Co-Curricular and Outreach Round-Up

The very start of the Lent Term may have seen some of the worst flooding which residents of Marlborough can remember (indeed, we may have struggled to get the pupils back if term had been due to start a day later). However, since then, a few frozen afternoons aside, we have generally been fortunate to have a largely uninterrupted programme of fixtures in what can be a difficult corner of the school year.

As ever, providing considerable depth to our fixture list has been as important as top level performance and it is pleasing to see Marlburians thriving in both these ways. Our netballers routinely play two schools each week, sometimes more, whilst our U16 A girls hockey team have a national final to look forward to after half-term in England Hockey’s Tier 2 plate competition. Speaking of national competitions, we should pause to celebrate the success of our U18 girls pair at Queen’s in the national schools rackets competition after the end of last term. And there is much to look forward to in the second half of this term, with high profile competitions in squash, fencing, rugby sevens, and rackets once again. I would like to thank those beaks who give such strong support to our fixtures programme, working alongside our dedicated sporting professionals and visiting sports coaches.

Other areas of College life are also conspicuously successful in combining opportunities for all and an impressive level of top end performance and the Music Department have amply demonstrated this in recent weeks. On the Sunday after Exeat, the whole day was, quite literally, a festival of music, with hundreds of performances from individual pupils and small ensembles. The ready willingness with which Marlburians take to the stage is a real testament to the supportive atmosphere created by the department. To see less experienced members of the Shell and Remove taking to the limelight alongside some highly impressive Upper Sixth players was a real treat. And further cultural treats lie in store in the second half of term, with the forthcoming side-by-side concerts with the Southbank Sinfonia (spot of Wagner, for those of you who like it loud), and the much anticipated Penny Reading – Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

One of the joys of this role is being able to support new initiatives other schools request or which our staff are keen to provide. Thus it has been excellent to have pupils from Burbage Primary School exploring our woodland under the watchful eye of Maria Sandall and her enthusiastic group of senior pupils as part of our Outreach programme. This has been a while in the making and, after a trial run involving some staff children on a recent Sunday, it is great to see that it is now in action, to much acclaim from pupils and parents alike. Similarly, recent conversations with The Park Academies Trust, a group of schools in the Swindon area, means that we now have an enrichment programme for their gifted and talented pupils running in parallel with our work with Swindon Academy’s grammar stream. Again, none of this would be possible without pupils’ and beaks’ willingness to engage, for which I am ever grateful.

As this newsletter goes out it will be time to wish ‘Bon Voyage’ to our Shell pupils who are heading on the Marlborough College Malaysia exchange. It has been wonderful to have the exchange oversubscribed this year, and we hope they return with the stories and experiences to ensure that is the case next year also. My thanks to all those who have helped to make this happen, whether heading to Malaysia, or welcoming MCM pupils to these shores.

Jimmy Scragg

Deputy Head, Co-Curriculum and Outreach