Co-Curricular and Outreach Round-Up

Whilst the start of the Lent Term may have brought some of its customary challenges, it has seen some fine achievements in the realms of the co-curriculum and outreach.

It may not have escaped your notice that the Christmas holidays were a trifle damp and this, in combination with the freezing temperatures which marked the start of the term, posed a challenge for our sporting programme. I should like to pay tribute to the staff who have nonetheless looked to keep our pupils actively engaged in their sporting endeavours, something which has required a degree of ingenuity and innovation, and a number of trips off-site to take advantage of all-weather surfaces available elsewhere. There have been a number of strong team performances, not least in cup competitions, but I feel that the best example of Marlborough’s sporting ethos came last weekend. The depth of our co-curricular engagement is very definitely as important to us as top end performance, and to field 21 netball teams against good opposition, drawing two games, losing two and winning the other 17 is, I feel, an ample demonstration of what we look to champion in our programme.

Elite performance is, of course, very important too and it has been excellent to see The XV in the quarter-final of the National Cup, losing a close fought game to Blundell’s in which both teams scored four tries (and where frozen conditions saw us losing home advantage and needing to play at a neutral venue); and to see the Colts A girls’ hockey team in the semi-final of the National Plate Competition, losing narrowly to Sutton Valence. On an individual level, congratulations are due to Sophie H for being recognised by British Shooting at their annual awards as joint Junior Skeet Athlete of the Year.

On the subject of individual achievements, our pupils, as ever, continue to impress with their philanthropic focus. Jules B raised money for bursaries with a sponsored 30km walk around Sydney harbour over the Christmas holiday, and Bella J and Hattie W supported a fundraising event at the British Museum in London for ParalympicsGB. Hannah K is currently raising money to support cancer charities. During half-term (16th February), she will be shaving her head to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK, and will be donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust. Hannah has already raised over £6,900 for these fantastic charities and if you would like to support her you can do so on her JustGiving page

With regard to our outreach and partnerships activity, it is very exciting that we now have our first Partnerships Manager (a donor-funded position) working in the College. Emily Taylor has formerly been a primary school headteacher, and thus brings a wealth of experience to this important new role, which should allow us to further develop our partnership work with local schools in a strategic way, and in quick time.

On the musical front, this half-term included the usual Liederabend collaboration between our Modern Languages and Music Departments and drew to a close with an Emerging Talent Concert on the eve of our departure. Involving 26 pupils, this evening was a wonderful example of how the Music Department works so hard to provide pupils with opportunities to perform, and to develop their confidence in a supportive setting. A highlight of the second half of term will surely be the Music Department’s annual collaboration with the Southbank Sinfonia. Another highlight will doubtless be the forthcoming production of Electra on the Ellis theatre stage. Whilst, as a classicist, I have always been captivated by what Greek tragedy has to tell us about the human condition, the challenges of staging such plays in a modern context, in a modern theatre are not inconsiderable and I am very excited to see how Marlborough rises to this.

Further from home, as I type, we have pupils already in Italy; we have a group checking their warm kit and rucksacks in preparation for a dog-sledding trip to Sweden; and we have some German pupils in Berlin. Furthermore, we have the Shell Exchange departing for Marlborough College Malaysia on Thursday. As ever, it is humbling to think that beaks give of their holiday to staff these trips (often a not inconsiderable challenge). Their professionalism and their desire to convey their passions for their subjects speaks volumes and is much of what makes Marlborough the great school that it is.

Jimmy Scragg

Deputy Head, Co-Curriculum and Outreach