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Roland Martin - Issue #10

Eight Schools: one Corporation - Diversity Celebrated in Historic Surroundings.

Roland Martin

February 2 · Issue #10 · View online
Headmaster - City of London Freemen's school; Chief Officer - City of London - '...write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing' Benjamin Franklin

Eight Schools: one Corporation - Diversity Celebrated in Historic Surroundings.

Domine nos dirige
The City of London schools came together last week, unusually, for a concert in the Great Hall, Guildhall. It made most of us assembled wonder why we don’t do more such things more regularly.
Deputy Catherine McGuinness, Chairman of the Education Board, and the Lord Mayor introduced the evening as an ‘exciting opportunity for all of our schools and academies to showcase their talents.’ Mary King compered the evening - herself a Guildhall School of Music graduate, and Vocal Talent consultant to companies performing in such diverse theatrical realms as Glyndebourne and West End musicals, Wicked and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 
Such diversity was certainly something to behold throughout the evening in the quite exquisite setting of the Great Hall which has itself, of course, witnessed many a drama since its completion in 1411, including the occasional trial for treason, and regular state and mayoral occasions.  Deputy McGuinness had suggested that we were marking an historic occasion - what a fitting place for hundreds of young people to make history!
Mary King introduced, in turn: Redriff Primary School; our school, City of London Freemen’s; Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School; The City Academy, Hackney; the City of London School for Girls; City of London Academy, Southwark; City of London Academy, Islington; City of London School (Boys). The finale seemed to achieve the impossible - all performers from all eight schools processed onto the stage to join Mary (conducting)  in a choral performance of Refuge
During the evening, performances of Adele’s Skyfall sat alongside Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; a Mozart Oboe Quartet was closely followed by The Lion King’s Circle of Life (an incredible high-octane performance, which was the most popular topic of conversation as we left for our lifts home); an abridged, balletic, Romeo and Juliet contrasted a Polka from young string players and the jazz standard Caravan was foil to a seldom (unfortunately) performed choral anthem from Will Todd: The Rose.
City links
You only need to flick through the web-pages of these extraordinary schools to see just how rich and diverse the pupils’ experiences are; our pupils gain incredible exposure to a gamut of city traditions and events. 
This concert was only one of the opportunities which our students have to take advantage of the Square Mile’s beneficence. The City Schools often get invitations to interesting events and the pupils of the Academies, and Independent schools are used to bumping into each other and sharing such experiences.
Remarkably, I received the following report last week from a member of my teaching staff who started with us only this term. Long may all of us who work in City schools appreciate the privilege it is to work together and benefit from the Corporation’s perks and continue to see the opportunities with such excited eyes:
I just thought you would like to hear how yesterday’s trip to the freedom of the City ceremony went. The pupils were absolutely outstanding. I cannot speak highly enough of them. The day took rather an unexpected turn and they stepped up to the plate so impressively.
We arrived fairly early, and upon taking our seats were approached by Lord Peter Hain, who introduced himself to the pupils and explained that he would be leading the Q&A session with the honourees. He asked me to print the school’s name on a sheet of paper, so that he would be able to come to us directly for questions, after he had asked for some opening remarks from them. 
After the ceremony Lord Hain asked to speak to the students as he wanted to congratulate them on asking such good questions – he then invited all of them up onto the stage to meet the four individuals, which was a remarkable honour.
Freedom of London for men jailed with Nelson Mandela - BBC News
'Long way to go' on race in S. Africa: Mandela friend - Yahoo News
Tangible connections
Travelling home from the City Schools Concert, I felt - as I often do - honoured to be part of this bustling community of schools; I’ve been moved and impressed by pupils whom I’ve encountered from each and every one of the city schools. And with four more City-sponsored Academies anticipated in the next three years, the family is growing; with that growth should come yet more diversity and more to celebrate and share. 
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