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News > King's Bruton News > Ian Wilmshurst wishes all Old Brutonians a very merry Christmas

Ian Wilmshurst wishes all Old Brutonians a very merry Christmas

This term has seen some changes at King’s, with the Health Centre moving from Plox into the ‘new’ part of Old House.  The move has provided the school with a much-improved medical facility, with dedicated treatment, counselling and physiotherapy rooms, teamed with increased bed capacity on the first floor.  The former medical centre is currently undergoing building works to convert it back into a domestic property which we will be able to rent out.

I am always hugely impressed with the sporting abilities of our pupils, for a small school we are certainly able to hold our own. An increasing number of our rugby players are being selected to play for Bath Power Development Group, Bath Development Player Pathway and at county level. Our boys’ and girls’ cricket was recently recognized in the Highly Commended category in this year’s ‘The Cricketer Schools Guide’, which is a huge achievement for any school. Our KSBMotorSport Green Power car team is going from strength to strength and we are hugely grateful for those who have sponsored the team to enable participation in events (one of our sponsors is an Old Brutonian, which is wonderful to see). All four U18 and U16 boys’ and girls’ indoor hockey teams qualified for the Regional finals which is the first time that all four have qualified in the same season and we continue to attract children from overseas who are drawn to King’s because of our excellent hockey reputation.

It has been great to catch up with OBs at events such as the Evensong in Salisbury Cathedral, the AGM and the London Lunch. Seeing Old Brutonians of all ages come together and find common ground in their love of their school is wonderful to see, both as Headmaster of King’s, but also as a father to two OBs.

I am most grateful to those Old Brutonians who have signed up to become mentors for the Old Brutonian Mentoring scheme.  The ability to speak to someone who has experience in a certain field or industry, can advise on next steps and help with networking will be invaluable for Old Brutonians forging their careers or setting up businesses on their own. 

I am indebted to Andrew Leach for writing a wonderful booklet to celebrate 150 years of New House (1873-2023). Andrew provides a fascinating history of the building and, as importantly, of the staff and boys who have made New so central, literally, to the life of the school.  Interestingly the original 1876 extension plans provided for separate wine and beer cellars in New House which were bigger than the kitchen – the good old days! Copies of the booklet have been selling well via the website, which is testament to the love New House boys have for their time at King’s.

Of course, life in any independent school is not without its challenges, particularly at the moment. As you will know there is much written in the news about the possibility of a Labour Government introducing 20% VAT to independent school fees.  Parents are therefore understandably concerned about the ongoing affordability of a private education. We have been operating at full capacity of pupils for several years now, but we have recently seen a drop in prospective pupils and this does present some significant financial challenges going forward. The Governors, the Bursar, Ed Benbow (Headmaster of Hazlegrove Prep) and myself meet regularly to discuss how we can manage these challenges without compromising on the quality of our education.

Finally, in the last 12 months we have slowly introduced the Foundation’s 1519 Legacy Society and I am immensely grateful to those Old Brutonians and Old Hazlegrovians who have confirmed their intention to recognise their school in their will.  More so than ever, King’s and Hazlegrove will rely on non-fee income to ensure our continued success in the future.  The Legacy Society will be formally launched in 2024, but if you are interested in becoming a member of the 1519 Society, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Emilie.

On a personal level, I was lucky enough to find myself at two school fairs, based in the Grand Cayman and The Bahamas where I was able to meet up with Old Brutonian Hugo Tyson (Lyon 2012-17). These fairs are hugely important in terms of increasing the reach of King’s across the globe and I am hopeful we will continue to attract families from far afield.

I wish you and your families an enjoyable and healthy Christmas and New Year and hope to see as many of you as possible in 2024.

Floreat Brutonia


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