Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 34

30 June 2023

Dear Parents,

As with everything Beacon, that was a remarkable Year 8 production of ‘School of Rock’ last week.  Getting the balance of the children’s enjoyment of putting on a show and ensuring it is a quality performance for the audience is extremely difficult for schools to achieve but seemingly not for The Beacon.  The Performing Arts Department put on a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging performance and the Year 8 company were as energetic afterwards as they had been during the show, such was their thrill in participating in something so memorable.  My thanks, professional respect and great appreciation to the boys and of course, Mrs Oosthuizen, Miss Livermore, Mr Lockley and Mr Nicholls for their talent, dedication and let’s face it, incredible hard work that they have put into this over the last two terms.  And of course, ‘Dewey Finn’ himself, Kester Owen – what a performance – we all knew we had multi-talented staff at our School but I didn’t think we would put them on stage…but we did…

‘The School of Rock’ signaled the last hurrah for Director of Music, Mr Gavin Lockley, who will be leaving us at the end of this term to take on a similar role at Chesham Grammar School.  Gavin has only been with us a short time but has contributed much to our school performances and exhibited his incredible skill on the piano and as a performer – I will never forget his incredible rendition of ‘Nessun Dorma’ during an Assembly back in the autumn.  In his place, we are delighted to have appointed Mr Karl Leutfeld, currently Director of Music at Edge Grove. Karl is a highly experienced prep school teacher, accomplished musician and much valued former colleague of Deputy Head Simon Detre at a previous school.  We very much look forward to welcoming Karl, and his son Alex, who will join us in Year 4 in January.  Also in Performing Arts, Mrs Zenelle Oosthuizen will be departing on maternity leave in the autumn with our congratulations and best wishes for the impending birth of her and husband Will’s second child. We are grateful to have enlisted great friend of the School, Mr Tom Nicholls, to assist with our Autumn Term Performing Arts programme; The Beacon is very fortunate to be so well served by its friends and contacts of our people here to keep everything running and to the standard that we have grown to expect.

Happy news also for Mrs Emma Carty who is expecting her third baby with husband Karl, and Mrs Danielle Fraser, who is expecting her first baby with husband Dom in the autumn.  Much excitement in Winterbourne with this news as, of course, Danielle’s mum Jane works in Year 1. We are ably covered in the pre-prep and will utilise our existing staff to cover these colleagues with Miss Stephanie Beale taking Danielle’s class from September.

And last but certainly not least, Mrs Jo Jess, who has worked at The Beacon for the past 25 years will be retiring at the end of this academic year.  A quarter of a century at any institution is one to be celebrated and our School has benefitted immeasurably from the continuity of her expertise.  Thank you Jo, and to all our leaving staff – you are welcome to come back and see us any time.

Have a good weekend,

Nick Baker

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