffee, served with homemade petit fours.

  • Click on the thumbnails below to view a selection of photos. (QE alumni can see all the images from the evening on QE Connect.)
How did we get here? The Arabella magazine explores 450th anniversary theme

QE’s pupil-run arts magazine, The Arabella, looks both to the past and the future in a special edition for the School’s 450th anniversary year.

The 44-page publication features 26 pieces of poetry, prose, and art, many of them inspired by its anniversary-related theme, How did we get here? The approach, looking both backward and forward, mirrors that of the School’s anniversary celebrations on Founder’s Day which included a display of the School’s 1573 Royal Charter alongside the burying of a time capsule intended for the pupils of 2073, when QE will mark its 500th anniversary. Work on the magazine began last academic year, but it has only now been published.

Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement) Crispin Bonham-Carter said: “The ninth edition of The Arabella has been worth the wait: with its expanded contents and an eclectic mix of topics and styles, it is a great demonstration of the fruits of free-thinking scholarship and academic curiosity.”

The magazine includes contributions from boys throughout the School, although boys from the current Years 8 and 9 feature especially heavily.

In his introduction, one of the editors, Chanakya Seetharam, of Year 12, addresses his fellow QE pupils: “Just as the [450th anniversary thanksgiving] service at Westminster Abbey in the Spring Term so well captured, this is as much cause to look back with an inquisitive eye into the past as to look forward to the future. It is this spirit of investigation that is the kernel of this edition, and which was so well taken up by you….

“You are what keeps The Arabella alive. This is a magazine by you and for you. We hope you will find all of the work here thoroughly insightful, interesting, and enjoyable, and here’s to a great next edition!”

The poetry section is highly varied, with contributions ranging from Year 9 boy Yingqiao Zhao’s piece about the moon – which is in the shape of a crescent and has key words picked out in different colours – to the nine-stanza rhyming French poem, La Mort de L’Ancien, composed by Year 13’s Aayush Backory. The poetry section closes with Nikhil Francine, of Year 9, addressing the anniversary directly with a poem entitled Thriving from Ancient Roots – the School’s slogan for the anniversary year.

The creative writing pages included Year 9 pupil Raaghav Dhanasekaran predicting a dystopian future amid huge hurricanes caused by climate change.

The music writing section on the other hand looks mostly to the past, from Nikhil Francine’s essay on A brief history of song to Moneshan Rathaparan and Eshwara Masina, both of Year 8, jointly exploring The Enduring Influence of Classical and Baroque Music on Contemporary Culture.

Year 12 student Akheel Kale, from the editorial team, praises the quality of Year 13 pupil Ashish Yeruva’s essay on Justice for Ukraine: How to Put Russian Leaders on Trial Using International Law. Ashish’s contribution had inspired the team to open a current affairs section in the magazine and to invite further such submissions in the future, Akheel says.

Similarly, the magazine has a new section on Science, featuring Year 10 boy Zain Syed’s submission of an extensive flow chart setting out A Natural History of the Earth.

Interspersed throughout The Arabella are artworks exploring themes including Expressive Heads, Distortion and Identity; Dystopian Landscape; and Art Inspired by Music. Shown in this news story, from top to bottom, are:

  • Expressive Heads, Distortion and Identity, by Sushan Naresh, Year 10 (main image)
  • Dystopian Landscape, by Krishav Sundar Rajan, Year 9
  • Art Inspired by Music, by Galinghan Balamurugan, Year 8
  • Expressive Heads, Distortion and Identity, by Ayush Saha, Year 10

The magazine is named after Arabella Stuart, a descendant of Henry VII and sixth in line to the throne, who fell foul of King James I when in 1610 she secretly married another potential heir to the throne, William Seymore. Her husband was sent to the Tower of London, while Arabella was committed to the care of the Bishop of Durham, but fell ill in Barnet en route. She stayed for some months at the home of QE Governor Thomas Conyers, her spiritual needs attended to by another Governor, Rev Matthias Milward, who was subsequently appointed Master (Headmaster) of the School.

  • For anyone with access to the School’s eQE portal, The Arabella is available to read here.
Making history: A-level winners excel in Queen Elizabeth School’s 450th anniversary year

As A-level grading returns to pre-pandemic standards this year, QE is celebrating “brilliant” results that cement the School’s place in the very top echelons of the country’s academic schools – a proud pinnacle in its 450-year history.

At the highest possible grade, the School improved significantly on its 2019 figures, with 58.2% of A-levels being awarded A* – easily beating the pre-pandemic record of 46.9% set in 2018. It was a similar record-breaking performance for combined A–A*: 89.1% of A-levels had these grades, well above the equivalent figure in the pre-Covid years.

And at the benchmark A*–B, QE continues to shine, achieving 96.9% in 2023, the 18th consecutive year in which QE has exceeded 95%.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are very pleased indeed with this brilliant performance. Like the record-breaking 47 Oxbridge offers made to QE boys in the spring, these A-level results demonstrate that, in our 450th anniversary year, the School is thriving and continues to go from strength to strength.

“We recognise that this Year 13 cohort has not always had an easy journey: they were unable to sit their GCSEs because of Covid, so, like their peers across the country, this was the first time they had faced high-stakes testing.

“Ofqual, the examinations regulator, told examination boards to aim for the proportion of top grades to be in line with the levels recorded in 2019, so for our boys to have comfortably exceeded that level is really quite an achievement – one which demonstrates that the highest standards were maintained at QE throughout the pandemic. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.

“The pandemic has in fact helped us accelerate the technological development of the School; we have taken great strides in our digital strategy, whilst continuing to invest in our campus, its facilities and the further opportunities that this generates for our boys.”

Among many successes across the subjects this year, French stands out for its 100% performance – all five candidates achieved A*.

In purely numerical terms, Mathematics had the most A* grades, with 106, followed by Chemistry (44) and Further Maths (43).

“While examination performance certainly matters, what goes on beyond the classroom here, including all the many opportunities available through our QE Flourish enrichment programme, is of equal performance,” added Mr Enright.

“This cohort at QE have taken full advantage, making an impact on a national and international stage, not least in providing members of the team that won the VEX Robotics World Championships in 2018. We have many stars – one of their number, Rahul Doshi, won Channel 4’s Child Genius programme some years ago, for example – but he and his peers wear their intelligence, talent and ambitious aspirations lightly.

“They should be proud of the wider contribution they have made. Known for their kindness and empathy, they have supported each other as friends, and those lower in the School as peer mentors. They have also helped to establish and develop connections with the local Barnet community, such as our QE Together partnership with Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School.”

“We hope that these students take away from QE not only great results, but a broad range of experiences that will have shaped them into well-rounded young men of good character, ready to step into the world and make a positive difference to the lives of others, living up to, and perhaps even exceeding, the example set by many illustrious Elizabethans over the past 450 years.

“Congratulations to the boys and their families on their fantastic achievements.”

Figures in this article were updated following the outcome of re-marks in early October 2023.

Winners one and all: prize-winners collect their awards besides Saracens’ giant trophy

Almost 120 prizes were awarded to boys in the first three years of the School at Junior Awards.

Former QE First XI cricket captain and First XV rugby player Sunil Tailor (OE 1996–2006) was the guest of honour, telling the boys that he had now united his love for sport with his career in accountancy: he is the Head of Commercial Finance at reigning Premiership champions Saracens.

He even brought along the huge Premiership trophy to show the audience in the Main School Hall, where VIPs took their places, together with prize-winners, their families and staff for the afternoon ceremony.

Headmaster Neil Enright said afterwards: “Junior Awards is always one of the highlights of the end of our School year – an opportunity publicly to recognise the achievement of those who have stood out even in such a high-achieving context as Queen Elizabeth’s School.

“Gaining an award here is thus a considerable honour, and doubly so this year because the prize-winners achieved their success in our 450th anniversary year.”

The afternoon saw musical interludes played by the three year groups’ Music prize-winners. Year 7’s Eshaan Anil performed Fauré’s Elegie Op. 24 on the cello; violinist Joseph Donovan, of Year 8, played Nikki Iles’ Hay Barn Blues, and Year 9’s Shreyas Iyengar performed Beethoven’s Sonata No.8 in C minor Op.13 Pathétique Movement I Grave, Allegro di molto e con brio.

In addition to prizes for curriculum subjects, there are House awards, prizes for overall commitment and awards for extra-curricular.

In additional to congratulating the prize-winners and their families, Sunil spoke about topics including values in sport and organisational culture.

Sunil read Economics at UCL, graduating in 2009, and was a cricket coach at Middlesex from 2007–2011. He worked for more than ten years for accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson before joining Saracens in November 2022.

He chairs the newly formed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group at Saracens and last year, following the racism scandal in English cricket, he was consulted about his own experiences by Middlesex CCC.

After Sunil’s address, the winner of the Year 7 award for debating & public speaking, Afraz Khan, gave a vote of thanks.

Following the ceremony, guests and staff enjoyed refreshments on Stapylton Field.


Saving the founder: QE 450th anniversary competition winners enjoy rare chance to see National Archives treasure

Twenty-three boys whose work was chosen as the best in the QE 450th anniversary research project were treated to a rare look at one of the nation’s most treasured documents on a trip to the National Archives.

Among the artefacts viewed by the group during their visit to Kew was the actual letter – known as the ‘Tide Letter’ – written by the future Queen Elizabeth I, founder of Queen Elizabeth’s School, as she battled for survival following her arrest in 1554.

Jenni Blackford, Curator of QE Collections and Head of Library Services, said: “It was amazing to see such fabulous documents close up and it was a testament to our students’ conduct, interest and behaviour that they brought the Tide Letter out to show them at the end of the session.”

The visit was a reward for the boys who submitted the best entries to Project 1573. This involved small groups of boys being given three primary sources relating to a particular aspect of QE’s history and then asked to produce a three-minute presentation after accessing QE Collections – the School’s online archive – and other archival materials.

The winners were:

  • Navieeneish Kirubaharan, Param Kapadia, Aarnav Mahajan and Advay Zore, all from Year 8 Pearce form, who researched Timothy Edwards, Headmaster 1961–1983
  • Kelvin Chen, Ethan Yao, Jonas Dawit and Rishi Sen, also of Year 8 Pearce, researching E W Harrison, a long-serving teacher who retired in 1950 and is one of the two unrelated people after whom the Harrisons’ House is named
  • Shravanth Sadheesh, Pranav Nayak, Arya Ratnakaram and Sriram Muthukumaran, from Year 8, Stapylton, who looked into QE’s 350th anniversary celebrations in 1923
  • Snehal Das, Samir Cheema and Ozgan Cakir, of Year 9, Stapylton, who researched QE becoming a grant-maintained school in 1989, giving it new freedoms to govern its own affairs
  • Keeyan Shah, Alex Stack, Shlok Gajjar and Pranith Turaga, also of Year 9, Stapylton, looked into the foundation of the School
  • Aahan Shah, Abhinav Sandeep, Jack Tan and Tunishq Mitra, of the Year 9 Broughton form, who investigated the history of Eton Fives at the School.

They saw the Tide Letter, which was written by Elizabeth to her half-sister, Queen Mary I, when the princess was arrested following Wyatt’s Rebellion, an attempt to overthrow the queen, in 1554. Mary gave orders for Elizabeth to be taken to the Tower of London.

“The students were able to see the neat handwriting at the start of the letter become larger and messier as she was likely made to hurry by those waiting to escort her to the Tower. Fearing her enemies might alter the letter, Elizabeth struck lines through the blank space above her signature,” said Mrs Blackford.

“It is called the Tide Letter because it is believed Elizabeth deliberately wrote the letter to buy time so that the daylight low tide that enabled boats to pass safely through the narrow arches of London Bridge would have turned and she would avoid being taken to the Tower for an additional day.”

Eloquently protesting her innocence, the future queen finishes the letter: “Your hignes most faithful subject that hathe bine from the beginninge, and wylbe to my ende. Elizabeth.”

Her stratagem was successful: she was not taken to the Tower until the following day. Elizabeth was eventually released and then succeeded to the throne on Mary’s death four years later, in 1558.

The Year 8 and Year 9 boys saw a variety of later documents from Elizabeth’s reign, including letters, speeches, Plea Rolls (parchment court records) and the queen’s second Great Seal.

QE’s founding Royal Charter of 1573 was authorised with Queen Elizabeth’s first seal. This, however, wore out during her long reign, and, Ms Blackford said, the boys enjoyed finding out about its replacement: “It is noticeably more elaborate, as Elizabeth had started to closely monitor her image.”

The boys also learned about how the National Archives came into existence, hearing how in the 1830s, civil servant Henry Cole submitted to the Government a dead mummified rat with a stomach full of chewed documents among his evidence of the unsuitability of the premises where public records were then being stored.