Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 17

3 February 2023

Dear Parents,

Long time readers of this column will recall that on the event of the Queen’s passing, I was attending Westminster School for their Prep School Heads’ dinner. The event was, of course, cancelled, and rearranged for last night, and I was delighted to attend the rescheduled dinner. Westminster is an incredibly impressive educational institution, both in terms of its highly academic ethos, its location, nestled alongside Westminster Abbey, and the quirks and history that permeate all parts of its site. I have attended this event for many years and at the initial drinks reception, sixth formers are invited to mingle with their former headteachers.

These are very impressive young people, with sharp, enquiring minds but, as with anyone in their late teenage years (certainly my own sixth form son…) these can be sometimes awkward social situations. As I joined a small group of fellow Heads, with half an eye, I scoured the room for any of my former Wetherby Prep boys but it appeared that none of them had made ‘Prefect’ this year or selected for inclusion at this event. That’s no problem I thought, but as we were called into College Hall for dinner (the oldest continually used dining room in London dating from 1376), a young man bounded up to me asking if I was Mr Baker, the new Head of The Beacon. No social awkwardness with this chap, old Beaconian Charlie Bach, more an incredibly engaging, articulate, personable and charming individual, who delighted in reminiscing about his old school. He asked after his former teachers and was sad to hear Mr Skea was leaving, asked if his photo montage of ‘The Lion King’ (he played ‘Simba’) was still on display (it is), asked me if I was looking after Mrs Grudgings (more the other way round of course) and was genuinely good company. Charlie was studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Electronics for his ‘A’ Levels (I didn’t realise you could even do five…) so clearly also an academically gifted young man as well as someone of fulsome character.  I can take no personal credit for Charlie but I took enormous pride in now being associated with his schooling, took the photo opportunity…and told Charlie that he had helped me enormously with today’s Lighthouse content!

Lastly, we say goodbye to Pippa Pearson today, who leaves us after a 12 year association with our School as a parent, Marketing Manager and latterly Director of Admissions. Pippa has formed positive relations with so many of our current and prospective families over the years and effectively managed the, what can be relentless nature of, admissions to one of the country’s most in-demand prep schools, no mean feat.  Thank you, on behalf of our entire community, to Pippa, she will always be considered one of The Beacon’s closest friends.

Have a good weekend,

Nick Baker

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