ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, HIGH WYCOMBE
SPEECH DAY 1964
(I don't have a programme for this but have scanned what appears in the September 1964 Wycombiensian)
After last year’s belated event, the 1964 Speech Day was held towards the end of the Summer Term as is usual, on July 10th. The guest of honour was Dr. W. Oakeshott, M.A., the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and the Rector of Lincoln College.
It was an ideal day for such an event, since for once the usually inclement British weather had given way to brilliant sunshine. The principal guests inspected the proficient guard of honour to the accompaniment of the School Band, complete with pipers. Everyone adjourned then to the Queen’s Hall, where the speakers addressed many parents and Sixth Form boys. The speeches were also relayed by loudspeaker to the quadrangle, where the main and junior schools were seated.
The first to speak was Alderman R. P. Clarke, Chairman of the Board of Governors. First, he felt it was necessary to clarify the situation concerning the school swimming pool: because of a clerical error the swimming pool was omitted from the original contract for the new buildings which were completed last year. As a result of this, the cost originally estimated was found to be inadequate, and this meant a further contribution from the school of £900, though naturally only the parents of the boys not present at the school at the time of the 1960 appeal would be asked to contribute.
The Chairman thought he ought to mention that the Board had finally, if reluctantly, decided to accept the resignation of the Headmaster at the end of the next school year. He felt sure that everyone would be saddened at relinquishing the man under whose guidance the school had reached such academic heights.
The Headmaster began his report be welcoming the guest of honour not only as a distinguished academic figure but as an old personal friend. As Vice-Chancellor of the “oldest and greatest University in the world” perhaps he more than any other was in a position to measure the success of the school. He then welcomed another old friend, the Rev. A. L. Evan Hopkins, who had come to preach at the Commemoration service later in the day.
He paid tribute to the Governors the school had lost, and to Staff who were leaving. It was a sad blow to learn of the death of Mr. P. C. Raffety; he thanked Wing Commander Currall and Rear-Admiral Skelton, who were leaving the Board after valuable service, and then welcomed Mr. John Prior, Mr. C. B. Bowler and Mr. O. S. Puckle to the Governing Body.
Passing on to the Staff, he told the school that Mr. P. L. Jones, who joined the Staff in 1917, was retiring, as was Mr. A. S. Hett, who had completed twenty years on the teaching staff. Also, a great number of other masters were leaving for senior appointments and he wished them well in their new jobs.
The Headmaster then mentioned the solid academic achievement maintained throughout the year, which resulted in a large score of successes at “A” Level by Sixth Form boys. He praised those who had left to continue their studies at universities, and in particular the boys who had distinguished themselves by gaining Open Awards at Oxford and Cambridge.
Finally, the Headmaster touched upon a subject that is currently being discussed – the movement towards a reconstruction of secondary education. He felt it would do enormous damage, after winning a nationwide reputation for academic work of the highest order, to precipitate such changes as the age of entry, or the type of boy the school had been conditioned to accept.
After distributing the prizes, Dr. Oakeshott delivered a most pleasant and concise speech. He began by praising the excellence of turnout of the Guard of Honour and the school generally. He then discussed the question of leadership, asking boys to remember to examine their own decisions, to seek within themselves when things go wrong, and to understand the motives of the people they are dealing with.
To wind up the main proceedings a vote of thanks was proposed by Alderman Mrs. C. L. Lovelock-Jones. Parents and boys then dispersed for tea, watched a demonstration by the C.C.F., and visited the exhibitions staged by school societies throughout the school.
At 6.00 p.m. the Commemoration service was held in the parish church, where the sermon was preached by the Rev. A. L. Evan Hopkins. A similar service was also held in the Roman Catholic Church.