2 June 2017
Dear Parents, Former Parents, Merchistonians and Friends of Merchiston
Contributions to Gift Funds
Several years ago now, I stopped the tradition of writing to you seeking “Thank You” contributions for departing members of staff. However, several parents and Merchistonians have asked me to reintroduce this concept for long-serving retiring members of staff to offer you the opportunity to make a contribution to their leaving gifts should you so wish. Members of staff at Merchiston are always willing to give that little bit extra, helping to make the School the magical place it is, and as you know, I believe that teachers really matter! However, please do not feel obliged to contribute!
We have three of these “golden threads of continuity” who are retiring at the end of this academic session 2016/2017.
Mr Peter Hall retires at the end of this term after a remarkable 33 year career at the School. His journey at the School has been very distinguished: an outstanding Teacher of English, contributions in Drama (including being Head of Drama), Music, squash, hillwalking, running the School skiing trip. Over the course of his journey, he has also been the Pringle Housemaster from September 1994, this graduated to being called the Head of the Junior School in September 1999. He graduated to Deputy Head and finally Senior Deputy Head in 2012. There are many excellent qualities that Peter has had as a leader of which I am extremely grateful. From my point of view, he steadied the ship of the whole of Merchiston, and he has always dealt with so many aspects of the Merchiston way of life without fuss or fanfare, with a remarkable sense of candidness and discretion. Let us not forget that his role can often be very lonely. He has so often been the unsung and unheralded hero of the School.
At the end of this academic year, Peter will have completed 36 years’ service to the learning and teaching profession: 3 at Windsor Boys’ School and 33 at Merchiston. How wonderful it is that both are boys’ schools. In short, Peter is one of the golden threads of continuity within the School. He has always ‘held the umbrella’, and this is now the time for Peter to take some time out and relax! I am sure you will all join me in congratulating Peter on an outstanding career at Merchiston.
Mr David Turner has been a stalwart of Merchiston since 1987. So, David’s career spans a remarkable 30 years. I always think that his skill set and the ability to move across different fields is incredible. In my time alone he has been Head of Instrumental Music Studies, Teacher of GCSE and A Level Music, Teacher of German, Teacher of Information Technology, Teacher of Computer Science, Website Manager, Data Manager, Editor of The Merchistonian, Organist par excellence, (for David gained an Organ Exhibition at Merton, College, Oxford), doyen of Photography, a huge contributor to co-curricular Music, let alone the Colinton Community Choir, hosted here at Merchiston. Over his career, he has demonstrated his skills as a cellist and a piano accompanist. He has accompanied pupils in exams and concerts to Diploma Standard. He has taught the organ and the piano and he has directed the School Orchestra and the Jazz Band. In addition, David has directed musicals and been on many Chapel Choir Tours. David has always manifested a high order of intelligence and transferable skills, alongside a very dry wit! But for personal reasons, David is stepping down from many of these roles, and moving to an arrangement whereby he will be helping Merchiston on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which allows us to partake of David’s many talents. For sure, they are extremely difficult to replace. It has been agreed that such an arrangement will be agreed to on a year-by-year basis. In the short term, we are going to employ a Graduate Intern for Music for the academic year 2017/18 to cover some of David’s areas of musical expertise. David is another one of those golden threads of continuity and we are delighted that we will still partake in the sharing of his talents, albeit on a very part-time basis.
I also write to let you know that Mrs Mary Watson is retiring from the teaching profession at the end of this academic year. 21 years ago, Mary sat in Marion Muetzelfeldt’s house discussing the possibility of a career change, and she started her PGCE with the Open University in conjunction with Merchiston. She began her training in January 1996 and started at Merchiston in 1998. Mary has a unique talent, for she has the capacity to teach three subjects to GCSE and A Level: ICT, Computing Science and Maths. I think this is an extraordinarily rare ability! Moreover, in recent years Mary has been the Head of ICT. The Computing curriculum is now up-and-running with GCSE and A Level, as well as continuing the IGCSE ICT. Much important departmental paperwork is in place, such as the courses in the First Form upwards, and in terms of the correct Schemes of Work and the correct department documentation. Moreover, Mary has always been able to use her contacts with business to invite speakers to come to School and through presentations and meetings with our pupils to further the Computing Science “agenda”. I am delighted that as Mary lives locally she wishes to keep in contact with the School and she is offering us supply, tutoring and invigilation or occasionally classroom support if the need arises.