ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, HIGH WYCOMBE
SPEECH DAY PROGRAMME FOR 1967
(Various torn/scribbled-on pages have had to be digitally repaired)
SPEECH DAY, 1967
Speech Day, Wednesday, July 5th, was run according to the annual plan; our visiting speaker this year was J. S. Morrison, Esq., who is the President of University College, Cambridge, and was a contemporary of the Headmaster’s at Trinity. The Chairman of the Governors, Alderman R. P. Clarke, made the opening remarks. And the mayor, we were told, regretted his absence on this, the 405th anniversary of the school. During his speech, the Headmaster made the valid points :-
“The institution of Speech Day has come in for a good deal of criticism in recent years. Not a few voices would abolish it, as a sort of extinct volcano (and it is tempting to think of sparing ourselves the effort involved). Nor has this tide of opinion spared the institution of the Headmaster’s Report - too much glamourising and glossing over, brandishing of cups, and bragging about scholarships and examination results. The whole exercise is misleading window-dressing, which only those trained in the business can see through and assess at its true worth. I confess I was for a moment tempted to produce a fearfully naturalistic portrait of the School - with warts and all - or even a non-report, wallowing in all the things that go wrong and fail ... But, I reflect, always - the defects and faults of a School, the misdemeanours and boorish conduct of pupils - these attract far more than their fair share of public attention anyhow - so why should I feed the appetite that does exist, in some quarters, for denigrating us? The law-abiding, co-operative majority have to work so hard to cancel out the notorieties of the few.
“When a staff combines traditional wisdom, born of long experience, with new ideas and the will to experiment, the school neither stagnates nor goes off the rails. There are some indications ... of some of the new directions taken in both teaching and out of school activities. It is good to see initiative being taken by boys and masters”.
After the presentation of the prizes, Mr. Morrison, addressing the “heroes of resistance”, gave an apt diagnosis of the educational situation in this country, with choice comparisons to educational systems in other countries. The two main educational ambitions, are, in his opinion, to encourage latent excellence and to do our best for everyone, despite any relative talents. The overall criticism would be to give far more attention to intelligence and NOT facts learned. This is very important, and like many other things in Mr. Morrison’s speech, sustained concentration reaped its due rewards.
The usual diversifications took place afterwards, a stop-gap until the Commemoration Service held in the Queen’s Hall. The preacher was the Reverend G. N. Whitfield, M.A., Headmaster of Hampton Grammar School, and President of the Headmasters’ Association.