Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 35

7 July 2023

Dear Parents,

And just like that, we close The Beacon 2022-2023.  Speech Day was a typically ‘Beacon Showbiz’ event, which I hope you enjoyed watching as much as we all enjoyed putting that together.  The last time I was at the Wycombe Swan was about ten years ago to see a performance by the comedian Stewart Lee.  I like Stewart Lee and it was a great performance but there were a few empty seats that night and Stewart himself made reference to that fact in his act.   When it was suggested earlier in the year therefore, that this could be the venue for our Speech Day, I did think could we really fill that – both in terms of audience and more so in terms of the grandeur – can a prep school really hire a professional theatre for its Speech Day?  The answer to that question for 99% of prep schools is undoubtedly no, but for us it seemed entirely appropriate and sure enough an impeccably well drilled, varied, entertaining and most of all, fun, ceremony took place.  Thank you to everyone in Team Beacon – and there were many – involved in the production of Wednesday, it will live long in the memory.

As I write this early on Thursday evening, I keep flicking to the BBC’s ‘live reporting’ of the third test in the Ashes.  Crawley has just got out (he always seems to get himself out) at the time of writing and hopefully Jonny Bairstow will still be in (his crease…) by the time I get to the end of this column.  Sunday’s incident was probably not in the ‘spirit of cricket’ but this does seem to be a phrase often banded around whenever the team is not winning.  I remember Michael Vaughan being lauded in 2005 for bringing a bit of ruthlessness into the England Team and no-one seemed to mind back then.  If that was unsavoury then the report from the ECB last week into widespread and deep-rooted racism, sexism, elitism and class-based discrimination was disturbing in the extreme.  Whilst we are not a cricket club as such, one of the key findings referenced that private school educated players were disproportionately represented, to a significant extent, in England’s national team and in teams around the country.  It is laudable that we, as a sector, are seemingly largely responsible for keeping the game as strong as it is in this country, but we should also be responsible for ensuring that those players that come out of our system have the very highest values of social etiquette, common decency and tolerance.  English society is in a much better place than when it was when I was at school but, as this report describes, it still has some way to go; you can be assured that we as a School will continue to educate and promote those values for the benefit of our community and the country as a whole.

With the cricket on, Tour de France on, tennis on…it’s sporting heaven this weekend and the Bakers, well me, Patrick and Joseph, are off to Silverstone to watch the Grand Prix this weekend in our annual pilgrimage.  Not the most interesting season on record but the British Grand Prix is a sporting event like no other and draws probably the most eclectic crowd of any sporting event I have been to.  We love it and have upper tier seats at Becketts this year which if you know Silverstone is a great place to watch as you can see several corners from the same vantage point.  That’s this weekend and then we are off to Latitude Festival as a family (with my sister – yes, that one) before going to our holiday home in Menorca for the start of August.  With 15 and 17 year old boys, family holidays have to be brokered with concessions these days and Latitude was only possible if we go glamping and Menorca only acceptable if Patrick could bring five of his friends.  That ceases to make it a family holiday in my world, but if it’s a deal breaker then so be it.  Cherish your Beacon age boys.  When they get older, they’ll still be great…but things do get more complicated…!

Thank you for your fulsome support and welcome in my first year as Head of this incredible School.  It has been an honour to work with you and my exceptional colleagues here.  We all have much to look forward to as we continue to develop The Beacon still further in the years ahead.

Have a great summer,

Nick Baker

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