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At the School’s annual Speech Day on Saturday 28 June, it was announced by Peter Hickson, Chairman of Governors, that St John’s is to open a new Lower School in the autumn of 2016. The Lower School will be an integral part of St John’s, offering pupils in Years 7 and 8 the outstanding pastoral care, academic excellence and strong all-round education the School is renowned for.
In his final address before stepping down after eight years as Chairman of Governors and after 11 years as a member of the Governing Council, Peter spoke about a number of exciting additions to the School over the last year. The opening of the renovated Old Chapel in April brought a revived sense of community spirit, with pupils hosting, performing and volunteering at number of events for the local community to attend and enjoy. Looking forward to the 2014-15 academic year, St John’s will see the construction of a new Science Centre, a brand new organ in the Chapel, and of course, the aforementioned Lower School a year later.
The Guest of Honour at this year’s Speech Day was Kenneth Durham, an Old Johnian. A boarder in the School’s North House from 1966 to 1971, Ken followed his school career with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Brasenose College Oxford, and eventually became Headmaster of University College School (UCS) in Hampstead, north London. In 2011, Ken was elected Chairman of HMC (The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference) representing Heads of the 250 leading independent schools in the UK, including St John’s. He retired in 2013 after seventeen years at UCS and continues to work for HMC, of which he is currently Vice Chairman.
The Headmaster remarked on the year’s highlights, including the consecration by the Bishop of Dorking of the refurbished War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday, and later, the installation and consecration of the School Chapel’s new west window. March saw St John’s patron HRH the Duchess of Gloucester officially open the new girls’ day house, named in her honour. The Headmaster thanked the Chairman of Governors for his sage guidance and support over the years, expressed his pride in the achievements of the pupils.
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