Change and continuity at the Old Elizabethans’ Association Dinner

Change and continuity at the Old Elizabethans’ Association Dinner

Former pupils, senior staff and other guests gathered in the Main Hall to enjoy sharing memories of QE in the recent and not-so-recent past, while the Headmaster reflected on the five years that have passed since he first spoke at the annual dinner.

The guest speaker was Dominic Roberts (OE 1989–1994), who works as a GP in a socially disadvantaged area of London and is an influential clinical director with the NHS, as previously featured in Alumni News.

Headmaster Neil Enright introduced the doctor, who was a Form Captain and Prefect while at School: “In many ways, Dominic embodies the QE spirit of learning, having gained numerous medical qualifications after graduating, including diplomas in child health, obstetrics and gynaecology, primary care, Ear, Nose & Throat, and, most recently, a postgraduate certificate in medical education from the University of Westminster.”

Dominic’s parents came along as his guests, as did a former QE Biology teacher, Helen Karamalakis.

Other leading figures from the School’s present and its recent past who attended the dinner included:

    • Assistant Head David Ryan (representing the current Senior Leadership Team)
    • Eric Houston (longstanding Second Master and Governor and Trustee of both the Foundation and the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s)
    • The two most recent former Headmasters, Eamonn Harris (1984–1999) and John Marincowitz (1999–2011).
    • Current Chairman of Governors, Barrie Martin, who was joined by his two sons, Piers (OE 1987–1994) and Giles (OE 1992–1999).

The ten-year leavers (the class of 2005–2006), who traditionally attend the dinner, were represented by Zaid Belbagi, who has established a distinguished career as an expert in Middle Eastern affairs and has appeared on the BBC’s Newsnight and on Channel 4 News.

The Headmaster noted the changes in the world of education in the past five years, which, he said, had made “the quality aspect” of education increasingly important. “I’m pleased to be able to say that QE now sends more students to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities than any other state school.”

He explained to the gathered alumni how the School had embraced new technology in those five years, with eQE, the online “virtual School”, now extensively used by boys, staff and parents. He highlighted the strength of the arts and sport at the School, noting that the continued investment in the swimming pool has engendered a resurgence in swimming and water polo, which has resulted in three boys representing their country in water polo in recent years.

And he pointed to the improvements in the physical environment of Queen Elizabeth’s School, including the current work on the Heard Building, as well as the opening of the Dining Hall, The Queen’s Library and Café 1573.

Mr Enright concluded: “In the midst of all this change, one thing that I strongly believe has not changed is the ethos of the school. QE remains as strong and dynamic as ever. In 2016, QE is still by any measure one of the best schools of any type in the country, remaining in the top echelons of league tables, and just as importantly, produces well-rounded young men who are equipped to meet the challenges of a changing world.”